Haryanka dynasty

Haryanka dynasty
Middle of 6th century BCE–413 BCE
The approximate extent of the Haryanka dynasty between the 6th and 5th century BCE.
Capital Rajagriha
later Pataliputra
Common languages Sanskrit
Magadhi Prakrit
Other Prakrits
Government Monarchy
 544-492 BCE
 492-460 BCE
 460-440 BCE
 437-413 BCE
Middle of 6th century BCE
413 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Pradyota dynasty
Vedic period
Shishunaga dynasty
Today part of  India

The Haryanka dynasty was the second ruling dynasty of Magadha, an ancient kingdom in India, which succeeded the mythological Barhadratha dynasty. The reign of this dynasty probably began in the middle of 6th century BCE. Initially, the capital was Rajagriha. Later, it was shifted to Pataliputra, near the present day Patna in India. Brihadaratha founded the dynasty around 566 BCE, although Bimbisara, his grandson, significantly expanded the dynasty's boundaries during his rule from 544 BCE to 492 BCE. Thus Bimbisara is considered as the main founder of the dynasty.

According to the Buddhist text, the Mahavamsa, Bimbisara was anointed king by his father, Bhattiya, at the age of fifteen.[1]

This dynasty was succeeded by the Shishunaga dynasty.


According to George Turnour and N.L. Dey, the name of the father of Bimbisara was Bhatiya or Bhattiya, but the Puranas refer him as Hemajit, Kshemajit, Kshetroja or Ksetrauja and the Tibetan texts mention him as Mahapadma.[2]

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. He is referred to as King Shrenik in Jain scriptures.

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


In some sources, Bimbisara was imprisoned and killed by his son and successor, Ajatashatru, under whose rule the dynasty reached its largest extent. Ajatashatru was contemporary with Mahavira (599–527 BCE) and Gautama Buddha (563–483 BCE). Ajatashatru fought a war against Vajji, ruled by the Lichhavis, and conquered the republic of Vaisali. Ajatashatru followed policies of conquest and expansion. He defeated his neighbors including the king of Kosala; his brothers, when at odds with him, went to Kashi, which had been given to Bimbisara as dowry. This led to a war between Magadha and Kosala. Ajatashatru occupied Kashi and captured the smaller kingdoms. Magadha under Ajatashatru became the most powerful kingdom in North India.


The Mahavamsa states that Udayabhadra eventually succeeded his father, Ajātasattu, moving the capital to Pataliputra, which, under the later Mauryan dynasty, would become the largest city in the world. He is believed to have ruled for sixteen years from 460 BCE to 444 BCE.

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.

See also



  • Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972), Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta 
  • Bhargava, P.L., The origins of the Nanda (PDF) 
Preceded by
Pradyota dynasty
Haryanka dynasty
middle of 6th century 425 BCE
Succeeded by
Shishunaga dynasty
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