Haryanka Dynasty – The Second ruling dynasty of Magadha

Haryanka Dynasty – The Second ruling dynasty of Magadha

King Bhatiya founded the Haryanka Dynasty in the middle of the 6th century BCE. Although actual establishment of kingdom was done under the rule of Bimbisara so he was considered as actual founder of the dynasty. Haryanka dynasty was the second ruling dynasty of Magadha after Brihadratha Dynasty.

Expansion of Magadha

Bimbisara became the king around 545 BCE. According to the Buddhist text Mahavamsa, he ascended throne at the age of fifteen. Bimbisara was the first king who started building Magadha empire, expanded its territories and established proper administration system.

Bimbisara annexed the neighbor king Anga to avenge his father’s defeat, this put a foundation for the later expansion of the Magadha. He then made marriage alliances to the neighboring kings for expanding the empire. Mahavagga(The second part of the Buddhist scripture Vinaya Pitaka) depict him for having 500 wives. Because of these alliances Magadha empire expanded both westward and northward. King Bimbisara made Rajagriha (Girivraj) as his capital. In Jain text, He known¬† as King Shrenik . During his time Magadha was flourishing empire. In this time Gautama Buddha came to Magadha and attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya.

Magadha Expansion (6th-4th centuries BCE)

Bimbisara’s son Ajatashatru ascended throne around 491 BCE. Ajatashatru was contemporary with both Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. He further expanded territories of Magadha. He annexed Licchavi republic. Licchavis were very powerful kingdom so it took 16 years to get complete victory over them. He also annexed Kashi, Koshala and 36 republicans states surrounding his kingdom. In his time Magadha covered almost all of modern Bihar, Chandigarh , Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, One fourth Madhya Pradesh, tip of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Ajatashatru build a fort near the banks of the river Ganges to strengthen the defenses of Magadha and named it Pataligrama(Village). The successor of Ajatshatru, Udayin had shifted the capital from Rajagriha to Pataliputra due to the latter’s center location of empire.

There is nothing noticeable happened after Udayin and Haryanka dynasty followed by the Shishunaga dynasty .

Administrative System

Among all the other Mahajanapadas, Only Koshala and Magadha emerged as powerful state. Both were ruled by the hereditary monarchs from the Kshatriya varna. King was the center of the administration, he enjoys the highest official status and special protection for his persons and property.
Bimbisara divided the administration of the empire in 3 parts.

  1. Judicial department
  2. Executive
  3. Military

King appoints two types officials higher and lower.

  • Higher officials called mahamatras or ayuktas (in some states).
    They were mostly recruited from Brahmin clan and appointed as ministers (Mantrins), commander (Senanayaka), judge or chief accountant(Voharika).
  • The rural administration was in the hands of the village headmen. They were known by a variety of titles such as gramabhojaka, gramini or gramika. They were responsible for collecting taxes from villagers and maintain the low and order. Gramabhojaka had the direct links with the kings and enjoyed considerable importance. Some evidences shows that Bimbisara summoned six thousand village headmen, numbers may vary but it shows the importance of the gramini.

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