5 Minute Learning Series: Mahajanpadas

By Avinash Kumar|Updated : September 2nd, 2021

Hello Students,

In this short 5-minute read we will cover the syllabus of 16 Mahajanpadas in Ancient Indian History through bullet points. The information is indispensable for all competitive examinations.

All the Best!!


  • Magadha (Patna, Gaya and Nalanda districts)– The first capital was Rajagriha and the later capital was Pataliputra.
  • Anga and Vanga (Munger and Bhagalpur)– The capital was Champa. It was a prosperous business centre.
  • Malla (Deoria, Basti, Gorakhpur region)– The capital was Kushinagar. It was the seat of many other smaller kingdoms. Their main religion was Buddhism.
  • Vatsa (Allahabad and Mirzapur)– The capital was Kaushambi. The most important ruler of this kingdom was King Udayan.
  • Kashi (Benaras)– The capital was Varanasi. Though many battles were fought against the Kosala kingdom, eventually Kashi was merged with the Kosala kingdom.
  • Kosala (Ayodhya)– Though its capital was Shravasti which is identical with Sahet-Mahet but Ayodhya was an important town in Kosala. Kosala also included the tribal Republican territory of Sakyas of Kapilvastu.
  • Vajji(Muzaffarpur and Vaishali) – Vajji was the seat of a united republic of eight smaller kingdoms of which Lichchavis, Janatriks and Videhas were also members.
  • Kuru (Thaneswar, Meerut and present-day Delhi) – The capital city was Indraprastha.
  • Panchala (Western Uttar Pradesh)– Its capital was at Kampala. Earlier a monarch state, it later became an independent republic. Kannauj was an important town in this kingdom.
  • Matsya kingdom (Alwar, Bharatpur and Jaipur)– Its capital was Viratanagar.
  • Ashmaka (Between Narmada and Godavari)– Its capital was at Pertaii and Brahamdatta was its most important ruler.
  • Gandhara (Peshawar and Rawalpindi)– Its capital Taxila was important as a trade and education centre (Ancient Taxila university) during the later Vedic age.
  • Kamboj (Hazara dist of Pakistan, North-east Kashmir) – Its capital was Rajapur. Hazara was an important trade and commerce centre of this kingdom.
  • Avanti (Malwa)– Avanti was divided into two parts north and south. The northern part had its capital at Ujjain and the southern part had its capital at Mahismati.
  • Chedi (Bundelkhand)– Shaktimati was the capital of Chedi. Chedi kingdom was spread between Yamuna and Narmada rivers. One of the families from this kingdom later merged into the Kalinga kingdom from this royal family.
  • Shurasena (Brajmandal)– Its capital was at Mathura and its most famous ruler was Avantiputra.

Sources of Sixteen Mahajanapadas

  • Anguttara Nikaya, Mahavastu (Buddhist Literature)
  • Bhagavati Sutta (Jain Literature)

Let's see a question on this topic:

Q. Vajji Mahajanpada is located in___________.

A. Madhya Pradesh

B. Bihar


D. West Bengal
Answer: B

• Vajji or Vrajhi was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas of ancient India.

• It originated by joining several small states.

• Its capital was Vaishali.

• It was located on the north of River Ganga in Bihar. 

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Avinash KumarAvinash KumarMember since Feb 2017
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