16 Mahajanapadas

16 Mahajanapadas and their capitals taxila university gandhara kamboja

16 Mahajanapadas and their capitals taxila university gandhara kamboja


The 16 mahajanapadas of that period as listed in Buddhist Pali Canon were


Capital: Champa
Modern location: Munger and Bhagalpur, Bihar
  • Reference found in the Mahabharata and Atharva Veda
  • Bimbisara taken over Anga


Capital: Rajagriha
Modern location: Gaya and Patna
  • Magadha was semi-Brahmanical habitation.
  • Magadha and Anga was divided by river Champa.
  • Later it became a center of Jainism and Buddhist
Capital: Kasi
Modern Location: Banars
  • It got its name from rivers Varuna and Asi according to Matsya Purana.
  • Dhritarashtra once ruled over Kashi and Anga
Capital: Kausambi
Modern Location: Allahabad
  • Vatsa is also known as Vamsa
  • Ruler Udayana made Buddhism a state religion.


Capital: Sravasti
Modern Location: Eastern Uttar Pradesh ( Ayodhya)
  • Ayodhya was an important town in Kosala.
  • It was merged in the Magadha by the Magadha ruler, Ajatashatru.
  • Kosala also included the tribal republican territory of Sakyas of Kapilvastu.
16 Mahajanapadas and their capitals taxila university gandhara kamboja
Capital: Mathura
Modern Location: Western Uttar Pradesh
  • This place was a center of Krishna worship at the time of Megasthenes.
  • The most famous ruler was Avantiputra.
Capital: Ahichchatra and Kampliya
Modern Location: Western Uttar Pradesh
  • Later the nature of governance shifted from monarchy to republic.
  • Kanauj was an important town in this kingdom
Capital: Indraprastha
Modern Location: Thaneswar, Meerut and Southeastern Haryana
  • The area around Kurukshetra was apparently the site for Kuru Mahajanapada.
  • It moved to a republic form of governance.

Capital: Viratnagar
Modern Location: Jaipur
  • It got its independence from the Chedi kingdom (ruled by King Sahaja) under the leadership of Virat Raja.
Capital: Sotthivati
Modern Location:  Yamuna and Narmada belt
  • This was cited in the Rigveda
  • It located in the present day Bundelkhand region.


Capital: Ujjaini or Mahismati.
Modern Location: Malwa and Madhya Pradesh
  • Avanti was significant in relation to the rise of Buddhism.
  • It was the most vulnerable of all the mahajanapadas and was ruled by many kingdoms


Capital: Taxila
Modern Location: Rawalpindi
  • Gandhara are cited in the Atharva Veda
  • It was significant for international commercial activities.

Capital: Pooncha
Modern Location: Rajori and Hajra
  • It is situated in present day Kashmir and Hindukush.
  • Several literary sources mention that Kamboja was a republic.
Ashmaka or Assaka
Capital: Pratisthan/ Paithan
Modern Location: Bank of Godavari
  • Brahamdatta was its most important ruler.
Capital: Vaishali
Modern Location: North Bihar
  • Vajji was the seat of a united republic of eight smaller kingdoms of which Lichchavis, Janatriks and Videhas were also members. 
Capital: Kusinara
Modern Location: Deoria and Uttar Pradesh,  Gorakhpur region
  • Religion was Buddhism
  • Malla was a republic

Taxila University

  • Taxila University is the oldest university and was probably the first organized educational center of ancient India.
  • It is not clear who actually founded this university, although it was funded by almost all the great kingsand rulers of the ancient past.
  • It was a center of learning for logic, religion, medicine, mathematics, astrology, the Vedas, warfare and primitive science
  • Taxila was the capital of the Gandhara Kingdom, allowed students from all parts of India to be enrolled and education was free for all.
  • Only Chandalas were not allowed to study in this university.
  • Scholars like Nagarjuna, Panini, Chanakya, Prasanajit, Jeevka (son of Bimbisara) all came to thisplace to study before they became important personalities in Indian history.
  • Alexander taken some scholars from Taxila to Greece.
  • In BC, the Hun ruler, Toramana, attacked and demolished the university campus.
  • During that time, most of the records were burnt or destroyed.

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