Nanda dynasty (344 – 323 BC) [GK Notes]

The Nandas were the successors of Shishunaga dynasty. The Nanda Empire extended to Bengal in the east, Punjab in the west and the Vindhya Mountains in the south. Nanda was famous for their immense wealth.

Nanda Empire important General knowledge and notes for all competitive job exams as well as for students in secondary and higher secondary levels are provided here with considering point to point information. This note is useful for UPSC, SSC, Railway, PSC, WBCS, and other government job exams.

According to Dr. Radha Kumud Bandyopadhyay, “Mahapadma Nanda was the first great historical emperor of northern India.”

Dr. Radhakumud Bandyopadhyay

Important Points of the Nanda Dynasty:

Mahabodhivamsa lists nine Nanda kings: Mahapadma Nanda, Panduka, Pandugati, Bhutpala, Rashtrapala, Gobishanka, Dashasiddhaka, kaybarta, and Dhana Nanda.

Mahapadma Nanda

  • Mahapadma Nanda defeated the Shishunaga dynasty and introduced the Nanda dynasty in Magadha. It lasted from 345 BC to 321 BC.
  • It is believed that Mahapadma Nanda, the founder of the Nanda Empire, was a low caste person. He was the son of Kshatriya king Mahanandin of the Shishunaga dynasty. his mother was a Shudra woman.
  • Mahapadma Nanda took the title of Sarvakshatrantaka and Ugrasena. In the Puranas, Mahapadma Nanda is also called Ekarat. In many places, he is also called the first emperor of India. Mahapadma Nanda has been described as the ‘destroyer of all the Kshatriyas‘.
  • He occupied many states including Panchal, Varanasi, Kalinga. They ruled the empire with the help of several ministers.
  • In Kalinga, he built an irrigation canals.

Dhana Nanda

  • After Mahapadma Nanda, his eight sons ascended the throne. However, the most notable among them was the younger son Dhana Nanda.
  • Dhana Nanda was a follower of Jain religion. Pataliputra was the capital of Dhana Nanda.
  • In Greek literature, Dhana Nanda was called Agrames.
  • According to the Greek writer Cartius, Dhanananda had a large army. He had 20,000 – Equestrian, 200,000 – Infantry, 2,000 – chariot and 3,000 trained elephants.
  • Dhana Nanda was the last ruler of the Nanda dynasty. During the reign of Dhanananda, Alexander invaded India.
  • Alexander the Great conquered India during his reign, but because of Nanda’s large army, he did not dare to invade Magadha.
  • Dhana Nanda imposed huge taxes on the people to meet the expenses of this huge army and was notorious as an oppressive king in history.
  • Nandas lost popularity due to economic oppression and that is the reason for the revolt. In this revolt, Chandragupta Maurya overthrew the last Nanda ruler through Chanakya. Maurya king Chandragupta Maurya defeated Dhana Nanda and started the Maurya dynasty in Magadha.

Alexander’s invasion of India:

In the 4th century BC, King Alexander of Macedonia set out to conquer the world. Under Alexander the Great, Macedonia destroyed the Persian Empire. He invaded India in 326 BC and initially occupied the North-West Frontier Province and Kabul. Alexander subjugated the other ruler except for king Puru. Alexander the Great defeated Puru in the Battle of Hidaspis in 326 BC. But impressed by Puru’s heroism, Alexander returned him to his kingdom.

Alexander’s army then refused to advance on the banks of the Beas River. Alexander returned in 325 BC, administering the territories he had conquered. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, at the age of 33. As a result of Alexander’s invasion of India, the communication via the ocean between India and Europe increased. The rulers of India also felt the need to restructure the army.

Questions Answers from Nanda Dynasty:

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