Nanda Dynasty History and Important Facts

History of Nanda Dynasty:

Nanda dynasty of Magadha, Bihar in about 344 BC. to 322 BC There was a ruling dynasty between AD, which started with Mahapadmananda. 344 BC In AD, a person named Mahapadyanand founded the Nanda dynasty. It is called Mahapadma in the Puranas and Ugrasen in the Mahabodhi dynasty. It was of barber caste. He has been bestowed with the titles of Mahapadma Ekarat, Sarva Kshatrantaka etc.

The chief successors of Mahapadma Nanda are Ugrasen, Panduk, Pandugati, Bhutapala, Rashtrapal, Yovishanaka, Dashsiddhaka, Kaivarta, Dhanananda. During his reign, India was attacked by Alexander. After the departure of Alexander from India, there was unrest and disorder in the Magadha Empire. Dhananand was a greedy and money-gathering ruler, who could not win the trust of the people despite immense power and wealth. He had insulted a great scholar Brahmin Chanakya.

  • Chanakya defeated Dhanananda with his diplomacy and made Chandragupta Maurya the ruler of Magadha.
  • Mahapadmananda was the first ruler who crossed the boundaries of the Ganges valley and raised the flag of victory to the south of the Vindhya Mountains.
  • Magadha became a very prosperous empire politically during the time of Nanda dynasty.
  • The teacher of grammar, Panini was a friend of Mahapadmananda.
  • Scholars like Varsha, Upavarsha, Vara, Ruchi, Katyayan took place under the rule of Nanda.
  • Shaktay and Sthul Bhadra were Amatyas of Jain faith of Dhanananda.

Kings of Nanda Dynasty: Buddhist, Jaina and Puranic traditions state that there were nine Nanda kings, but sources differ greatly on the names of these kings. According to Greco-Roman writings, the Nanda rule spanned two generations. For example, the Roman historian Curtius (1st century CE) suggests that the founder of the dynasty was a barber-king, and that his son was the last king of the dynasty, who was overthrown by Chandragupta. Greek accounts name only one Nanda king—Agrames or Xanderdems—who was a contemporary of Alexander.

"Engramams" can be derived from the Sanskrit word "Augresnya" (literally "son or descendant of Ugrasena", Ugrasena being the name of the founder of the dynasty according to Buddhist tradition). The Purana, compiled in India in the 4th century CE (but probably based on earlier sources), also states that the Nandas ruled for two generations. According to Puranic tradition, the founder of the dynasty was Mahapadma: the Matsya Purana gives him an incredibly long reign of 88 years, while the Vayu Purana mentions the length of his reign as only 28 years. The Puranas further state that Mahapadma's 8 sons ruled in succession after him for a total of 12 years, but only one of these sons was named: Sukalpa.

A script in the Vayu Purana names him "Sahalya", which clearly corresponds to the "Sahalin" mentioned in the Buddhist text Divyavadana. Dhundiraj, a commentator on the Vishnu Purana, named one of the Nanda kings as Sarvatha-siddhi and said that his son was Maurya, whose son was Chandragupta Maurya. However, the Puranas themselves do not speak of any connection between the Nanda and Maurya dynasties. The list of kings of Nanda dynasty is given below:-

  1. Ugrasen
  2. Paddock
  3. Pedagogy
  4. Bhootpal
  5. President
  6. Biotoxic
  7. Decimal
  8. Kaivart
  9. Dhananand

Important facts about Nanda dynasty:

  • The Nanda rulers were the predecessors of the Maurya Empire.
  • Local and Jain traditionalists suggest that the founder of this dynasty, Mahapadma, also known as Mahapadmapati or Ugrasen, belonged to the lower strata of the society.
  • Mahapadma also learned the policy of Magadha's reins and systematic expansion from his predecessor Shishunaga kings. His courageous early work gave him the power to organize the empire through ruthless victories.
  • In the Puranas, he has been described as the destroyer of all Kshatriyas. He defeated the rulers of northern, eastern and central India like Ikshvaku, Panchala, Kashi, Haihaya, Kalinga, Ashmaka, Kaurava, Maithil, Shurasen and Vitihotra. It is also mentioned in independent inscriptions, which point to the capture of Godavari Valley- Andhra Pradesh, Kalinga- Orissa and parts of Karnataka by the Nanda dynasty.
  • After Mahapadma, the Nanda dynasty is only mentioned in the Puranas, in which only Sukalpa (Sahalpa, Sumalya) is mentioned, while the Buddhist Mahabodhivansh mentions eight names. Dhanananda, the last ruler in this list, is probably mentioned as Agrami or Xandrami and is described in Greek sources as a powerful contemporary of Alexander the Great.
  • The kingdoms of the rulers of this dynasty extended up to the river Vyas. Fearing his military might, Alexander's soldiers refused to advance beyond the Vyas river.
  • With the help of Kautilya, Chandragupta Maurya laid the foundation of the Maurya dynasty by ending the Nand dynasty in 322 AD.
  • There were a total of nine rulers in this dynasty - Mahapadmananda and his eight sons who ruled in turn.
  • These two generations ruled for 40 years.
  • These rulers are considered to be Shudras.
  • The brief reign of the Nanda dynasty marks a significant transition period in early Indian history with the long reign of the Maurya dynasty.
  • In the Ganges River (6th to 5th century BC) there was a change in material culture, the special feature of which was the intensification of agriculture and the increasing use of iron techniques. This led to an over-utilisation of agricultural production and the development of commercial and urban centres.
  • During the period of Alexander, Nanda's army consisted of about 20,000 cavalry, 2,00,000 foot soldiers, 2000 chariots and 3000 elephants. The steps taken by the Nanda state in administration are evident from the construction of irrigation projects in Kalinga (Orissa) and the formation of a cabinet council.

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  Last update :  Wed 7 Sep 2022
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  Post Category :  Ancient Dynasties of India