Pragjyotisha Kingdom
A scene involving king Naraka
A scene involving king Naraka

Pragjyotisha is a mythological kingdom that is mentioned in a multitude of Hindu epics. It came to be associated with the historical Kamarupa[1] after Bhaskaravarman of the Varman dynasty by drawing his lineage from Naraka/Bhagadatta of the legendary Pragjyotisha to bring his peripheral kingdom closer to mainland traditions at a time when he was emerging as a powerful king with interests in North India.[2] The identification with the mythical Naraka/Bhagadatta lineage continued to be used by the Mlechchhas and Palas for roughly similar purposes.[3]


All early references do not locate Pragjyotisha in or around Kamarupa in Northeast India.[4] The first mentions of this kingdom are found in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, in sections not written much earlier than the first century.[5] In the Kishkindha Kanda of the former, Pragjyotisha is placed in the west near Mount Varaha on the sea.[6] In Aswamedha-Parva of the latter, Arjuna defeated Vajradatta of Pragjyotisha in a three-day battle near Punjab in the Lower Indus Valley;[7] the Harivamsa Parva features multiple mentions as well.[8][9] The kingdom was contemporary of Bana kingdom.

Popular culture

A popular mythical narrative claims that Jyotisha is the sanskritised form of Zuhthis, who were (apparently) the first migrants to Assam from China — this has little historical evidence in support.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Shin 2018, p. 34.
  2. ^ "Considering the historical content of the seventh century Kāmarūpa, especially during the reign of Bhāskarvarman when the Varmans was ascending to one of the important powers in north India, it appears that they projected Kāmarūpa on a larger geopolitical map by combining it with Prājyotisa, the Epic kingdom. In other words, Prājyotisa was retrieved from the ancient Epic past by the aspirant local kingship to overcome this peripherality. An elusive mythical space was brought into the actual geography of Kāmarūpa" (Shin 2018, p. 38)
  3. ^ Shin 2018, pp. 38–40.
  4. ^ (Shin 2018, p. 40)
  5. ^ "...the passages in questions may not be much earlier than the first century." (Sircar 1990, p. 81)
  6. ^ (Sircar 1990, p. 81)
  7. ^ (Sircar 1990, p. 81)
  8. ^ (Sax 2002, p. 77)
  9. ^ (Brodbeck 2019)
  10. ^ (Banerjee 2010, p. 89)


  • Sircar, D C (1990), Barpujari, H K (ed.), The Comprehensive History of Assam, vol. I, Guwahati: Publication Board, Assam, pp. 79–93
  • Shin, Jae-Eun (2018), "Region Formed and Imagined: Reconsidering temporal, spatial and social context of Kamarupa", in Dzüvichü, Lipokmar; Baruah, Manjeet (eds.), Modern Practices in North East India: History, Culture, Representation, London & New York: Routledge, pp. 23–55
  • Sax, William S. (2002). "Hunting the Rhinoceros". Dancing the Self : Personhood and Performance in the Pandav Lila of Garhwal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195139143.
  • Banerjee, Paula (2010). Borders, Histories, Existences: Gender and Beyond. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9788132102267.
  • Brodbeck, Simon (2019). Krishna's Lineage : The Harivamsha of Vyasa's Mahabharata. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190279172.
  • Misra, Sanghamitra (2011). "Histories, Memories, and Identities". Becoming a Borderland : The Politics of Space and Identity in Colonial Northeastern India. Transition in Northeastern India. Routledge. ISBN 9780415612531.