In Jainism, a Tīrthaṅkara   is a human being who helps in achieving liberation and enlightenment as an "Arihant" by destroying all of their soul constraining (ghati) karmas, became a role-model and leader for those seeking spiritual guidance.  Tirthankaras revitalize Jain Society by organisation of fourfold Jain Order consisting of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.  Not all Arihants can become Tīrthaṅkaras. There are 24 Tīrthaṅkaras in this time era and each of them revitalized the Jain Order.
Tirthankara is also said to mean “full moon,” a metaphorical reference to Kevala Jnana, the spiritual state achieved by exalted and rare beings. Keval Gnan is a state of permanent, perpetual, absolute knowledge of the Soul; it is the precursor to moksha, final liberation from samsara, the cycle of birth and death.

Tīrthaṅkaras religious teaching form the basis for Jain canons. The inner knowledge of all Tīrthaṅkaras is perfect and identical in every respect and their teachings do not contradict one another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of the society during their period of leadership. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind of the society, the lower the elaboration required.
While Tirthankaras are documented and revered by those of Jain faith, their grace is said to be available to all living beings, regardless of religious orientation. However, today, there is some sort of conflict about whether or not all Jains believe in the idea of being available to all living thing in the agriculture. Page text.  
Tirthankaras dwell exclusively within the realm of their Soul, and are entirely free of kashayas, inner passions, and all personal desires. As a result of this, unlimited siddhis, spiritual powers, are readily available to them – which they use exclusively for the spiritual elevation of all living beings. Through their darshan, divine vision, and deshna, divine speech, they grant their own state of Keval Gnan, and moksha, final liberation to anyone seeking it sincerely.
At the end of his human life-span, a Tīrthaṅkara achieves siddha status, ending the cycle of infinite births and deaths.
Jainism postulates that time has no beginning or end. It moves like the wheel of a cart. Jains believe that exactly twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras are born in each half-cycle of time in this part of the universe. The first Tīrthaṅkara is Rishabha, who is credited for formulating and organising humans to live in a society harmoniously. The 24th and last Tīrthaṅkara was Mahavira (599-527 BC). Digambara Jains believe that all twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras were men, but Svetambara Jains believe that the 19th Tīrthaṅkara, Mallinath, was a woman.
Tīrthaṅkara images are usually seated with their legs crossed in front, the toes of one foot resting close upon the knee of the other, and the right hand lying over the left in the lap. 
All but two of the Jains are ascribed to the Ikshvaku dynasty. Munisuvrata, the twentieth, and Neminatha, the twenty-second, were of the Harivamsa. Jain canons state that Rishabha, the first Tīrthaṅkara, founded the Ikshvaku.
Twenty Tīrthaṅkaras achieved siddha status on Shikharji. Vasupujya attained nirvana at Champapuri in North Bengal; Neminatha on Girnar in Gujarat; and Mahavira, the last at Pawapuri, near modern Bihar's capital, Patna.
Twenty-one of the Tīrthaṅkaras are said to have attained moksha in the kayotsarga (standing meditation) posture, while Rishabha, Nemi and Mahavira are said to have attained moksha in the lotus position.

List of the 24 Tīrthaṅkaras

In chronological order, the names, signs, colors etc. of the 24 Tīrthaṅkaras of this age are mentioned belo

1. Rishabha.    2.Rishabha.  3.Sambhavanath.    4.Abhinandannath.        5.Sumatinath. 6.Padmaprabha.       7.Suparshvanath.   8.Chandraprabha.   9.Suvidhinath.  10.Sheetalnath. 11.Shreyansanath.  12.Vasupujya.    13. Vimalnath.    14.Anantnath. 15. Dharmanath.
16. Shantinath.     17 Kunthunath.    18Aranath.    19 Mallinath.     20 Munisuvrata.            
21 Nami Natha.  22 Neminatha.    23 Parshva.  24 Mahavira


Mahāvīra   is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna  (traditionally 599–527 BCE ) who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan. He is also known in texts as Vira or ViraprabhuSanmatiAtivira,and Gnatputra. In the Buddhist Pali Canon, he is referred to as Nigantha Nātaputta and Gyatra Putta. Mahavira thought that men and women who wished to know the truth must leave their homes and follow the rules of ahimsa which means not hurting or killing living beings.
In a place called Kundalagrama (Modern Hajipur Vaishali district) situated close to Besadha Patti, 27 miles from Patna in modern day Bihar, India, Mahavira was born in a royal family to King Siddartha and Queen Trishala on the 13th day under the rising moon of Chaitra (12 April according to theGregorian calendar). While still in his mother's womb it is believed he brought wealth and prosperity to the entire kingdom, which is why he was named Vardhaman. An increase of all good things, like the abundant bloom of beautiful flowers, was noticed in the kingdom after his conception. Trishala had a number of auspicious dreams before giving birth to Vardhaman (14 according to the Svetambaras and 16 according to theDigambaras), signs foretelling the advent of a great soul. Vardhaman's birthday is celebrated as Mahavir Janma kalyanak, the most important religious holiday of Jains around the world.
As King Siddhartha's son, he lived as a prince. However, even at that tender age he exhibited a virtuous nature. He started engaging in meditation and immersed himself in self-contemplation. He was interested in the core beliefs of Jainism and began to distance himself from the world.
At the age of twenty,Mahavira renounced his kingdom and family, gave up his worldly possessions, and spent twelve years as an ascetic. During these twelve years he spent most of his time meditating. He gave utmost regard to other living beings, including humans, animals and plants, and avoided harming them. He had given up all worldly possessions including his clothes, and lived an extremely austere life. He exhibited exemplary control over his senses while enduring the penance during these years. His courage and bravery earned him the name Mahavira. These were the golden years of his spiritual journey at the end of which he achieved arihant status.

Vardhaman spent 12.5 years in deep meditation and self control. This course of penance’s comprehended ‘uninterrupted meditation, unbroken chastity, and the most scrupulous observance of the rules concerning eating and drinking.’ The account of his spiritual practices given in the Acharanga Sutra is literally soul -stirring.
He meditated day and night, undisturbed and non-perturbed. Avoiding women and giving up the company of householders, he realized singleness. He lodged in workshops, assembling places, manufactories, shed of straw, towns, garden-houses, in cemeteries and burial grounds, or at the foot of a tree, wherever shelter was available. He did not care for sleep for the sake of pleasure and he slept only for 3 hours in his 12.5 years of spiritual pursuit. In winter when cold winds blew, he did not seek sheltered places or kindle wood or seek to cover himself with clothes. In the cold season he meditated in the shade, in summer he exposed himself to the heat.
He would meditate with his eyes fixed on a square space before him of the length of a man or in some of the posture without the smallest motion. While meditating he would concentrate on the things above, below, or beside. He meditated free from sin and desire, not attached to sounds or colours, and never acted carelessly. Being averse from the impressions of the senses, he spoke very little and was always calm.
‘Thoroughly knowing the earth-bodies and water-bodies and fire-bodies and wind-bodies, the lichens, seeds and sprouts’ and comprehending ‘that they are, if narrowly inspected, imbued with life’, he avoided all kinds of sin and abstained from all sinful activities. He did not use other’s robe, nor did he eat out of other’s vessel. He did not rub his eyes or scratch his body. Knowing measure in eating and drinking he was not desirous of delicious food, nor had he a longing for it.’ For more than a couple of years he led a religious life without using cold water. He completely abstained from indulgence of the flesh; whether wounded or not, he took no medical treatment. He lived on rough food-rice, pounded jujube and beans. Sometimes he ate stale food. He accepted moist or dry or cold food, old beans, old pap, or bad grain, whatever was available. But where there were hungry birds, animals or thirsty beings or beggars standing in his way, he would go past that place without begging alms. He kept fasts; sometimes he ate only the sixth meal, or the eighth, or the tenth, or the twelfth; sometimes he did not drink for half a month or even for a month or for more than two months or even six months.
In accordance with the rules of the order he wandered about unceasingly, except for the four months of the rainy season. During the rest of the year, he lived in villages only a single night and in towns only five nights. He was indifferent alike to the smell of ordure and the sweet scent of sandal, to straw and jewel, dirt and gold, pleasure and pain, his world and the world beyond, to life and death. His mind was completely free from attachment. Circumspect in his thought, words and acts, he moved without wrath, pride, deceit and greed. Like water in a vessel, he was unattached in the midst of sin. During the course of his travels, he visited the pathless country of the Ladhas, in Vajrabhumi and in Subbhabhumi; and here his troubles were endless. The rude natives of the place attacked him and set dogs to bite him. He endured the abusive language of the rustics and bore pain, free from desire. “When he approached the village the inhabitants met him on the outside and attacked him, saying ‘Get away from here’. He was struck with a stick, the fist, a lance, hit with a fruit, a clod a potsherd. Beating him again and again many cried. Once when he sat in meditation, without moving his body they cut his flesh, tore his hair under pains, or covered him with dust. They disturbed him in his religious postures”. But like a hero at the head of a battle, bearing all hardships he reached on his path wholly undisturbed."
It was the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakh. Twelve years five months and fifteen days had passed since the beginning of Mahavira’s spiritual practices. Lord Mahavir sat in mediation under a Shala tree in a garden on the back of the river Rijuvaluka (river Barakar in modern times). Sitting on both feet with knees touching his chest, he was feeling calm even in the scorching summer sun. Focusing all his physical, mental and spiritual energies he was engrossed in deep and pure meditation (shukla dhyana). Gradually the sun was setting in the west and within him the sun of omniscience was rising. He became omniscient or, or Arihanta. He became a Jina, the victorious over attachment and aversion. At that time he was 42 years of age.
Lord Mahavira’s attainment of Absolute Knowledge or Omniscience is mentioned in the Kalpasutra as below:
"During the thirteenth year, in the second month of summer, in the fourth fortnight, the light (fortnight) of Vaisakha, on its tenth day, when the shadow had turned towards the east and the first wake was over, on the day called Suvrata, in the Muhurta called Vigaya, outside of the town Grimbhikagrama on the bank of the river Rjupalika, not far from an old temple, in the field of the householder Samaga(shyamak), under a Sal tree, when the moon was in conjunction with the asterism Uttaraphalguni, (the Venerable One) in a squatting position with joined heels, exposing himself to the heat of the sun, after fasting two and a half days without drinking water, being engaged in deep meditation, reached the highest knowledge and intuition, called Kevala, which is infinite, supreme, unobstructed, unimpeded, complete, and full.” “He knew and saw all conditions of the worlds, of celestial beings, men and animals and hellish beings; whence they came, whither they are born as men or animals or became celestial beings or hellish beings, the ideas, the thoughts of their mind, the food, doings, desires, the open and secret deeds of all the livings in the whole world; the Arhat, for whom there is no secret, knew and saw all conditions of all living beings in the world, what they thought, spoke, or did at any time.”

Various literatures indicate the fact that Jamui was known as Jambhiyaagram. According to Jainism, the 24th Tirthankar lord Mahavir got divine knowledge in Jambhiyagram situated on the bank of river named Ujjihuvaliya. Another place of a divine light of Lord Mahavir was also traced as 
"Jrimbhikgram "on the bank of Rijuvalika river which resembles Jambhiyagram Ujjhuvaliya.
The Hindi translation of the words Jambhiya and Jrimbhikgram is Jamuhi which is developed in the recent time as Jamui. With the passage of time, the river Ujhuvaliya /Rijuvalika is supposed to be deoveloped as the river Ulai river is still flowing nearby Jamui. The old name of Jamui has been traced as Jambhubani in a copper plate which is kept in Patna Museum. This plate clarifies that in the 12th century, Jambudani was nothing but today's Jamui. Thus, the two ancient names as Jambhiyagram and Jambubani prove that this district was important as a religious place for Jains and it was also a place of Gupta dynasty in the 19th century. The historian Buchanan also visited this place in 1811 and found the historical facts. According to other historians Jamui was also famous in the era of Mahabharata.
According to available literature, Jamui was related to Gupta and Pala rulers before 12th century. But after that this place became famous for Chandel rulers. Prior to Chandel Raj, this place was ruled by Nigoria, who was defeated by Chandels and the dynasty of Chandels founded in 13th century. The kingdom of Chandels spread over the whole of Jamui. Thus Jamui has a glorious history.
Mahavira devoted the rest of his life to preaching the eternal truth of spiritual freedom to people around India. He traveled barefoot and without clothes, enduring harshest of climates, meeting people from all walks of life who came to listen to his message. Mahavira's preaching and efforts to explain Jain philosophy is considered the real catalyst to the spread of this ancient religion throughout India.
At the age of 72 years and 4 and a half months, he attained nirvana in the area known as Pawapuri on the last day of the Indian and Jain calendarsDiwali. Jains celebrate this as the day he attained liberation or moksa. Jains believe Mahavira lived from 599–527 BCE, though some scholars prefer 549–477 BCE.
Mahavira's philosophy has eight cardinal principles – three metaphysical and five ethical. The objective is to elevate the quality of life.  
Mahavira preached that from eternity, every living being (soul) is in bondage to karmic atoms accumulated by good or bad deeds. In a state of karmic delusion, the individual seeks temporary and illusory pleasure in material possessions, which are the root causes of self-centered violent thoughts and deeds as well as anger, hatred, greed, and other vices. These result in further accumulation of karma.
To liberate one's self, Mahavira taught the necessity of right faith (samyak-darshana), right knowledge (samyak-gyana), and right conduct (samyak-charitra'). At the heart of right conduct for Jains lie the five great vows:
  • Nonviolence (Ahimsa) – to cause no harm to any living being;
  • Truthfulness (Satya) – to speak the harmless truth only;
  • Non-stealing (Asteya) – to take nothing not properly given;
  • Chastity (Bramacharya) – to indulge in no sensual pleasure;
  • Non-possession/Non-attachment (Aparigraha) – to detach completely from people, places, and material things.
These vows cannot be fully implemented without accepting the philosophy of non-absolutism (anekantavada) and the theory of relativity (syādvāda, also translated "qualified prediction"). Monks and nuns adhere strictly to these vows, while the laypeople observe them as best they can.
Mahavira taught that men and women are spiritual equals and that both may renounce the world in search of moksha or ultimate happiness.
Mahavira attracted people from all walks of life, rich and poor, men and women, touchable and untouchable. He organized his followers into a fourfold order; monk (sādhu), nun (sādhvī), layman (Śrāvaka), and laywoman (Śrāvikā). This order is known as Chaturvidh Jain Sangha.
Mahavira's sermons were preserved orally by his immediate disciples known as Ganadharas in the Jain Agamas. Through time many Agama Sutrashave been lost, destroyed, or modified. About one thousand years after Mahavira's time the Agama Sutras were recorded on palm leaf paper. Svetambaras accept these sutras as authentic teachings while Digambaras use them as a reference.
Jainism existed before Mahavira, and his teachings were based on those of his predecessors. Thus Mahavira was a reformer and propagator of an existing religion, rather than the founder of a new faith. He followed the well established creed of his predecessor Tirthankara Parshva. However, Mahavira did reorganize the philosophical tenets of Jainism to correspond to his times.
A few centuries after Mahavira's Nirvana, the religious order grew more and more complex. There were schisms on minor points, although they did not affect Mahavira's original doctrines. Later generations saw the introduction of rituals and complexities that some criticize as placing Mahavira and other Tirthankaras on the throne similar to those of Hindu deities.
Mahavira’s previous births are discussed in many Jain texts like Trisastisalakapurusa Charitra and Uttarapurana. While a soul undergoes countless reincarnations in transmigratory cycle ofsamsara, the births of a Tirthankara are reckoned from the time he secures samyaktva or Tirthankar-nam-and-gotra-karma. Jain texts discuss 26 births of Mahavira prior to his incarnation as a Tirthankara.  They are: 
  1. Nayasara – A village headman who secured or partial enlightenment in this birth on account of preaching of true dharma by Jain monks. 
  2. Demi-god in First Saudharma (Name of Heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  3. Prince Marichi – Grandson of Rishabha, the first Tirthankara.
  4. Demi-god in Fifth Brahma (Name of heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  5. Kaushika – A Brahmin
  6. Pushyamitra – A Brahmin
  7. Demi-god in First Saudharma
  8. Agnidyota – A Brahmin
  9. Demi-god in Second Ishana (Name of heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  10. Agnibhuti – A Brahmin
  11. Demi-god in Third Saudharma
  12. Bharadwaja – A Brahmin
  13. Demi-god in Fourth Mahendra (Name of Heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  14. Sthavira – A Brahmin
  15. Demi-god in Fifth Brahma
  16. Prince Vishvabhuti
  17. Demi-god in Seventh Mahashukra (Name of heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  18. Triprishtha Vasudeva – First Vasudeva of this half-time-cycle
  19. Naraka in the seventh hell
  20. A lion
  21. Naraka in the fourth hell
  22. A human being (Prince Vimal)
  23. Priyamitra – A Chakvartin (The universal ruler of seven continents)
  24. Demi-god in Seventh Mahashukra (Name of heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  25. Prince Nandana – Accepted the vow of self-control and gained Tirthankara nama karma.
  26. Demi-god in tenth Pranata (Name of heaven as per Jain cosmology)
  27. Vardhamana Mahavira (The final birth)

Nanda Empire

The Nanda Empire originated from the region of Magadha in ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range.  The Nanda Empire was later conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Maurya Empire.
Mahapadma Nanda, who has been described as "the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas", defeated the Panchalas, Kasis, Haihayas, Kalingas, Asmakas, Kurus, Maithilas, Surasenas and the Vitihotras; to name a few . . He expanded his territory south of the Deccanplains. Mahapadma Nanda, who died at the age of 88, was the ruler of the Nanda dynasty for all but 12 of the dynasty's 100 years. The Nandas who usurped the throne of the Shishunaga dynasty were thought to be of low origin with some sources stating that the dynasty's founder, Mahapadma, was the son of a Shudra .
The Nandas are sometimes described as the first empire builders in the recorded history of India. They inherited the large kingdom ofMagadha and wished to extend it to yet more distant frontiers. To this purpose they built up a vast army, consisting of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 war chariots and 3,000 war elephants (at the lowest estimates). According to Plutarch however, the size of the Nanda army was even larger, numbering 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8,000 war chariots, and 6,000 war elephants. However, the Nandas never had the opportunity to see their army up against Alexander, who invaded India at the time of Dhana Nanda, since Alexander had to confine his campaign to the plains of Punjab, for his forces, frightened by the prospect of facing a formidable foe, mutinied at the Hyphasis River (the modernBeas River) refusing to march any further. This river thus marks the eastern-most extent of Alexander's conquests.
Mahapadma Nanda (450–362 BCE) was the first king of the Nanda dynasty. He was the son of Mahanandin, a Kshatriya father , with a Kshatriya wife from the Shishunaga dynasty. Sons of Mahanandin from his other wives opposed the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, on which he eliminated all of them to claim the throne. The Nandas, under Mahapadma Nanda, established the first great North Indian empire with its political centre in Magadha, which would in the following years lead to the largest empire in ancient India, to be built by the Mauryas. Mahapadma Nanda vanquished the old dynasties of North, not as was customary, to extract tribute from them and to be recognized as the most powerful, the samrat or the chakravartin, but rather in order to dethrone them and declare himself as an "ekachhatra", the only emperor in the entire land. The collapse of the old Kshatriya dynasties under the rigorous power politics of Mahapadma Nanda, who is explicitly denigrated as the son of a Shudra, and the support extended to followers of non-Vedic philosophies, all has been described as negative signs in the Puranas, which prophecized Mahapadma Nanda's rise as a mark of Kali Yuga. He died at 88 years old. His sons did not prove capable of retaining power, and were soon overthrown by Chandragupta Maurya. The Indologist F. E. Pargiter dated Nanda's coronation to 382 BCE, and R. K. Mookerji dated it to 364 BCE.  His kingdom annexed parts of Kalinga, central IndiaAnga, and the upper Ganges Valley. He was the first Shudra king of Magadha.

Shishunaga dynasty

The Shishunaga dynasty is believed to have been the third ruling dynasty of Magadha, a kingdom in ancient India. But according to thePuranas, this dynasty is the second ruling dynasty of Magadha, which succeeded the Barhadratha dynasty. 
Shishunaga, the founder of this dynasty was initially an amatya (minister) of the last Haryanka dynasty ruler Nagadasaka and ascended to the thone after a popular rebellion in c. 413 BCE.  The capital of this dynasty initially was Rajagriha, but later shifted to Pataliputra, near the present day Patna during the reign of Kakavarna. According to tradition, Kakavarna was succeeded by his ten sons.  This dynasty was succeeded by the Nanda dynasty in c.345 BCE.
Shishunaga (or Shusunaga) (c. 413 – 395 BCE ) was the founder of the Shishunaga dynasty of the Magadha Empire in the present day northern India. Initially, he was an amatya (official) of the Magadha empire under the Haryanka dynasty. He was placed on the throne by the people who revolted against the Haryanka dynasty rule. The Puranas tell us  that he placed his son atVaranasi and himself ruled from Girivraja (Rajagriha). He was succeeded by his son Kakavarna Kalashoka

According to the Mahavamsatika, Shishunaga was the son of a Licchavi raja of Vaishali. He was conceived by a nagara-shobhini and brought up an officer of state. At the time of the revolt, he was a viceroy at Varanasi of king Nagadasaka, the last ruler of the Haryanka dynasty. 

Initially, his capital was Rajagriha and Vaishali was his second royal residence. Later he shifted his capital to Vaishali. His most significant achievement was the destruction of the 'glory' of thePradyota dynasty of the Avanti kingdom. Most probably the king of Avanti whom Shishunaga humbled was Avantivardhana. The Magadhan victory must have been helped by the revolution that placed Aryaka on the thone of Ujjayini. 
During Shishunag's rule practically whole India (present day India excluding the regions of Tamil Nadu south of Madurai,Pakistan,Nepal, Bhutan,Afghanistan and Bangladesh)was under his rule.In 407th BC he annexed jaipur to his empire. By 405th BC he subdued the last of mahajanapadas. From period of 404th BC to 397th BC he annexed Sindh,Multan,Lahore,Kabul,Herat,Chagcharan,Anjuri,Kandahar,Karachi and Vellore. His Territories spread up to Kochi and Madurai in the South to Shardu and Danyor in the North,Murshidabad and Dakhinpara and Hamren in the East to Mand and Herat in the West in 395th BC.
According to the Puranas, Shishunaga was succeeded by his son Kakavarna and according to the Sinhala chronicles by his son Kalashoka. On the basis of the evidence of the Ashokavadana, Hermann JacobiWilhelm Geiger and Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar concluded that both are same. During Shishunaga's reign, he was the governor of Varanasi. Two most significant events of his reign are the Second Buddhist council atVaishali and the final transfer of capital to Pataliputra. According to the Harshacharita, he was killed by a dagger thrust in to his throat in the vicinity of his capital. 
Later rulers
According to tradition, ten sons of Kalashoka ruled simultaneously. The Mahabodhivamsa states their names as Bhadrasena, Korandavarna, Mangura, Sarvanjaha, Jalika, Ubhaka, Sanjaya, Koravya, Nandivardhana and Panchamaka. Only one of them mentioned in the Puranic lists, Nandivardhana.  Nandivardhana or Mahanandin was probably the last ruler of this dynasty, his empire was inherited by his illegitimate son Mahapadma Nanda.


Magadha   formed one of the sixteen Mahā-Janapadas   or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganges; its first capital was Rajagriha (modern Rajgir) then Pataliputra (modern Patna). Magadha expanded to include most of Bihar and Bengal with the conquest of Licchavi and Anga respectively, followed by much of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Orissa. The ancient kingdom of Magadha is heavily mentioned in Jain and Buddhist texts. It is also mentioned in theRamayanaMahabharataPuranas. 
The earliest reference to the Magadha people occurs in the Atharva-Veda where they are found listed along with the AngasGandharis, and Mujavats. Two of India's major religions, Jainism, and Buddhism have roots in Magadha; two of India's greatest empires, the Maurya Empireand Gupta Empire, originated from Magadha. These empires saw advancements in ancient India's sciencemathematicsastronomyreligion, and philosophy and were considered the Indian "Golden Age". The Magadha kingdom included republican communities such as the community of Rajakumara. Villages had their own assemblies under their local chiefs called Gramakas. Their administrations were divided into executive, judicial, and military functions.
The kingdom of the Magadha roughly corresponds to the modern districts of PatnaJehanabadNalandaAurangabad, Nawadah and Gaya in southern Bihar, and parts of Bengal in the east. It was bounded on the north by the river Ganges, on the east by the river Champa, on the south by the Vindhya mountains and on the west by the river Sone. During the Buddha’s time and onward, its boundaries included Anga. This region of Greater Magadha had a culture and religious beliefs of its own that predated the sanatan dharma. Much of the second urbanisation took place here from c. 500 BCE onwards and it was here that Jainism became strong and Buddhism arose. The importance of Magadha's culture can be seen in that both Buddhism and Jainism adopted some of its features, most significantly a belief in rebirth and karmic retribution.  Early Jaina and Brahmanical scriptures describe varieties of ascetic practices that are based on shared assumptions. These assumptions included the belief that liberation can be achieved through knowledge of the self. These practices and their underlying assumptions were present in the culture of Greater Magadha at an early date and are likely to have influenced Jainism and other religions.  The belief in rebirth and karmic retribution was an important feature in later developments in Indian religion and philosophy.

There is little certain information available on the early rulers of Magadha. The most important sources are the Puranas, the Buddhist Chronicles of Sri Lanka, and other Jain and Buddhist texts, such as the Pāli Canon. Based on these sources, it appears that Magadha was ruled by theHaryanka dynasty for some 200 years, c. 684 BC – 424 BC.
Siddhartha Gautama himself was born a prince of Kapilavastu in Kosala around the 5th century BCE, during the Haryanka dynasty. As the scene of many incidents in his life, including his enlightenment, Magadha is often considered a blessed land. King Bimbisara of the Haryanka dynasty led an active and expansive policy, conquering Anga in what is now West Bengal.
The death of King Bimbisara was at the hands of his son, Prince Ajatashatru. KingPasenadi(Prasenajit), king of neighboring Kosala and brother-in-law of King Bimbisara, retook the gift of the Kashi province and a war was triggered between Kosala and Magadha. Ajatashatru was trapped by an ambush and captured with his army. However, King Prasenajit allowed him and his army return to Magadha, and restored the province of Kashi. King Pasenadi also gave his daughter in marriage to the new young king.
Accounts differ slightly as to the cause of King Ajatashatru's war with the Licchavi republic, an area north of the river Ganges. It appears that Ajatashatru sent a minister to the area who for three years worked to undermine the unity of the Licchavis. To launch his attack across the Ganges River, Ajatashatru built a fort at the town of Pataliputra. Torn by disagreements the Licchavis with many tribes that fought with Ajatashatru. It took fifteen years for Ajatashatru to defeat them. Jain texts tell how Ajatashatru used two new weapons: a catapult, and a covered chariot with swinging mace that has been compared to a modern tank. Pataliputra began to grow as a center of commerce and became the capital of Magadha after Ajatashatru's death.
The Haryanka dynasty was overthrown by the Shishunaga dynasty. The last ruler of Shishunaga Dynsty, Kalasoka was assassinated by Mahapadma Nandain 424 BC, the first of the so-called Nine Nandas (Mahapadma and his eight sons). The Nanda Dynasty ruled for about 100 years.
In 326 BC, the army of Alexander approached the boundaries of Magadha. The army, exhausted and frightened at the prospect of facing another giant Indian army at the Ganges, mutinied at the Hyphasis (modern Beas) and refused to march further East. Alexander, after the meeting with his officer, Coenus, was persuaded that it was better to return and turned south, conquering his way down the Indus to the Ocean.
Around 321 BC, the Nanda Dynasty ended and Chandragupta became the first king of the great Mauryan Dynasty and Mauryan Empire with the help ofVishnugupta. The Empire later extended over most of Southern Asia under King Asoka, who was at first known as 'Asoka the Cruel' but later became a disciple of Buddhism and became known as 'Dhamma Asoka'. Later, the Mauryan Empire ended, Sunga and Khārabēḷa Empire ended and the Gupta Empirebegan. The capital of the Gupta Empire remained Pataliputra, in Magadha.
Magadha Dynasties

Brihadratha Dynasty, Pradyota Dynasty, Harayanka Dynasty, Śiśunāga Dynasty ruled Magadha from 684 – 424 BC. Afterwards the Nanda Dynasty, Maurya Dynasty, Sunga Dynasty, Kanva Dynasty, Gupta Dynasty expanded beyond Magadha.
Amongst the sixteen Mahajanapadas, Magadha rose to prominence under a number of dynasties that peaked with the reign of Asoka Maurya, one of India's most legendary and famous emperors.
Brihadratha dynasty

According to the Puranas, the Magadha Empire was established by the Brihadratha Dynasty, who was the sixth in line from Emperor Kuru of the Bharatadynasty through his eldest son Sudhanush. The first prominent Emperor of the Magadhan branch of Bharathas was Emperor Brihadratha. His son Jarasandha appears in popular legend and is slain by Bhima in the Mahabharatha. Vayu Purana mentions that the Brihadrathas ruled for 1000 years.
Pradyota dynasty
The Brihadrathas were succeeded by the Pradyotas who (according to the Vayu Purana) ruled for 138 years. Pradyotas ruled over another Mahajanapada Avanti and conquered Magadha for very short span of 138 years. One of the Pradyota traditions was for the prince to kill his father to become king. During their time, it is reported that crimes were commonplace in Magadha. Tired of the dynastic feuds and the crimes, the people rose up in civil revolt and elected Haryanka to become the king. This led to the emergence of the Haryanka dynasty. However, Pradyota dynasty continued to rule in Avanti until it was conquered by Shishunaga who defeated the last Pradyota king Nandivardhana.
Haryanka dynasty
According to tradition, the Haryanka dynasty founded the Magadha Empire in 684 BC, whose capital was Rajagriha, later Pataliputra, near the present day Patna. This dynasty lasted until 424 BC, when it was overthrown by the Shishunaga dynasty. This period saw the development of two of India's major religions that started from Magadha. Gautama Buddha in the 6th or 5th century BC was the founder of Buddhism, which later spread to East Asia and South-East Asia, while Mahavira revived and propagated the ancient religion of JainismBimbisara was responsible for expanding the boundaries of his kingdom through matrimonial alliances and conquest. The land of Kosala fell to Magadha in this way. Bimbisara (543–493 BCE) was imprisoned and killed by his son Ajatashatru (ruled 491–461 BCE) who then became his successor, and under whose rule the dynasty reached its largest extent.
Licchavi was an ancient republic which existed in what is now Bihar state of India, since before the birth of Mahavira (born 599 BC), Vaishali was the capital of the Licchavis and the Vajjian Confederacy. Its courtesan, Ambapali, was famous for her beauty, and helped in large measure in making the city prosperous.[8] Ajatashatru went to war with the Licchavi several times.Ajatashatru, is thought to have ruled from 491–461 BCE and moved his capital of the Magadha kingdom from Rajagriha to PatliputraUdayabhadra eventually succeeded his father, Ajatashatru, under him Patliputra became the largest city in the world.
Shishunaga dynasty
According to tradition, the Shishunaga dynasty founded the Magadha Empire in 430 BC, whose capital was Rajagriha, later Pataliputra, near the present day Patna in India. This dynasty was succeeded by the Nanda dynasty. Shishunaga (also called King Sisunaka) was the founder of a dynasty of 10 kings, collectively called the Shishunaga dynasty. He established the Magadha empire (in 430 BC). This empire, with its original capital in Rajgriha, later shifted to Pataliputra (both currently in the Indian state of Bihar). The Shishunaga dynasty in its time was one of the largest empires of the Indian subcontinent.
The kingdom had a particularly bloody succession. Anuruddha eventually succeeded Udaybhadra through assassination, and his son Munda succeeded him in the same fashion, as did his son Nagadasaka. Due in part to this bloody dynastic feuding, it is thought that a civil revolt led to the emergence of the Nanda dynasty.
Shishunaga dynasty Rulers
Shishunaga (430 BC), established the kingdom of Magadha, Kakavarna (394–364 BC), Kshemadharman (618–582 BC), Kshatraujas (582–558 BC), Kalasoka, Mahanandin (until 424 BC), his empire is inherited by his illegitimate son Mahapadma Nanda.
Nanda dynasty

The Nanda dynasty was established by an illegitimate son of the king Mahanandin of the previous Shishunaga dynastyMahapadma Nanda died at the age of 88, ruling the bulk of this 100-year dynasty. The Nandas are sometimes described as the first empire builders of India. They inherited the large kingdom of Magadha and wished to extend it to yet more distant frontiers. The greatest extent of the empire was led by Dhana Nanda. The Nandas were followed by the Maurya dynasty.
Maurya dynasty
In 321 BC, exiled general Chandragupta Maurya founded the Maurya dynasty after overthrowing the reigning Nanda king Dhana Nanda to establish the Maurya Empire. During this time, most of the subcontinent was united under a single government for the first time. Capitalising on the destabilization of northern India by the Persian and Greek incursions, the Mauryan empire under Chandragupta would not only conquer most of the Indian subcontinent, but also push its boundaries into Persia and Central Asia, conquering the Gandhara region. Chandragupta was succeeded by his son Bindusara, who expanded the kingdom over most of present day India, barring the extreme south and east.
The kingdom was inherited by his son Ashoka The Great who initially sought to expand his kingdom. In the aftermath of the carnage caused in the invasion of Kalinga, he renounced bloodshed and pursued a policy of non-violence or ahimsa after converting to Buddhism. The Edicts of Ashoka are the oldest preserved historical documents of India, and from Ashoka's time, approximate dating of dynasties becomes possible. The Mauryan dynasty under Ashoka was responsible for the proliferation of Buddhist ideals across the whole of East Asia and South-East Asia, fundamentally altering the history and development of Asia as a whole. Ashoka the Great has been described as one of the greatest rulers the world has seen.

Sunga dynasty

The Sunga dynasty was established in 185 BC, about fifty years after Ashoka's death, when the king Brihadratha, the last of the Mauryan rulers, was assassinated by the then commander-in-chief of the Mauryan armed forces, Pusyamitra Sunga, while he was taking the Guard of Honour of his forces. Pusyamitra Sunga then ascended the throne.
Kanva dynasty
The Kanva dynasty replaced the Sunga dynasty, and ruled in the eastern part of India from 71 BC to 26 BC. The last ruler of the Sunga dynasty was overthrown by Vasudeva of the Kanva dynasty in 75 BC. The Kanva ruler allowed the kings of the Sunga dynasty to continue to rule in obscurity in a corner of their former dominions. Magadha was ruled by four Kanva rulers. In 30 BC, the southern power swept away both the Kanvas and Sungas and the province of Eastern Malwa was absorbed within the dominions of the conqueror. Following the collapse of the Kanva dynasty, the Satavahana dynasty of the Andhra kingdom replaced the Magandhan kingdom as the most powerful Indian state.
Gupta dynasty

The Gupta dynasty ruled from around 240 to 550 AD. The Gupta Empire was one of the largest political and military empires in ancient India.  This period has been called the Golden Age of India and was marked by extensive achievements in science, technologyengineeringartdialectic,literaturelogicmathematicsastronomyreligion, and philosophy that crystallized the elements of what is generally known as Hindu culture.  Thedecimal numeral system, including the concept of zero, was invented in India during this period.  The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors in India. 
The high points of this cultural creativity are magnificent architecture, sculpture, and painting.  The Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa,AryabhataVarahamihiraVishnu Sharma, and Vatsyayana who made great advancements in many academic fields.  Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural center and established it as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in BurmaSri Lanka, the Malay Archipelago, and Indochina.
The Gupta period marked a watershed of Indian culture: the Guptas performed Vedic sacrifices to legitimize their rule, but they also patronized Buddhism, which continued to provide an alternative to Brahmanical orthodoxy. The military exploits of the first three rulers—Chandragupta I (c. 319–335),Samudragupta (c. 335–376), and Chandragupta II (c. 376–415) —brought much of India under their leadership. They successfully resisted the northwestern kingdoms until the arrival of the Hunas, who established themselves in Afghanistan by the first half of the 5th century, with their capital atBamiyan.  However, much of the Deccan and southern India were largely unaffected by these events in the north. 
Kings of Magadha

Brihadratha Dynasty

Semi-legendary rulers in Purana accounts.
Brihadratha    Jarasandha ,       Sahadeva,       Somapi (1678–1618 BC),  Srutasravas (1618–1551 BC),   Ayutayus (1551–1515 BC),   Niramitra (1515–1415 BC),   Sukshatra (1415–1407 BC) ,      Brihatkarman (1407–1384 BC),     Senajit (1384–1361 BC) ,     Srutanjaya (1361–1321 BC), Vipra (1321–1296 BC) ,        Suchi (1296–1238 BC),      Kshemya (1238–1210 BC),  Subrata (1210–1150 BC),       Dharma (1150–1145 BC) ,          Susuma (1145–1107 BC),       Dridhasena (1107–1059 BC),   Sumati (1059–1026 BC),         Subhala (1026–1004 BC),        Sunita (1004–964 BC),     Satyajit (964–884 BC),    Biswajit (884–849 BC),   Ripunjaya (849–799 BC).

Pradyota dynasty

Ruling 799–684 BC according to calculations based on the Vayu Purana 
Pradyota,  Palaka,Visakhayupa,Ajaka,Varttivarddhana

Haryanka dynasty (544–413 BCE) 

Bimbisara (544–492 BCE), founder of the first Magadhan empire ,Ajatashatru (492–461 BCE).Udayabhadra (461–445 BCE),Aniruddha,Munda,Nagadasaka (437–413 BCE)

Shishunaga dynasty (413–345 BCE),

  • Shishunaga (413–395 BCE), established the kingdom of Magadha
  • Kakavarna Kalashoka (395–367 BCE)
  • Mahanandin (367–345 BCE), his empire is inherited by his illegitimate son Mahapadma Nanda

Nanda Dynasty (345–321 BCE)

  • Mahapadma Nanda Ugrasena (from 345 BCE), illegitimate son of Mahanandin, founded the Nanda Empire after inheriting Mahanandin's empire
  • Pandhuka,Panghupati,Bhutapala,Rashtrapala,Govishanaka,Anal,Dashasidkhaka,Kaivarta,Dhana (Agrammes, Xandrammes) (until 321 BCE), lost his empire to Chandragupta Maurya after being defeated by him

Maurya Dynasty (324–184 BC)

  • Chandragupta Maurya (Chandragupta The Great) (Sandrakottos) (324–301 BC),The greatest emperor of ancient India founded the Mauryan Empire after defeating both the Nanda Empire and the Macedonian Seleucid Empire
  • Bindusara or Amritrochates (301–273 BC)
  • Ashoka Vardhana (Ashoka the Great) (273–232 BC), considered the greatest ancient Indian emperor, first emperor to unify India (after conquering most of South Asia and Afghanistan), adoptBuddhism, grant animal rights and promote non-violence, a secular administrator,often called the emperor of all ages.
  • Dasaratha (232–224 BC),Samprati (224–215 BC),Salisuka (215–202 BC),Devavarman (202–195 BC),Satadhanvan (195–187 BC), the Mauryan Empire had shrunk by the time of his reign,Brihadrata (187–184 BC), assassinated by Pusyamitra Shunga

Shunga Dynasty (185–73 BC)

  • Pusyamitra Shunga (185–149 BC), founded the dynasty after assassinating Brihadrata
  • Agnimitra (149–141 BC), son and successor of Pusyamitra
  • Vasujyeshtha (141–131 BC)
  • Vasumitra (131–124 BC)
  • Andhraka (124–122 BC)
  • Pulindaka (122–119 BC)
  • Ghosha
  • Vajramitra
  • Bhagabhadra, mentioned by the Puranas
  • Devabhuti (83–73 BC), last Sunga king

Kanva Dynasty (73–26 BC)

  • Vasudeva (c. 73 - c. 66 BCE)
  • Bhumimitra (c. 66 - c. 52 BCE)
  • Narayana (c. 52 - c. 40 BCE)
  • Susarman (c. 40 - c. 26 BCE)

Gupta Dynasty (c. 240–550 AD)

  • Sri-Gupta I (c. 240–290)
  • Ghatotkacha (290–305)
  • Chandra Gupta I (305–335), founder of the Gupta Empire, which is often regarded as the golden age of Indian culture
  • Samudra Gupta (335–370)
  • Rama Gupta (370–375)
  • Chandra Gupta II (Chandragupta Vikramaditya) (375–415), son of Samudra Gupta, the Gupta Empire achieved its zenith under his reign, the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien describes Indian culture during his reign
  • Kumara Gupta I (415–455)
  • Skanda Gupta (455–467)
  • Kumara Gupta II (467–477)
  • Buddha Gupta (477–496)
  • Chandra Gupta III (496–500)
  • Vainya Gupta (500–515)
  • Narasimha Gupta (510–530)
  • Kumara Gupta III (530–540)
  • Vishnu Gupta (c. 540–550)