Shishunaga dynasty

Shishunaga dynasty

According to tradition, the Shishunaga dynasty founded the Magadha Empire [Harit Krishna Deb, "India and Elam", "Journal of the American Oriental Society," Vol. 42, (1922), pp. 194-197] in 684 BC, whose capital was Rajagriha, later Pataliputra, near the present day Patna in India. This dynasty was succeeded by the Nanda dynasty. Mahavira and Gautama Buddha lived during the period of this dynasty, and the accounts of the later kings are described in detail in the Buddhist texts.


Hariyanka dynasty. [545 B.C.-346 B.C.]

Bimbisara [545 B.C. or 543-493 B.C.]

The Haryanka king Bimbisara was responsible for expanding the boundaries of his kingdom through matrimonial alliances and conquest. The land of Kosala fell to Magadha in this way.

Estimates place the territory ruled by this early dynasty at 300 leagues in diameter, and encompassing 80,000 small settlements.

Bimbsara is contemporary with the Buddha, and is recorded as a lay disciple.


In some sources, Bimbisara was imprisoned and killed by his successor, Ajatasatu, under whose rule, the dynasty reached its largest extent.

Vishali, ruled by the Licchavis, went to war with the kingdom of Magadha at some point, due to a border dispute involving gem mines.

He is thought to have ruled from 551 to 519 BC.He was the main source of motivation for king Harsha vardhan.

Udaybhadra [459 B.C.]

The Mahavamsa tells that Udayabhadra eventually succeeded his father, Ajatasatu, moving the capital of the Magadha kingdom to Pataliputra, which under the later Mauryan dynasty, would become the largest city in the world.

He is thought to have ruled for sixteen years.

Later rulers

The kingdom had a particularly bloody succession. Anuruddha eventually succeeded Udaybhadra through assassination, and his son Munda succeeded him in the same fashion, as did his son Nagadasaka.

Due in part to this bloody dynastic feuding, it is thought that a civil revolt led to the emergence of the Shishunaga dynasty.

hishunaga [430 B.C.-364 B.C.]

Shishunaga (also called King Sisunaka) was the founder of a dynasty of 10 kings, collectively called the Shishunaga dynasty. He established the Magadha empire (in 684 BC). This empire, with its original capital in Rajgriha, later shifted to Pataliputra (both currently in the Indian state of Bihar). The Shishunaga dynasty was one of the largest empires of the Indian subcontinent. Dr. Ranajit Pal, however, maintains [Ranajit Pal, "Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander", New Delhi - 2002] that there is no epigraphical support in favour of the location of ancient Magadha in modern Bihar in Esatern India. In his view Magan in western Baluchistan was the ancient Magadha. In this scheme the Sisunaks of Magan were the Sishunagas. The Kak-kings like Kak-Siwe-Tempti were the Kakavarnas.

hishunaga dynasty Rulers

*Shishunaga (ruled from around 684 BCE)
*Bimbisara 545 BCE - 491 BCE
*Ajatashatru 491 BCE - 461 BCE


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