Which was the First Capital of Magadha?

By Devyani Singh|Updated : July 13th, 2022

The first capital of Magadha was Rajagriha, currently known as Rajgir, which loosely translates to ‘City of Kings’. Today, the ancient capital of Rajagriha is located in the Nalanda district of Bihar. 

The city has had its mentioned in the epic tale of Mahabharata, related to its ruler Jarasandha. It has also been an important city for two religions, namely Buddhism and Jainism. 

What was the Name of the Earlier Capital of Magadha?

The ancient kingdom of Magadha found its capital in the city of Rajagriha. The Magadha empire is what evolved into the great Mauryan Empire. The actual year of origin is unknown to us today but ceramics that originate from 1000 BC have been excavated from the city. The Cyclopean Wall which is believed to be 2500 years old is also in Rajagriha (currently known as Rajgir). 

The city is also an important site for both Buddhism and Jainism. Munisuvrata, the 20th Jain Tirthankar, was born in this town. It has also been closely associated with Gautama Buddha and Mahavira. Both of them preached in the city of Rajgir in the 5th and 6th centuries respectively. Bimbisara also offered a monastery to Gautama Buddha here, hence, becoming one of the primary spots of preaching for Buddhism. 

The ancient global seat of education, the Nalanda University, was also located near the town of Rajagriha. 

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FAQs about the First Magadha Capital 

  • Rajagriha, or Rajgir (as is known currently) was the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Magadha.

  • The present name of Rajagriha is Rajgir.

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