Magadha Empire: Haryanaka, Shishunaga & Nanda Dynasty

By Naveen Singh|Updated : April 18th, 2020

Ancient History is an important topic asked in General Awareness. It is asked in various Defence Exams such as CAPF (AC), CDS, AFCAT, Air Force Group X & Y, etc.

Here we will enlighten you about the Haryanka, Shishunaga & Nanda Dynasty here. Many questions are asked about this topic.

Magadha Empire: Haryanaka, Shishunaga & Nanda Dynasty

Haryanka Dynasty:

Haryanka is the name of a new dynasty founded in Magadha by Bimbisara. The capital of the Haryanka Dynasty was Rajgirha and was later changed to Patliputra.


  • Bimbisara (558-491 B.C.), Gautama Buddha's greatest patron, was among the early kings of Magadha's ancient Indian kingdom.
  • He extended his kingdom to the east of Anga, and this expansion is thought to have laid the foundation for the future vast expansion of the Maurya Empire.
  • His wife was a Kosala princess who brought Kashi's village to Bimbisara as a dowry and bore him his son Ajathshatru as well.
  • He was also called Seniya who was the first Indian to have a regular and standing army.


  • Gained control of Kashi and Vajji. Built the fort of Rajgir.
  • He convened the 1st Buddhist council
  • He is shown as a Buddhist in the Buddhist texts; in Jain texts, he appears to be a Jain and is portrayed as a Vedic follower in the Brihadaranyak Upanishad.


  • King Udayin was a Haryanka dynasty ruler who ruled Magadha between 460 BCE and 440 BCE. He was Ajatashatru's son and King Bimbisara's grandson.
  • At the confluence of the two rivers, the Son and the Ganges, Udayin laid the foundation of Pataliputra city. He also shifted his capital from Rajgir to Patliputra.

Shishunaga Dynasty:

  • Udayabhadra, son of Ajatashatru, succeeded Ajatashatru and ruled for the next seventeen years.
  • Following the succession, Udayabhadra's son Anuruddha and his son Munda slaughtered the father in the same family tradition.
  • Munda's son, Nagadasaka slaughtered his father and continued to reign. The citizens, angry with the Haryankas rule, revolted against Nagadasaka and anointed Shishunaga as the king, and thus began the dynasty of Shishunaga.
  • Shishunga was succeeded by Kalashoka who convened the 2nd Buddhist council.

Nanda Dynasty:

  • Mahapadma Nanda was the founder and the first king of the Nanda dynasty.
  • He overthrew the Magadha dynasty and established the new Empire. He was known as Sarvakshatrantak and Ugrasena
  • Mahapadma was known as Ekrat – the sole monarch
  • Initially, the Nanda Dynasty inherited a large kingdom of Magadha and subsequently, the boundaries of the Nanda Dynasty were expanded in all directions by its rulers.
  • Dhana Nanda was the last ruler of the Nanda Dynasty. During his rule, Alexander invaded North-West India by 326 BC.

Alexender’s Invasion:

  • Alexander, the great Indian invaded during Dhanananda's rule in 326 BC. The Greek texts refer to Dhanananda as Xandrames or Aggrammes or Ganderites.
  • Texts say Nandas' army consisted of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 (or 80,000) cavalry, 2,000 (or 8,000) chariots of war and 3,000 (or 6,000) elephants of war, which was waiting for Alexender’s Army.
  • Alexander turned back and began homeward journey in 325 BC and died in Persia in 324 BC.

In 322-21 BC Chandragupta Maurya founded the Mauryan dynasty.

Also, Check: 

Mahajanpadas & Rise of Magadha Empire

More from us:

Important Study Notes for Defence Exams

Defence Specific Notes

Weekly Current Affairs

Current Affairs Quiz

SSB Interview Tips

Thank you,

Team Gradeup!


write a comment

Follow us for latest updates