Shunga Dynasty History and List of Important Facts:

Shunga Dynasty:
The Sunga dynasty was a ruling dynasty of ancient India that followed the Maurya dynasty. Its rule lasted in North India from 187 BC to 75 BC i.e. for 112 years. Pushyamitra Sunga was the first ruler of this dynasty.

History of Shunga Dynasty:

After the fall of the Maurya Empire, the power in its central part came in the hands of the Sunga dynasty. There is no definite information about the origin of this lineage. Shunga dynasty Pushyamitra was the commander of the last Mauryan emperor Brihadratha. He had gained power by killing his master. This budding state included the middle Ganges valley and the region up to the Chambal river. Its important cities were Pataliputra, Ayodhya, Vidisha etc. According to Divyavadan and Tarnath, Jalandhar and Sakal cities were also included in this. Pushyamitra Shunga also had to face Yavana invasions. The last emperor of the Sunga dynasty was Devahuti, with him the Sunga Empire came to an end. The rulers of Shuga-dynasty were followers of Vedic religion. During his time there was a special progress of Bhagwat religion.

The list of rulers of the Sunga dynasty is as follows:

  • Pushyamitra Shunga (185–149 BCE)
  • Agnimitra (149-141 BCE)
  • Vasujyeshtha (141-131 BCE)
  • Vasumitra (131-124 BCE)
  • Andhaka (124–122 BCE)
  • Pulindaka (122–119 BCE)
  • Ghosh Shung
  • Thunderbolt
  • Bhagabhadra
  • Devabhuti (83-73 BCE)

Pushyamitra Shunga (185-149 BCE):

He was the founder and first king of the Sunga Empire. Prior to this he was the commander in the Maurya Empire. In 185 BC, Shunga declared himself king after killing the last Mauryan emperor due to his anti-violence policies. After that he performed the Ashwamedha Yagya and took most of North India under his jurisdiction. The inscriptions of the Sunga kingdom have been found in Jalandhar in Punjab and according to Divyavadan this kingdom extended up to Sangla (present-day Sialkot) by Thapusyamitra Sunga: who put an end to the Maurya Empire as well as Buddhism. There have been many great kings in India. Hindu scriptures and historical literature describe them. Pushyamitra Shunga, who started the Pushyamitra Sunga dynasty, who became such a majestic king, was a Brahmin by birth and a Kshatriya by action. He was made his commander by King Brihadratha, the last ruler of the Maurya dynasty. However, Pushyamitra Shunga had re-established Vedic religion in India by killing Brihadratha in a face-to-face fight due to his anti-national and people's work, ending the Maurya Empire. Before that he had almost destroyed Buddhism.

Agnimitra (149-141 BCE):

Agnimitra (149-141 BC) was the second emperor of the Sunga dynasty. He was the son of the founder of the Sunga dynasty, Pushyamitra Sunga. 149 BC after Pushyamitra. Agnimitra Shunga sat on the throne. During the reign of Pushyamitra, he was made 'Gopta' of Vidisha and looked after all the work of the administration there. In modern times Vidisha is called Bhilsa. Some of the historical facts that have come to the fore about Agnimitra are based on the Puranas and the famous works of Kalidas 'Malvikagnimitra' and the coins obtained from the Northern Panchal (Rohilkhand) and Uttara Kaushal etc. From which it appears that the period of Kalidasa must have been close to his own time. And 'Malvikagnimitra' reveals that Agnimitra was married to 'Malvika', the princess of Vidarbha. This was his third wife. His first two wives were 'Dharini' and 'Iravati'. The play also reveals a war with the Yavana rulers, which was led by Vasumitra, son of Agnimitra. The reign of Agnimitra is given in the Puranas for eight years. This emperor was a literary lover and a lover of art. Some scholars consider Kalidasa to be a contemporary of Agnimitra, although this view is not acceptable. Agnimitra had made Vidisha his capital and there is no doubt that he gave shelter to more and more fine arts during his time. The mudras in which Agnimitra is mentioned were initially found only in the northern Panchala. From which scholars like Rapson and Cunningham had concluded that, those currencies must have been of a feudal king of Shunga period, but the receipt of these mudras in great quantity even in Uttara Kaushal has proved that these currencies are actually of Agnimitra.

Vasujyeshtha (141-131 BCE):

Vasujyeshta (about 141 – 131 BC) was the third king of the Sunga dynasty of North India. Their empire area cannot be well obtained from the documents, so little is known about them.

Vasumitra (131-124 BCE):

Vasumitra (or Sumitra, known from the manuscripts of Matsya Purana) was the fourth emperor of the Sunga dynasty of northern India. He was the son of Dharini from Agnimitra and was the half-brother of Vasujeshtha, the fourth king of the Sunga dynasty, Vasumitra. He defeated the Yavanas. One day while enjoying the dance, a person named Moojdev killed her. He ruled for 10 years. Vasumitra was followed by Bhadrak, Pulindaka, Ghosh and then Vajramitra respectively. In the 14th year of its rule, Heliodorus, the ambassador of the Yavana king Antialkides of Taxila, was present in his court at Vidisha. He was a very luxurious ruler. His Amatya Vasudeb Kanva killed him. Thus ended the Sunga dynasty. Bhagbhadra is also known for the court building in Vidisha.

Shunga Dynasty Historical Significance:

The kings of this dynasty protected the central part of the Magadha Empire from foreigners and by establishing peace and order in central India, kept the trend of decentralization for some time. He established the ideals of Vedic culture on the ruins of the Maurya Empire. This is the reason that his reign is considered to be the period of Vedic Renaissance.

Important facts about Shunga dynasty:

  • Brihadat was the last ruler of the Maurya dynasty.
  • Vrihadat was murdered by Pushyamitra Shunga.
  • The Shunga dynasty was founded in 185 BC.
  • Pushyamitra Shunga was the general of Brihadat.
  • Pushyamitra Sunga belonged to the Brahmin caste.
  • Pushyamitra Shunga killed Brihadat in front of all the soldiers in 185 BC.
  • The Maurya Empire lasted from 322-185 BC.
  • The Shunga dynasty was founded by Pushyamitra Shunga.
  • Pushyamitra Sunga is believed to be the savior of Vedic religion.
  • The rulers of the Sunga dynasty had established their capital at Vidisha.
  • The Indo-Greek ruler Minander was defeated by Pushyamitra Sunga.
  • Pushyamitra Shunga performed the Ashwamedha Yagya twice.
  • Patanjali lived in the court of Pushyamitra Shunga.
  • Ashwamedha Yagya was performed by Pantjali by Pushyamitra.
  • Bharhut Stupa was built by Pushyamitra.
  • Pushyamitra was the Agnimitra of Shunga's son, who became his successor.
  • Devabhuti was the last ruler of the Sunga dynasty.
  • The last ruler of the Sunga dynasty, Devabhuti, was assassinated by Vasudeva.
  • Vasudeva killed the Sunga dynasty in 73 BC.
  • The Sunga dynasty lasted from 185-73 BC.
  • The Kanva dynasty emerged after the Sunga dynasty.
  • Vasudeva was the founder of the Kanva dynasty.

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  Last update :  Tue 13 Sep 2022
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