Name of MahajanapadasCapital
MagadhaRajagriha (later shifted to Pataliputra)
KosalaShravasti (northern), Kushavati (southern)
PanchalaAhichchhatra and Kampilya
AvantiUjjaini or Mahishmati
MallaKushinagar and Pava
Republic Mahajanapadas/ GanasCapital
PanchalAhichchhatra and Kampilya
MallaKushinagar and Pava
16 Mahajanapadas Name with Capital
MahajanapadasPresent Location
AngaMunger and Bhagalpur
MagadhaGaya and Patna
KosalaEastern Uttar Pradesh
ShurasenaWestern Uttar Pradesh
PanchalaWestern Uttar Pradesh
KuruMeerut and Southeastern Haryana
ChediBundelkhand region
AvantiMalwa and Madhya Pradesh
KambojaRajouri and Hajra (Kashmir), NWFP (Pakistan)
Asmaka or AssakaBanks of Godavari
MallaDeoria and Uttar Pradesh
16 Mahajanapadas
16 MahajanapadasFacts about 16 Mahajanapadas
AngaThe Atharva Veda and the Mahabharata both make mention of Anga Mahajanapada, which was conquered by the Magadha Empire under Bimbisara. It is located in West Bengal and Bihar today. Its capital, Champa, was situated where the Ganga and Champa rivers converged. It was a significant commercial hub on the trade routes, from which merchant ships travelled to Suvarnabhumi (South East Asia).
MagadhaMagadha, which was separated from Anga by the Champa River and was situated in modern-day Bihar, is mentioned in the Atharva Veda. Later, Rajagriha hosted the first Buddhist Council, and Magadha developed into a centre for Jainism.
Kasi/KashiIt was situated in Varanasi, and according to the Matsya Purana, the rivers Varuna and Asi are responsible for the city’s name. Kosala took Kasi hostage.
VatsaLocated on the Yamuna River’s banks, Vatsa—also known as Vamsa—was a Mahajanapada that utilised the monarchical system of government. The capital was called Kausambi or Kaushambi (which was at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna). In the sixth century, trade and business flourished in this important economic hub. After Buddha’s ascent, king Udayana declared Buddhism to be the official religion.
KosalaIt was situated in the present-day Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh, which also included Ayodhya, a significant Ramayana-related city. The Sakyas of Kapilavastu’s tribal republican territory were also a part of Kosala. The birthplace of Gautama Buddha is Lumbini in Kapilavastu; a significant monarch is Prasenajit, a Buddha-era ruler.
ShurasenaAt the time of Megasthenes, this location was a hub for Krishna worship, however, there was also a strong presence of Buddhist adherents. Awantipura, a significant monarch (Disciple of Buddha). Mathura, the nation’s capital, was located along the Yamuna.
PanchalaAhichchatra (modern Bareilly), the capital of northern Panchala, and Kampilya (modern Farrukhabad), the capital of southern Panchala. In the Panchala Kingdom was the well-known city of Kannauj. Later, the republican government replaced monarchy as the dominant form of government.
KuruKuru Mahajanapada is said to have originated in the region surrounding Kurukshetra, where it transitioned to a republican system of government. The Mahabharata, an epic poem, describes a war between two branches of the ruling Kuru clan.
MatsyaThe capital was at Viratanagara, it was located south of the Kurus and west of the Panchalas (modern Bairat). It is located in the Rajasthan region, close to the modern cities of Jaipur, Alwar, and Bharatpur. The creator was Virata.
ChediThis is referenced in the Rigveda. Sothivati/Shuktimati/Sotthivatinagara was the name of the capital. It is situated in the Bundelkhand area of today (Central India). Shishupala was king. During the Rajasuya sacrifice of the Pandava king Yudhishthira, he was slain by Vasudeva Krishna.
AvantiAvanti played a significant role in the development of Buddhism. Its capital was situated in Ujjaini (in the northern section) and Mahismati (southern part). It was located near what is now Madhya Pradesh and Malwa. Pradyota, a significant monarch.
GandharaThe city’s seat was at Taxila (Takshashila). Gandhara is mentioned in the Atharva Veda; it is currently located in the Kashmir valley, modern Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Gandhara was conquered by the Persians in the latter half of the sixth century BCE. It was significant for international commercial activities. The people were well-trained in the art of war. There was an important king named Pushkarasarin.
KambojaPoonch, the former capital of Kamboja, is located in the Hindukush and Kashmir regions of today. The Kamboja Republic is mentioned in a number of literary texts. Horses in Kambojas were of exceptional quality.
Asmaka or AssakaIt was the only Mahajanapada in Dakshinapatha to be found south of the Vindhya Range, and it was situated on the banks of the Godavari. It includes the Pratisthan or Paithan region.
VajjiThere were eight clans in the state of the Vajjis, the most powerful of which were the Lichchhavis (capital: Vaishali), Videhans (capital: Mithila), and Jnatrikas (based in Kundapura). Ajatashatru conquered the Vajjis, and Mahavira belonged to the Jnatrikas clan.
MallaIt is mentioned in Buddhist, Jain, and Mahabharata scriptures, and Malla was a republic. It had two capitals, Kusinara and Pava, both of which are significant in the history of Buddhism. Its territory reached the northern border of the Vajji state. At Pava, the Buddha consumed his final meal before departing for Mahaparinirvana at Kusinara.

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