Haryanka Dynasty

King Bimbisara of the Haryanka dynasty was a contemporary of Lord Buddha. As he ascended the throne (545 B.C.), Magadha started getting stronger and prosperous. He brought glory to Magadha by conquering other lands and by wedding into other dynasties. Bimbisara defeated Brahmadatta, the Anga king, and annexed his kingdom. The expansion of Magadha which started with the annexation of Anga ended with the conquest of Kalinga by Ashoka. Bimbisara married Kosala devi, sister of the Kosalan king Prasenajit, and obtained a portion of Kasi as dowry. He also married Chellana, the Lichchavi princess of Vaishali, Vasavi, the Videha princess and the Madra princess, Khema, thus increasing Magadha’s powers by marital ties.

Ajatasatru, Bimbisara’s son, killed him to ascend the throne in 493 B.C. As a result, Kosalan king Prasenjit revoked the gift of Kasi village made to Bimbisara. This brought about a war between Magadha and Kosala. The war ended in a truce. Ajatasatru got back Kasi and married Prasenajit’s daughter, Vajira Kumari. After 16 years-long battle with the Lichchavis, he conquered Vaishali. Kosala too, fell to him. Gradually, the whole of north Bihar came under his control and Magadha held its sway over Eastern India.

Ajatasatru was succeeded by his son, Udayabhadra (459 B.C). He shifted the capital to Pataliputra at the confluence of the Ganges and the Sone rivers. Later Pataliputra became the capital of India. A succession of three weak kings, Anuruddha, Munda and Nagadasaka ascended the throne after him.

In 430 B.C., the last Haryanka ruler, Nagadasaka, was killed by his courtier, Sisunaga, who became the king and founded the Sisunaga dynasty. He further strengthened Magadha by annexing Avanti and Vatsa and turned Magadha into the most powerful kingdom in north India. He was succeeded by his son Kalashoka. He was assassinated by Mahapadma Nanda.

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