Out of the 16 Mahajanapadas, four most powerful mahajanapadas were Magadha, Vatsa, Avanti and
The kingdom of Magadha roughly corresponds to the modern districts of Patna and Gaya in Bihar and also some parts of Bengal.
Different dynasties ruled Magadha during different period of time. These include
Bimbasara (544 BC-492 BC)
Bimbasara, a contemporary of Gautam Buddha, was the founder of Haryanka dynasty.
He built the city of Rajgriha.
Ajatshatru (492 BC-460 BC)
Bimbasara was succeeded by his son Ajatshatru.
He destroyed the earlier amicable relations established by his father and gained complete control over Vajji (capital was Vaishali) and Kashi.
He built the fort of Rajgriha and a watch-fort (Jaladurga at a village called Patali.
Udayin (460 BC-440 BC)
Ajatshatru was succeeded by his son Udayin.
He laid the foundation of the new capital at Patliputra, which was situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Ganga and the Son.
He was succeeded by Anuruddha, Munda, Naga-dasak respectively, who were weak rulers and failed to hold control over Magadha.
Shishunaga Dynasty (412 BC – 344 BC)
Dynasty was founded by Shishunaga, who was the minister of Nag-Dasak (the last ruler of Udayin Dynasty).
The greatest achievement of Shishunaga was the destruction of the Pradyota dynasty of Avanti. From then on Avanti became a part of the Magadha empire.
Kalashoka succeeded Shishunaga. He is known for convening the Second Buddhist Council at Vaishali.
Nanda Dynasty (344 BC – 323 BC)
Nanda Dynasty was founded by Mahapadmananda.
He is known as Sarvakshatrantak (uprooter of Kshatriyas), Ugrasena (owner of huge army) and Ekarat (the sole monarch).
His eighth son Dhanananda was the last ruler of the dynasty.
It was during the time of Dhanananda, that Alexander’s invasion took place.
The Hathigumpa inscription of king Kharevala of Kalinga refers to the conquest of Kalinga by Nandas.
This dynasty came to an end in about 322 BC – 21 BC and was supplanted by Maurya dynasty.