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Magadha Empire Short Notes | Pre - Mauryan Empire | Ancient Indian History UPSC

Table of Contents: 

  • About Magadha Empire 
  • Three dynasties- Haryanka, Shishunaga, and Nanda Dynasty 

Short Notes on Magadha Empire [ 684 B.C to 320 B.C.]:

Magadha was one of the sixteen Mahajanapada during 600 B.C. in the Indian subcontinent. The earlier capital of Magadha Janapad was Rajagriha, but later it was shifted to Patliputra. It was Udayin ( son of Ajatsatru) who shifted the Magadha capital from Rajagriha to Pataliputra ( Patna). The Capital was mainly shifted to Pataliputra for accessing the water transportation line in the Ganga River.

Magadha Mahajanpada emerged as powerful among other Mahajanpadas due to its locational advantages. The dense forest provides elephants to the Magadha army. Iron ore located in Jharkhand provides iron tools for agriculture and Swords and helmets to the Magadh Army. River like the Ganga and Son provides irrigation to the field as well as it provides water transportation line. Fertile plains soils make it suitable for agricultural activities.

Magadha Empire was comprises of Three dynasties-

  • Haryanka Dynasty
  • Shishunaga Dynasty
  • Nanda Dynasty

Haryanka Dynasty:

The following were important rulers in the Haryanka dynasty:

Bimbisara  (558 BC to 491 BC).

Ajatashatru ( 492 B. C to 460 B.C); The first Buddhist council happened in Vaishali under Ajatsatru.

Udayin or Udayabhadra ( 460 B.C to 444 B.C)

Nagadasaka ( 413 B.C)

Shishunaga Dynasty:

Shisunanga minister overthrew the Nagadasaka king with the help of the common people.

The following were three important rulers under the Shishunga dynasty;


Kakvarna Kalashoka: The second Buddhist council happened in Vaishali under Kalasoka. 

Nadivardhan (the last ruler of the Shishunaga dynasty)

Nanda Dynasty: ( 345 to 321 B.C):

The Nanda dynasty was a non-Kshatriya dynasty.

The following were two important rulers of the Nanda Dynasty:

Mahapadma Nanda: He killed Kalashoka and became the King. He was also known as Sarva-Kashtriyantaka (destroyer of all the Kshatriyas rulers).

Dhana Nanda: He was the last ruler of the Magadha empire. After the Dhana Nanda, Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan empire in India. Alexander invaded the northwest frontier of India during Dhana Nanda's reign. He had a large standing army, and he had many enemies due to his shudra origin.

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