emergence of mahajanapadas & magadh Topic-wise Practice Test, Examples With Solutions & More Shortcuts

emergence of mahajanapadas & magadh & IT'S TYPES

Useful for Management (CAT, XAT, MAT, CMAT, IIFT, SNAP & other), Bank (PO & Clerk) SSC (CGL, 10+2, Steno, FCI, CPO, Multitasking), LIC (AAO & ADO) CLAT, RRB, UPSC and Other State PSC Exams

emergence of mahajanapadas & magadh MCQ set 1

Live Learn Q/A Live Test

emergence of mahajanapadas & magadh Topic-wise Types, Definitions, Important fact & Techniques with Short Tricks & Tips useful for all competitive Examinations


Origin, Facts, Characteristics Features, Growth & Development, Political Administration, Capitals of Emerging 16 Kingdoms of Mahajanapadas

Posted By Careericons Team

Introduction to Emerging Kingdoms of Mahajanapadas & Magadha:

As cultivable land came to be considered familial property, the wider but ill-defined Janapada, the ancestr al territory of a particular clan, assumed fixed boundaries. The Gangetic basin's abundant rivers and river beds made convenient frontiers for the newer Janapadas in the east.

By approximately the seventh century BC, territories combined and grew, giving rise to larger kingdoms that stretched from what is now Afghanistan to what is now the state of Bihar.

Cities became important during this time, and shortly thereafter, systems of writing developed. Various heterodox sects emerged, challenging the orthodox practices of the Vedic tradition and presenting alternative religious world views. Two of these schools emerged as the most popular sects and developed into separate religions: Buddhism and Jainism.

Jain and Buddhist records give us an insight into the political anarchy of the period. By the sixth century BC, there were a number of kingdoms known as Mahajanapadas, and the entire region was steeped in anarchy.


From the sixth century BC, the widespread use of iron in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Western Bihar facilitated the formation of large territorial states. The new agricultural tools and implements enabled the peasants to produce far more food grains than they required for consumption.

These material advantages naturally enabled the people to stick to their land and also to expand at the cost of the neighbouring areas. People began owing strong allegiance to the Janapada or the territory to which they belonged and not to the Jana or tribe to which they belonged (as was the case in the Later Vedic period). Buddhist texts list sixteen mahajanapadas or major janapadas, as having been in existence in the sixth-century BC.

They extended from Gandhara and Kamboja in the northwest of what is now Pakistan, Awanti and Chedi in central India and Anga and Kalinga in Bengal and Orissa. Soon to be known as Rashtra or kingdoms, many still retained their tribal names; Kuru was still the land of the Kuru and Malla belonged to the Malla.

However, allegiance was now tied to economic and social dependency. Instead of being focused on tribe and clan, loyalty was increasing to the territory itself, to the individual or body which had sovereignty over it and to the town or city where the power resided.

List of 16 Kingdoms of Mahajanapadas Era

Region, Captial & Founder Details

1. Magadha Kingdom (South Bihar):

The initial capital of the Magadha was Rajagriha and later Pataliputra was made its capital. It is believed that Brihadrata was the founder of the Magadha Kingdom.

2. Anga and Vanga Kingdoms (East Bihar):

The capital of the kingdom was Champa which was a prosperous and thriving business centre. Later, the kingdoms were annexed by Bindusara and made a part of Magadha.

3. Malla Kingdom (Gorakhpur Region):

Kushinagar was the capital of the kingdom. It was also a seat of many other smaller kingdoms. Buddhism was the main religion followed there. Later, the kingdom was merged into the mighty kingdom of Magadha.

4. Chedi Kingdom (the Yamuna and Narmada Belt):

The capital of the kingdom was Tisvathirati. One of the families from this kingdom later merged into the Kalinga Kingdom.

5. Vatsa Kingdom (Allahabad):

The town of Kausambi was the capital of this kingdom. Udayan was the most famous ruler of this kingdom.

6. Kashi Kingdom (Banaras):

The capital of this kingdom was Varanasi. Kashi fought several battles against the Kosala Kingdom. Finally, Kashi was merged with the Kosala Kingdom. Dhritarashtra was a famous ruler who once ruled over the kingdoms of Kashi and Anga.

7. Kosala Kingdom (Ayodhya):

Its capital was Sravasti which is identified with Sahet Mahet. However, Ayodhya was a significant town of Kosala. Ajatshatru, the ruler of Magadha merged Kosala with Magadha. Kosala was also a part of the tribal republican territory of Sakyas of Kapilvastu.

8. Vajji Kingdom (North Bihar):

Its capital was Vajji which was the seat of a united republic of eight smaller kingdoms including Lichhavis, Janatriks and Videhas. The Lichhavis had their capital at Vaishali which was a prosperous kingdom. Later, it was merged with the Magadha Kingdom. Mithala was the kingdom of the Videhas Kingdom. Its most famous ruler was King Janaka. Magadha merged this kingdom as well with their kingdom.

9. Kuru (Thaneswar, Meerut and present-day Delhi):

Indraprastha was the capital of the Kurus. During the Vedic period, it was an important kingdom. It had friendly relations with the kingdoms of the Bhoja and Panchala.

10. Panchala Kingdom (Uttar Pradesh):

It had its capital at Kampila. Initially, it was a monarchy but later it became an autonomous republic. Kanauj was the most important town in this kingdom.

11. Matsya Kingdom (Jaipur):

The capital of this kingdom was Viratanagar. The Matsyas attained independence from the Chedi Kingdom under the leadership of Virat Raja.

12. Surasena Kingdom (Mathura):

The kingdom had its capital at Mathura. King Avantiputra was its most famous ruler.

13. Assaka Kingdom (Godavari):

It had its capital at Potali. King Brahamdatta was its most famous ruler.

14. Gandharva Kingdom (Peshawar and Rawalpindi):

The capital of the kingdom was at Taxila, which was an important trade and education centre during the later Vedic age. The Magadha ruler Bindusara, defeated its ruler King Pukkusati.

15. Kamboj Kingdom (North-east Kashmir):

Rajapure was the capital of this kingdom. The most prominent centre of trade and commerce in the kingdom was Hajara.

16. Awanti Kingdom (Malwa):

Awanti had two parts - north and south. Ujjain was the capital of the northern part, while the southern part had its capital at Mahismati. Avanti was the most vulnerable of all the Mahajanapadas. It was ruled by many kingdoms and was finally merged with the Magadha Kingdom.

Brahmanic Period

  • By the conclusion of the Later Vedic Period (between1000 and 500 BC) also known as the Brahmanic Period, the Aryans shifted across the plain region which separates the Yamuna from the River Ganga. It was not an easy project. The Doab region was thickly forested; the Aryans gradually burned and settled the Doab.
  • Finally, they reached the Ganga. The Rig Veda is associated with the most primitive religion of the Aryans, while the religion of the Later Vedic period is associated with the Brahmanas or priestly book. The Brahmanas were composed between 1000 and 850 BC.
  • Every aspect of the Aryan life came under the control of priestly rituals and spells in the Later Vedic Period. The Later Vedic Period is known as the Epic Age.
  • Though the great epics of the Indian culture, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, were composed between 500 and 200 BC, they were originally formulated and told in the Later Vedic Period.
  • These epics deal with heroes from this period. These also demonstrate how Aryan cultural values were being transformed by mixing with the Indus cultures.

University of Taxila

  1. It is said to be the first organised educational epicentre of ancient India.
  2. It is also the oldest university and it is not known who actually founded this university.
  3. However, it was funded by almost all the great kings and rulers of that time.
  4. Many great kings and rulers passed their early years in this university.
  5. It was a centre of learning for logic, religion, medicine, mathematics, astrology, the Vedas, warfare and primitive science.
  6. Taxila, which was the earlier capital of the Gandharva Kingdom, allowed students from all parts of India to be enrolled and education was free for all.
  7. Only Chandalas were not allowed to study at this university.
  8. Scholars like Nagarjuna, Panini, Chanakya, Prasanajit, and Jeevka (son of Bimbsara) all came to this place to study before they became important personalities in Indian History.
  9. Even foreign rulers accepted its importance and many of them took scholars from this university to their nations.
  10. Alexander took some scholars from Taxila to Greece.
  11. In 500 BC, the Hun ruler, Toramana, attacked and demolished the university campus.
  12. During that time, most of the records which were burnt or destroyed could have thrown more light on the management of this university and the ways it shaped the social and political stature of ancient India.


Charvaka's Darshan is a very famous Indian philosophy. It was termed Lokayata because it was based on the ideas which were derived from the common people.

Charvaka did not believe in the existence of any supernatural divine agency. He propagated that the Brahmanas created rituals for obtaining gifts.

Advance in Knowledge

In the later period, samhitas referred to the list of subjects for study and showed a wide range of knowledge embracing, not only Vedas, Itihaasa, Puranas and grammar, but also astronomy, military science, dilectics and knowledge of portents.

There were several competent 'Kshatriya' teachers as also women teachers.

Political Unrest

  • None of the mahajanapadas were great kingdoms and they continuously fought among themselves.
  • The smaller and weaker kingdoms were defeated by the relatively stronger kingdoms.
  • The stronger kingdoms had a general tendency towards civil wars, which disintegrated them into smaller parts that others could easily capture.
  • This state of political disorder continued till the emergence of the Mauryan Empire in the early fourth-century BC.
  • Another important point was the continuous emergence of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh regions as trade and commerce centres and the lack of prominence of the Punjab region, which was the hub of activity during the Rig Vedic period.


By the end of the sixth-century bc, the north-western part of India had been included in the Persian Achaemenid Empire and had been made one of its satrapies. It led to the beginning of an administrative association between Central Asia and India. Magadha, which was situated on fertile alluvial soil and near mineral deposits, particularly iron, was the centre of flourishing commerce and trade.

The extent of the Magadha Empire

Magadha transformed from a small kingdom into a major power in North India, covering the districts of Patna and Gaya in Bihar. It had its capital at Pataliputra.

Important Characteristic Features of Magadha Empire:

  1. Trade-in Magadha flourished because of its favourable location and fertile soil of the lower Ganga region.
  2. It had several rivers such as the Ganges, Pun-Pun, Son and Gandhak. These rivers facilitated the expansion of its trade routes as well as providing military access to many far-off regions.
  3. Uttrapath, the route alongside the Ganga up to the foothills of the Himalayas was controlled by the Magadha rulers.
  4. Farmers in Magadha could make better agricultural implements using the iron deposits available in the region which enabled them to produce the surplus amount of crops and consequently provide more weapons for the army.

Notable Rulers & Kings of Magadha

  • The first noteworthy king of Magadha was Bimbisara (542–493 bc). He transformed the Magadha Kingdom into an empire. He conquered Anga and controlled the trade routes in the Ganges Delta.
  • He married thrice and his matrimonial alliances helped him expand his kingdom. He either conquered other important rulers of his time or got into desired treaties from them. His wives, Kosala Devi (sister of Prasanajit, ruler of the Kashi Kingdom),
  • Chellana (daughter of the ruler of the Chetak Kingdom) and Madraka (daughter of the King of Punjab) fetched him large dowries. Using his newly obtained wealth, he established a new capital Rajagriha (near Patna).
  • Ajatashatru (493–461 bc) was the son of Bimbisara. He assassinated his father and became the ruler. He extended the boundaries of his kingdom by annexing Vaishali and Kosala.

Cause & Factors for the Rise of Magadha Empire

  1. Nearness and control over rich deposits of copper and iron ores.
  2. The favourable geographical location helped in taking control over the whole lower Gangetic plain.
  3. Fertile alluvial soil provided a strong agricultural base. The peasants could produce the surplus amount of crops which the rulers collected in the form of taxes.
  4. The thick forests supplied timber for the construction of houses and elephants for the army. Magadha was the first to use elephants on large scale in wars.
  5. The capitals of Magadha, Rajgriha and Pataliputra were situated strategically. Rajgriha was surrounded by five hills and it was considered impregnable. Pataliputra was situated at the confluence of Ganges, Gandak and Sone.

Note: Get complete Indian History MCQ Practice test, Online Live Quiz & PDF Test with solutions

Recently Added Subject & Categories

Top 149+ Biology General Knowledge Practice MCQ Test

Top Biology Ecology & Environment Awareness General Knowledge Multiple Choice Questions And Answers. General Science GK Practice Test For Competitive Exams

December-16-2022 by Careericons

Continue Reading »

Important General Science Biology Practice MCQ Questions

Top General Science Biology In Human Welfare Based Multiple Choice Questions And Answers, Practice MCQ Test For All Competitive Exams, NEET, SSC, Interview

December-06-2022 by Careericons

Continue Reading »

Top 199+ General Science Biology Practice Test, MCQ PDF

Most Important General Science Biology Human Welfare Multiple Choice Questions And Answers (MCQ) PDF, Practice Test For All Competitive Exams, SSC, NEET, RRB

December-01-2022 by Careericons

Continue Reading »

New General Science Biology MCQ Online Practice Test, PDF

Top Most General Science Biology Food Production Multiple Choice Questions And Answers (MCQ), Online GK Practice Test, PDF For All Competitive Exams, NEET

November-29-2022 by Careericons

Continue Reading »

Recent Blog Posts