The Janapadas (lit.'Foothold of the people') (pronounced [dʑɐnɐpɐdɐ]) (c. 1500–600 BCE) were the realms, republics (ganapada) and kingdoms (sāmarājya) of the Vedic period in the Indian subcontinent. The Vedic period reaches from the late Bronze Age into the Iron Age: from about 1500 BCE to the 6th century BCE. With the rise of sixteen Mahajanapadas ("great janapadas"), most of the states were annexed by more powerful neighbours, although some remained independent.[1]


The Sanskrit term janapada is a tatpurusha compound term, composed of two words: janas and pada. Jana means "people" or "subject" (cf. Latin cognate genus, English cognate kin). The word pada means "foot" (cf. Latin cognate pedis);[2][3] from its earliest attestation, the word has had a double meaning of "realm, territory" and "subject population" (cf. Hittite pedan, "place"). Linguist George Dunkel compares the Greek andrapodon "slave", to PIE *pédom "fetters" (i.e. "what is attached to the feet"). Sanskrit padám, usually taken to mean "footprint, trail", diverges in accent from the PIE reconstruction. For the sense of "population of the land", padasya janas, the inverted padajana would be expected. A primary meaning of "place of the people", janasya padam, would not explain why the compound is of masculine gender. An original dvandva "land and people" is conceivable, but a dual inflection would be expected.[4]

History and evolution

Modern replica of utensils and falcon shaped altar used for Agnicayana, an elaborate srauta ritual originating from the Kuru Kingdom,[5] around 1000 BCE.

Literary evidence suggests that the janapadas flourished between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE. The earliest mention of the term "janapada" occurs in the Aitareya (8.14.4) and Shatapatha ( Brahmana texts.[6]

In the Vedic samhitas, the term jana denotes a tribe, whose members believed in a shared ancestry.[7] The janas were headed by a king (raja). The council (samiti) was a common assembly of the jana members, and had the power to elect or dethrone the king. The sabha was a smaller assembly of wise elders, who advised the king.[8]

The janas were originally semi-nomadic pastoral communities, but gradually came to be associated with specific territories as they became less mobile. Various kulas (clans) developed within the jana, each with its own chief. Gradually, the necessities of defence and warfare prompted the janas to form military groupings headed by janapadins (Kshatriya warriors). This model ultimately evolved into the establishment of political units known as the janapadas.[9]

While some of the janas evolved into their own janapadas, others appear to have mixed together to form a common Janapada. According to the political scientist Sudama Misra, the name of the Panchala janapada suggests that it was a fusion of five (pancha) janas.[10] Some janas (such as Aja and Mutiba) mentioned in the earliest texts do not find a mention in the later texts. Misra theorizes that these smaller janas were conquered by and assimilated into the larger janas.[10]

Janapadas were gradually dissolved around 500 BCE. Their disestablishment can be attributed to the rise of imperial powers (such as Magadha) in Northern India, as well as foreign invasions (such as those by the Persians and the Greeks) in the north-western South Asia.[11]


The Janapada were highest political unit in Northern India during this period; these polities were usually monarchical (though some followed a form of republicanism) and succession was hereditary. The head of a kingdom was called a (rajan) or king. A chief priest (purohita) and a commander of the army (senani) who would assist the king. There were also two other political bodies: the (sabhā), thought to be a council of elders and the (samiti), a general assembly of the entire people.[12]

The boundaries of the kingdoms

Often rivers formed the boundaries of two neighboring kingdoms, as was the case between the northern and southern Panchala and between the western (Pandava's Kingdom) and eastern (Kaurava's Kingdom) Kuru. Sometimes, large forests, which were larger than the kingdoms themselves, formed their boundaries as was the case of Naimisha Forest, the Naimisha Aranyam between Panchala and Kosala kingdoms. Mountain ranges like Himalaya, Vindhyachal and Sahyadri also formed their boundaries.

The cities and villages

Multi-coloured political map
Ahichchhatra (or Ahi-Kshetra) was the ancient capital of Northern Panchala. The remains of this city has been discovered in Bareilly.

Some kingdoms possessed a main city that served as its capital. For example, the capital of Pandava's Kingdom was Indraprastha and the Kaurava's Kingdom was Hastinapura. Ahichatra was the capital of Northern Panchala whereas Kampilya was the capital of Southern Panchala. Kosala Kingdom had its capital at Ayodhya. Apart from the main city or capital, where the palace of the ruling king was situated, there were small towns and villages spread throughout the kingdom, from which tax was collected by officers appointed by the king. What the king offered in return was protection from attack by other kings and robber tribes, as well as from invading foreign nomadic tribes. The king also enforced law and order in his kingdom by punishing the guilty.[13][14]


A Kuru coin, earliest example of coinage in India.[15]

The Janapadas had Kshatriya rulers.[16] Based on literary references, historians have theorized that the Janapadas were administered by the following assemblies in addition to the king:

Sabha (Council)
An assembly more akin to a council of qualified members or elders (mostly men) who advised the king and performed judicial functions. In the ganas or republican Janapadas called Gana-Rajya with no kings, the council of elders also handled administration.[1]
Paura Sabha (Executive Council)
The Paura Sabha was the assembly of the capital city (pura), and handled municipal administration.[17]
Samiti (General Assembly)
A samiti generally consisted of all adults of the republic or the city-state. A samiti was congregated when a matter of importance had to be communicated to the entire city-state. A samiti was also held at the time of festivals to plan, raise revenue and conduct the celebrations.
The Janapada assembly represented the rest of the Janapada, possibly the villages, which were administered by a gramini,[17] or 'grāmaṇī'.[18]

Some historians have also theorized that there was a common assembly called the "Paura-Janapada", but others such as Ram Sharan Sharma disagree with this theory. The existence of Paura and Janapada itself is a controversial matter.[19]

Indian nationalist historians such as K. P. Jayaswal have argued that the existence of such assemblies is evidence of prevalence of democracy in ancient India.[20] V. B. Misra notes that the contemporary society was divided into the four varnas (besides the avarna or outcastes), and the Kshatriya ruling class had all the political rights.[21] Not all the citizens in a janapada had political rights.[1] Based on Gautama's Dharmasutra, Jayaswal theorized that the low-caste shudras could be members of the Paura assembly.[19] According to A. S. Altekar, this theory is based on a misunderstanding of the text: the term "Paura" in the relevant portion of the Dharmasutra refers to a resident of the city, not a member of the city assembly.[22] Jayaswal also argued that the members of the supposed Paura-Janapada assembly acted as counselors to the king, and made other important decisions such as imposing taxes in times of emergency. Once again, Altekar argued that these conclusions are based on misinterpretations of the literary evidence. For example, Jayaswal has wrongly translated the word "amantra" in a Ramayana verse as "to offer advice"; it actually means "to bid farewell" in proper context.[22]

Interactions between kingdoms

Janapada weaponry
Ancient Indian Antennae sword; Metalwork, 1800–1500 BCE [23]
Ancient Indian Ax Blade, 1800–1500 BCE[24]

There was no border security for a kingdom and border disputes were very rare. One king might conduct a military campaign (often designated as Digvijaya meaning victory over all the directions) and defeat another king in a battle, lasting for a day.[25] The defeated king would acknowledge the supremacy of the victorious king. The defeated king might sometimes be asked to give a tribute to the victorious king. Such tribute would be collected only once, not on a periodic basis. The defeated king, in most cases, would be free to rule his own kingdom, without maintaining any contact with the victorious king. There was no annexation of one kingdom by another. Often a military general (senapati) conducted these campaigns on behalf of his king. A military campaign and tribute collection was often associated with a great sacrifice (like Rajasuya or Ashvamedha) conducted in the kingdom of the campaigning king. The defeated king also was invited to attend these sacrifice ceremonies, as a friend and ally.[26]

New kingdoms

New kingdoms were formed when a major clan produced more than one king in a generation. The Kuru clan of Kings was very successful in governing throughout North India with their numerous kingdoms, which were formed after each successive generation. Similarly, the Yadava clan of kings formed numerous kingdoms in Central India.[27]

Cultural differences

Vedic King performs the Rajasuya Sacrifice.

Parts of western India were dominated by tribes who had a slightly different culture, considered non-Vedic by the mainstream Vedic culture prevailing in the Kuru and Panchala kingdoms. Similarly, there were some tribes in the eastern regions of India considered to be in this category.[28] Tribes with non-Vedic culture — especially those of barbaric nature — were collectively termed as Mleccha. Very little was mentioned in the ancient Indian literature about the kingdoms to the North, beyond the Himalayas. China was mentioned as a kingdom known as Cina, often grouped with Mleccha kingdoms.

List of Janapadas

Vedic literature

The Vedas mention five sub-divisions of ancient India:[29]

The Vedic literature mentions the following janas or janapadas:[30]

Jana or Janapada IAST name Region Mentioned in
Mentioned in
Aja Aja Central
Alina Alina Western
Ambashtha Ambaśṭha Central
Andhra Āndhra Southern
Anga Aṅga Eastern
Anu Anu Western
Balhika Balhika Northern
Bhalana Bhalana Western
Bharadvaja Bharadvāja Central
Bharata Bharata Central
Bheda Bheda Central
Bodha Bodha Central
Chedi Cedi Central
Druhyu Druhyu Western
Gandhari Gandhāri Western
Kamboja Kamboja Northern
Keshin Keśin Central
Kikata Kīkaṭa Eastern
Kirata Kirāta Eastern
Kosala Kosala Eastern
Krivi Krivi Central
Kunti Kunti Central
Kalinga Kalinga Eastern
Kuru Kuru Central
Magadha Magadha Eastern
Mahavrisha Mahāvṛṣa Northern
Matsya Matsya Central
Mujavana Mūjavana Northern
Mutiba Mūtiba Southern
Nishada Niṣāda Central
Paktha Paktha Western
Panchala Pāñcala Central
Parshu Parśu Western
Paravata Pārāvata Central
Prithu Pṛthu Western
Pulinda Pulinda Southern
Pundra Puṇḍra Eastern
Puru Pūru Western
Rushama Ruśama Central
Shalva Śālva Central
Satvanta Satvanta Southern
Shabara Śabara Southern
Shigru Śigru Central
Shiva Śiva Western
Shvikna Śvikna Central
Srinjaya Sṛñjaya Central
Tritsu Tṛtsu Central
Turvasha Turvaśa Western
Ushinara Uśīnara Central
Uttara Kuru Uttara Kuru Northern
Uttara Madra Uttara Madra Northern
Vaikarna Vaikarṇa Northern
Vanga Vaṅga Eastern
Kashi Kāśi Eastern
Varashikha Varaśikha Central
Vasha Vaśa Central
Vidarbha Vidarbha Southern
Videha Videha Eastern
Vishanin Viśaṇin Western
Vrichivanta Vṛcivanta Western
Yadu Yadu Western
Yakshu Yakṣu Central

See also: List of Rigvedic tribes

Puranic literature

The Puranas mention seven sub-divisions of ancient India:[31]

According to research by political scientist Sudama Misra, the Puranic texts mention the following janapadas:[32]

Janapada Region Mentioned in the Puranas? Alternative names and locations
(Chapter 114)
(Chapter 45)
(Chapter 57)
(Chapter 13)
(Chapter 16)
Ābhīra (northern) Northern
Ābhīra (southern) Southern
Abhīṣaha (Abhishaha) Northern Apanga (Vayu), Aupadha (Markandeya), Alasa (Vamana)
Āhuka Northern Kuhaka (Markandeya), Kuhuka (Vamana)
Alimadra Northern Anibhadra (Markandeya), Alibhadra (Vamana)
Ānarta Western Āvantya Markandeya, Vamana
Andhaka Central
Āndhra Southern Andha (Markandeya)
Andhravāka Eastern Andhāraka (Markandeya)
Aṅga Eastern Central and Eastern in Vamana
Aṅgāramāriṣa (Angara-Marisha) Southern
Āntaranarmada Western Uttaranarmada (Markandeya), Sunarmada (Vamana)
Antargiri Eastern
Anūpa Vindhyan Arūpa (Matsya), Annaja (Vayu)
Aparīta Northern Purandhra (Matsya), Aparānta (Markandeya)
Arthapa Central Atharva (Markandeya)
Aśmaka (Ashmaka) Southern
Aśvakūṭa Central
Āṭavi Southern Āraṇya (Markandeya), Āṭavya (Brahmanda)
Ātreya Northern Atri (Matsya, Brahmanda)
Auṇḍra Vindhyan
Avanti Vindhyan Central and Vindhyan in Matsya
Bahirgiri Eastern
Vāhlīka Northern
Bahula Northern Pahlava (Vayu), Bahudha (Vamana)
Barbara Northern Central and Northern in Vamana
Bhadra Eastern and Central
Bhadrakāra Central
Bharadvāja Northern
Bhārgava Eastern
Bharukaccha Western Bhanukaccha (Vayu), Bhīrukahcha (Markandeya), Dārukachchha (Vamana), Sahakaccha (Brahmanda)
Bhogavardhana Southern
Bhoja Vindhyan Gopta (Vamana)
Bhūṣika (Bhushika) Northern
Bodha Central Bāhya (Matsya)
Brahmottara Eastern Suhmottara (Matsya), Samantara (Brahmanda)
Carmakhaṇḍika (Charmakhandika) Northern Attakhaṇḍika (Matsya), Sakheṭaka (Vamana)
Kerala Southern Kevala (Markandeya)
Cīna (China) Northern Pīna (Vayu), Veṇa (Vamana)
Cola (Chola) Southern Caulya (Vayu), Cauḍa (Vamana); Southern and Eastern in Brahmanda
Cūlika (Chulika) Northern Cūḍika (Vamana), Vindhyacūlika (Brahmanda)
Daṇḍaka Southern
Darada Northern
Darva Himalayan Himalayan and Northern in Vayu and Markandeya
Daśeraka (Dasheraka) Northern Karseruka (Vayu), Kuśeruka (Markandeya)
Daśamālika (Dashamalika) Northern Daśanāmaka (Matsya), Daśamānika (Vayu), Daṅśana (Vamana)
Daśarṇa (Dasharna) Vindhyan
Druhyu Northern Hrada (Vayu), Bhadra (Brahmanda)
Durga Western Durgala (Brahmanda)
Ganaka Northern
Gāndhāra Northern
Godha Central
Golāṅgūla Southern
Gonarda Eastern Govinda (Vayu), Gomanta (Markandeya), Mananda (Vamana)
Haṃsamārga Himalayan Sarvaga (Himalayan) in Matsya; Haṃsamārga (Northern and Himalayan) in Vayu and Markandeya; Karnamārga (Northern) and Haṃsamārga (Himalayan) in Vamana; Haṃsamārga (Himalayan) Haṃsabhaṅga (Northern) in Brahmanda
Hara-Hunaka Northern Pūrṇa (Vayu), Ūrṇa (Markandeya), Cūrṇa (Vamana), Hūṇa (Brahmanda)
Hāramuṣika (Haramushika) Northern Hāramūrtika (Matsya), Hārapūrika (Vayu), Sāmuṣaka (Vamana)
Huhuka Himalayan Samudgaka (Matsya), Sahūdaka (Vayu), Sakṛtraka (Markandeya), Śahuhūka (Vamana), Sahuhūka (Brahmanda)
Ijika Northern
Īṣīka (Ishika) Southern Vaisakya (Markandeya)
Jaguda Northern Jāṇgala (Matsya), Juhuḍa (Vayu), Jāguḍa (Markandeya)
Jāṇgala Central
Jñeyamarthaka Eastern Jñeyamallaka (Markandeya), Aṅgiyamarṣaka (Vamana), Gopapārthiva (Brahmanda)
Kachchhika Western Kāchchhīka (Matsya), Kacchīya (Vayu), Kāśmīra (Markandeya), Kacchipa (Brahmanda)
Kālatoyaka Northern
Kaliṅga (central) Central Arkalinga (Markandeya)
Kaliṅga (southern) Southern
Kalitaka Western Kālītaka (Vayu), Anīkaṭa (Markandeya), Tālīkaṭa (Vamana), Kuntala (Brahmanda)
Kalivana Western Kolavana (Vayu), Kālivala (Markandeya), Vāridhana (Vamana), Kalivana (Brahmanda)
Kāmboja Northern
Kantakara Northern Kanṭakāra (Matsya), Raddhakaṭaka (Vayu), Bahubhadra (Markandeya), Kādhara (Vamana)
Kāraskara Western Paraṣkara (Vayu), Kaṭhākṣara (Markandeya), Karandhara (Brahmanda)
Kārūṣa (Karusha) Vindhyan Southern and Vindhyan (Matsya)
Kāśmīra (Kashmira) Northern
Kauśika Central
Kekeya Northern Kaikeyya (Matsya), Kaikeya (Markandeya), Kaikeya (Vamana)
Khasa Himalayan Khaśa (Vamana), Śaka (Brahmanda)
Kirāta Himalayan Kirāta (Matsya, Central and Himalayan)
Kisaṇṇa Central
Kiṣkindhaka (Kishkindhaka) Vindhyan Kikarava (Vamana)
Koṅkaṇa Southern
Kośala (Central) Central
Kośala (Vindhyan) Vindhyan
Kukkuṭa Northern
Kulūta Northern Ulūta (Brahmanda)
Kulya Southern and Central Only Central in Markandeya; only Southern in Vamana and Brahmanda
Kumara Southern Kupatha (Matsya), Kumana (Vayu), Kusuma (Markandeya), Kumārāda (Vamana), Kṣapaṇa (Brahmanda)
Kuninda Northern Pulinda (Matsya), Kaliṅga (Markandeya), Kalinda (Brahmanda)
Kuntala Southern and Central Kuntala ( (Matsya, only Central), Kuṇḍala (Vamana)
Kupatha Himalayan Kṣupaṇa (Vayu), Kurava (Markandeya)
Kuru Central Kaurava (Vamana)
Kuśalya (Kushalya) Central
Kuśūdra (Kushudra) Central
Kuthaprāvaraṇa Himalayan Kuśaprāvaraṇa (Vayu), Kuntaprāvaraṇa (Markandeya), Apaprāvaraṇa (Brahmanda)
Lalhitta Northern
Lampāka Northern Lamaka (Brahmanda)
Madraka Northern Bhadraka (Vayu and Vamana), Maṇḍala (Brahmanda)
Madguraka Eastern Mudgara (Markandeya), Mudagaraka (Brahmanda)
Mādreya Central
Magadha Eastern Central and Eastern in Vayu and Brahmanda
Maharāṣṭra (Maharashtra) Southern Navarāṣṭra (Matsya)
Māheya Western
Māhiṣika (Mahishika) Southern Māhiṣaka (Vayu and Markandeya)
Mālada Eastern Mālava (Matsya), Manada (Markandeya), Mansāda (Vamana)
Malaka Central
Malavartika Eastern Mallavarṇaka (Matsya), Mālavartin (Vayu), Mānavartika (Markandeya), Baladantika (Vamana)
Mālava Vindhyan Ekalavya (Vamana), Malada (Brahmanda)
Malla Eastern Śālva (Matsya), Māla (Vayu), Māia (Vamana)
Maṇḍala Himalayan Mālava (Vayu), Mālava (Markandeya)
Māṇḍavya Northern
Māṣa (Masha) Vindhyan
Mātaṅga Eastern
Matsya Central Yatstha (Vamana)
Maulika Southern Maunika (Vayu)
Mekala Vindhyan Rokala (Vayu), Kevala (Markandeya)
Arbuda Western
Mūka Central
Mūṣika (Mushika) Southern Sūtika (Matsya), Mūṣikāda (Vamana), Mūṣika (Brahmanda)
Nairṇika Southern Naiṣika (Markandeya)
Nalakālika Southern Vanadāraka (Markandeya), Nalakāraka (Vamana)
Nāsikya Western Vāsikya (Matsya), Nāsikānta (Vamana), Nāsika (Brahmanda)
Nirāhāra Himalayan Nigarhara (Vayu), Nihāra (Markandeya)
Naiṣadha (Naishadha) Vindhyan Niṣāda (Vayu)
Pahlava Northern Pallava (all except Vayu)
Pāṇavīya Northern
Pāñcala (Panchala) Central
Pāṇḍya (Pandya) Southern Puṇḍra (Markandeya), Puṇḍra (Vamana)
Pārada Northern Parita (Vayu), Pāravata (Vamana)
Paṭaccara (Patachchara) Central Śatapatheśvara (Vayu)
Paurika Southern Paunika (Vayu), Paurika (Markandeya), Paurika (Vamana), Paurika (Brahmanda)
Pluṣṭa (Plushta) Himalayan
Prāgjyotiṣa (Pragjyotisha) Eastern
Prasthala Northern Puṣkala (Markandeya)
Pravaṅga Eastern Plavaṅga (Matsya and Brahmanda)
Prāvijaya Eastern Prāviṣeya (Brahmanda)
Priyalaukika Northern Harṣavardhana (Markandeya), Aṅgalaukika (Vamana), Aṅgalaukika (Brahmanda)
Puleya Western Kulīya (Matsya), Pulinda (Markandeya), Pulīya (Vamana), Pauleya (Brahmanda)
Pulinda Southern
Puṇḍra Eastern Muṇḍa (Vayu), Madra (Markandeya), Pṛsadhra (Vamana)
Rākṣasa (Rakshasa) Southern
Rāmaṭha Northern Māṭhara (Markandeya), Māṭharodha (Vamana)
Rūpasa Western Kūpasa (Vayu), Rūpapa (Markandeya), Rūpaka (Brahmanda)
Sainika Northern Pidika (Vayu), Śūlika (Markandeya), Jhillika (Brahmanda)
Śālva (Shalva) Central
Saraja Vindhyan
Sārasvata Western
Sārika Southern
Surāṣṭra (Surashtra) Western Saurāṣṭra (Matsya)
Sauśalya (Saushalya) Central
Sauvīra Northern
Setuka Southern Śailūṣa (Markandeya), Jānuka (Vamana)
Śabara (Shabara) Southern Bara (Vayu), Śarava (Brahmanda)
Śaka (Shaka) Northern Central in Vamana
Śaśikhādrika (Shashikhadraka) Himalayan
Śatadruja (Shatadruja) Northern Śatadrava (Vamana)
Ṣaṭpura Vindhyan Padgama (Matsya), Ṣaṭsura (Vayu), Paṭava (Markandeya), Bahela (Vamana)
Śulakara (Shulakara) Northern
Śūrpāraka Western Sūrpāraka (Vayu), Sūryāraka (Markandeya), Sūryāraka (Brahmanda)
Sindhu Northern
Sirāla Western Surāla (Vayu), Sumīna (Markandeya), Sinīla (Vamana), Kirāta (Brahmanda)
Śudra (Shudra) Northern Suhya (Brahmanda)
Sujaraka Eastern
Supārśva (Suparshva) Northern
Śūrasena (Shurasena) Central
Taittrika Western Taittirika (Matsya), Turasita (Vayu), Kurumini (Markandeya), Tubhamina (Vamana), Karīti (Brahmanda)
Talagana Northern Talagāna (Matsya), Stanapa (Vayu), Tāvakarāma (Vamana), Tālaśāla (Brahmanda)
Tāmasa Himalayan Chamara (Matsya), Tomara (Vamana), Tāmara (Brahmanda)
Tāmas Western
Tāmralipataka Eastern
Taṅgaṇa Himalayan Apatha (Matsya), Gurguṇa (Markandeya)
Taṅgaṇa Northern Tuṅgana (Markandeya)
Tāpasa Western Svāpada (Markandeya), Tāpaka (Brahmanda)
Tilaṇga Central
Tomara Northern Tāmasa (Markandeya and Vamana)
Tośala (Toshala) Vindhyan
Traipura Vindhyan
Trigarta Himalayan
Tumbara Vindhyan Tumbura (Vayu), Tumbula (Markandeya), Barbara (Brahmanda)
Tumura Vindhyan Tumbura (Markandeya), Turaga (Vamana), Tuhuṇḍa (Brahmanda)
Tuṇḍikera Vindhyan Śauṇḍikera (Matsya), Tuṣṭikāra (Markandeya)
Tūrṇapāda Northern
Tuṣāra (Tushara) Northern Tukhāra (Markandeya)
Udbhida Southern Ulida (Vamana), Kulinda (Brahmanda)
Urṇa Himalayan Huṇa (Vayu)
Utkala Vindhyan Eastern and Central in Brahmanda
Uttamārṇa Vindhyan Uttama (Brahmanda)
Vāhyatodara Northern Girigahvara (Brahmanda)
Vanavāsika Southern Vājivasika (Matsya), Banavāsika (Vayu), Namavāsika (Markandeya), Mahāśaka (Vamana)
Vaṅga Eastern Central and Eastern in Vamana
Vāṅgeya Eastern Mārgavageya (Matsya), Rāṅgeya (Markandeya), Vojñeya (Brahmanda)
Kāśi (Kashi) Central
Vāṭadhāna Northern
Vatsa Central
Vātsīya Western
Vaidarbha Southern
Videha Eastern
Vaidiśa (Vaidisha) Vindhyan Vaidika (Vayu), Kholliśa (Vamana)
Vindhyamūlika Southern Vindhyapuṣika (Matsya), Vindhyaśaileya (Markandeya), Vindhyamaulīya (Brahmanda)
Vītihotra Vindhyan Vīrahotra (Markandeya), Vītahotra (Vamana)
Vṛka Central
Yamaka Eastern
Yavana Northern Gavala (Markandeya)

Sanskrit epics

The Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata mentions around 230 janapadas, while the Ramayana mentions only a few of these. Unlike the Puranas, the Mahabharata does not specify any geographical divisions of ancient India, but does support the classification of certain janapadas as southern or northern.[33]

See also: Category:Kingdoms in the Mahabharata

Buddhist canon

The Buddhist canonical texts - Anguttara Nikaya, Digha Nikaya, Chulla-Niddesa, although with some differences between them, primarily refer to the following 16 mahajanapadas ("great janapadas"):[34]

  1. Anga
  2. Assaka
  3. Avanti
  4. Chetiya
  5. Gandhara
  6. Kamboja
  7. Kashi
  8. Kosala
  9. Kuru
  10. Machchha
  11. Magadha
  12. Malla
  13. Panchala
  14. Surasena
  15. Vajji (Bajji or Vṛji)
  16. Vamsha (Vatsa)

Jain text

The Jain text Vyākhyāprajñapti or Bhagavati Sutra also mentions 16 important janapadas, but many names differ from the ones mentioned in the Buddhist texts.[34]

  1. Accha
  2. Anga
  3. Avaha
  4. Bajji (Vajji or Vrijji)
  5. Banga (Vanga)
  6. Kasi (Kashi)
  7. Kochcha
  8. Kosala
  9. Ladha (Lata)
  10. Magadha
  11. Malavaka
  12. Malaya
  13. Moli (Malla)
  14. Padha
  15. Sambhuttara
  16. Vaccha (Vatsa)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Misra 1973, p. 18.
  2. ^ Charles Rockwell Lanman (1912), A Sanskrit reader: with vocabulary and notes, Boston: Ginn & Co., ... jána, m. creature; man; person; in plural, and collectively in singular, folks; a people or race or tribe ... cf. γένος, Lat. genus, Eng. kin, 'race' ...
  3. ^ Stephen Potter, Laurens Christopher Sargent (1974), Pedigree: the origins of words from nature, Taplinger, ISBN 9780800862480, ... *gen-, found in Skt. jana, 'a man', and Gk. genos and L. genus, 'a race' ...
  4. ^ Dunkel, George (2002). "Vedic janapada and Ionic andrapodon; with notes on Vedic drupadam and IE pedom "place" and "fetter"". Indo-European Perspectives (ed. M. R. V. Southern) (Monograph). Journal of Indo-European Studies.
  5. ^ Witzel 1995.
  6. ^ Misra 1973, p. 15.
  7. ^ Misra 1973, pp. 7–11.
  8. ^ Misra 1973, p. 12.
  9. ^ Misra 1973, p. 13.
  10. ^ a b Misra 1973, p. 14.
  11. ^ Misra 1973, pp. 15–16.
  12. ^ D. R. Bhandarkar (1994). Lectures on the Ancient History of India from 650 - 325 B. C. Asian Educational Services. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-81-206-0124-6.
  13. ^ Devendrakumar Rajaram Patil (1946). Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-81-208-2085-2.
  14. ^ Sudāmā Miśra (1973). Janapada state in ancient India. Bhāratīya Vidyā Prakāśana.
  15. ^ Śrīrāma Goyala (1994). The Coinage of Ancient India. Kusumanjali Prakashan.
  16. ^ Misra 1973, p. 17.
  17. ^ a b Misra 1973, p. 19.
  18. ^ ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ a b Ram Sharan Sharma (1991). Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 242. ISBN 9788120808270.
  20. ^ Dinesh Kumar Ojha (2006). Interpretations of Ancient Indian Polity: A Historiographical Study. Manish Prakashan. p. 160. ISBN 9788190246965.
  21. ^ Misra 1973, p. 20.
  22. ^ a b Anant Sadashiv Altekar (1949). State and Government in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 151–153. ISBN 9788120810099.
  23. ^ Rohan Dua. "India's largest known burial site is 3,800 yrs old, confirms carbon dating". The Times of India.
  24. ^ Rohan Dua (22 February 2020). "India's largest known burial site is 3,800 yrs old, confirms carbon dating". The Times of India.
  25. ^ The Geographical knowledge. 1971.
  26. ^ Knipe 2015, p. 234-5.
  27. ^ Asim Kumar Chatterji (1980). Political History of Pre-Buddhist India. Indian Publicity Society.
  28. ^ Millard Fuller. "(अंगिका) Language : The Voice of Anga Desh". Angika.
  29. ^ Misra 1973, p. 24.
  30. ^ Misra 1973, p. 304-305.
  31. ^ Misra 1973, p. 45.
  32. ^ Misra 1973, p. 306-321.
  33. ^ Misra 1973, p. 99.
  34. ^ a b Misra 1973, p. 2.