Haryanka Dynasty: Rulers of Magadha Empire

5 minute read
Haryanka Dynasty

Originating in the 6th century BCE, Haryanka Dynasty is believed to have reigned for approximately 150 years. Imagine a civilization where legendary kings were born and dynasties rose and fell after a glorious rule. With us, explore the world of the Haryanka Dynasty which was an ancient lineage that once ruled over the prosperous kingdom of Magadh in India. In this blog, we will delve into the rulers of this dynasty and know everything about them.

What was the Haryanka Dynasty?

The first empire in India is known as the Magadha Empire. The empire reigned from 544 BC to 322 BC. The first vibrant and powerful dynasty which ruled in the Magadha Empire was the Haryanka Dynasty. The Magadha Empire was expanded later by three dynasties, namely, Haryanka, Shaishunaga and Nandas.  

The founder of this dynasty was Bimbisara, who was the first monarch of the Magadha Empire. The Dynasty lasted from 544 BC to 412 BC. Three major kings ruled and expanded under the Haryanka Dynasty, the first Bimbisara, followed by Ajatashatru and his son Udayin followed by their sons.

Also Read – The 16 Mahajanapadas: History, Importance and Impact

Who were the Rulers of the Haryanka Dynasty?

There were in total three monarchs who ruled in this dynasty. We will try to learn more about them. 

Who was Bimbisara?

  • Bimbisara is known as the founder who established the Haryanka Dynasty. 
  • His rule was for over fifty- two years from 544 to 492 BC. 
  • The capital of this dynasty was Rajgriha under his rule.
  • In Jain mythology, he was named as King Shrenika of Rajgriha
  • He was a contemporary of Lord Buddha and according to Buddhist texts, is believed to have met him before he attained enlightenment.
  • Zahiruddin Muhammad alias Firishta, a great historian has credited him with sixteen states under his jurisdiction and establishing a strong empire.
  • He was known for his strategic acumen and aggressive policies.
  • His patronage of Jainism and Buddhism demonstrated not only his religious tolerance but also his progressive mindset.
  • He expanded his kingdom’s boundaries by forging alliances and marriage proposals with neighbouring states.
  • Bimbisara was imprisoned and executed by his own son Ajatashatru.
Bimbisara donated his kingdom to Buddha.

Who was Ajatashatru?

  • Ajatashatru was the son of Chellana and Bimbisara.
  • He came to the throne after executing his father Bimbisara
  • The rule of Ajatashatru was from 492 BC to 461 BC
  • The monarch was the contemporary of Mahduo and Shakyamuni Buddha
  • Ajatshatru became the first monarch under whose rule the First Buddhist Council was conducted at Rajgriha.
  • His rule showcased the military might and defeated the great confederacy of the Vajjis/ Lichhavis.
  • Ajatashatru’s mission was to vanquish Koshala and Kashi. Later the truce ended between them when the Koshala ruler was forced to give his daughter to maintain harmony, Subsequently, kashi was also proposed along with it.
  • The Magadha Empire flourished during his rule as he followed the policy of victory and development and was known as an ambitious and militaristic king.
The military weapon used by Ajatashatru

Who was Udayin?

  • The third monarch of the Haryanka Dynasty was Udayin.
  • He ruled from 460 BC to 444 BC.
  • He shifted his capital to Pataliputra, and thereon, Pataliputra became the main capital of the Magadha empire.
  • Udayin is credited with designing and planning this magnificent city.
  • He built a fort at the convergence of the Ganges and Son rivers in the now-known city of Patna.
  • He was assassinated by his son Anuraddha.

Also Read – Satavahana Dynasty: History, Rulers and Decline

Who was Anuraddha?

  • He was a peaceful heir of Udayin
  • He came to the throne after assassinating his father.
  • His rule is often regarded as the respite from the preceding years of conflict and military conquest.
  • He focused mostly on governance, administration and welfare programs.
  • The Haryanka Dynasty saw a great decline after his rule.
  • He was succeeded by his son Munda.

Also Read – Gupta Empire: Rise, Rulers, UPSC Notes

Governance Under the Haryanka Dynasty

  • The court of Bimbisara is believed to have included Sona Kolivisa, Sumana (who gathered flowers), Koliya (a minister), Kumbhaghosaka (a treasurer), and Jivaka (a physician) for administrative convenience.
  • The kingdom was governed by gramakas, who were village heads responsible for managing the village assemblies, and maha amarthiyas or amarthas, who managed the executive, judiciary, and military administration.
  • The Magadha Vajji war was a significant event that occurred during Ajatashatru’s lifetime and featured the use of scythed chariots and catapult siege engines, which were described in detail in numerous texts.
  •  The Magadha Vajji war coincided with the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus.
Credits – Reddit

Munda, Nagadasaka and Shaishunaga

Following the reign of Anuraddha, the dynasty witnessed a succession of different kings who though they were lesser known, still continued the lineage of the dynasty. Munda, Nagadaska and Shaishunaga all contributed to the stability and prosperity of Magadha. Later, there was a gradual rise of the Nanda Dynasty that dominated the region of Magaddha.

Though the dynasty was short-lived, it had a lasting impact on Indian history.  Through their conquests, strategic alliances and visionary rulership these ancient kings left an engrained mark on the chapter of the reign of the Magadha Empire. From Bimbisara’s diplomatic finesse to Ajatashatru’s military might and Udayin’s architectural brilliance, each ruler contributed their best. The legacy of the Haryanka Dynasty paved the way for future generations of emperors to bask in the glory of Magadha.


Who was the founder of the Haryanka dynasty?

According to the Buddhist texts, the Mahavamsa, Bimbisara at the age of fifteen ascended to the throne as king and was the founder of the Haryanka Dynasty.

Which dynasty came before Haryanka?

The Pradyota and Brihadratha dynasties were the two dynasties that ruled the Magadha empire before Haryanka Dynasty.

Who was the great king of the Haryanka dynasty?

Bimbisara was the greatest king of the Haryanka Dynasty, as he was the founder of the dynasty and played an important role in establishing his kingdom.

Who defeated the Haryanka dynasty?

The dynasty was defeated by their minister ( Amartya) Shaishunaga.

Relevant Blogs

Maratha Empire (1674-1818)The Mauryan Empire (321-185 BC)
The Vijaynagar Empire (1336-1647) AD Pallava Dynasty
Khilji Dynasty (1290–1320)Lodi Dynasty
Maharana PratapPala Dynasty
Rashrtrakutas DynastyChalukya Dynasty

That’s all about Haryanka Dynasty If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *