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Janapadas and Mahajanapadas

janapadas-and-mahajanapadas

Janapadas and the Mahajanapadas

Janapadas is derived from ‘Jana’ means people and ‘padas’ means foot. By the 6th century, at the end of Later Vedic Period settlement and communities shifted towards Indo Gangetic plains due to its fertile land, presence of rivers along with the proper rainfall pattern. The rise in power is also considered due to its being nearer towards iron production centers. Tribes of the later Vedic Period decided to form its own territorial community, which formed permanent settlement known as ‘janapadas’. The Mahajanapadas were a set of 16 kingdoms that existed after later vedic period in ancient India.

Janapadas and the Mahajanapadas key features:- 

  1. Monarchical and Republican states:- Most of the Janapadas were monarchies at that time, however, some were also republics known as ‘Ganas’ or ‘Sanghas’. These Gana & sanghas were oligarchies in the nature where the king used to be elected. The king would rule with the help of his councils.
  2. Religion:- Jainism and Buddhism were founded during this time and it came from republican states.
  3. Capital city:- Every Mahajanapada had a capital city at that time.
  4. Building Structures:- Most of the Mahajanapadas built forts built around their area. The forts were made mainly for protection from invasion from other kings.
  5. Tax collection:- Tax collection was also prevalent during that time. The tax on the cultivation of the crops was 1/6th of their produce which was known as bhaga or share as tax collection.
  6. Armies were maintained:- Regular armies were maintained by new kings or Rajas for the protection of foreign invasion.

16 Mahajanpadas during 600 B.C. to 325 B.C. which were present at that time are as follows-

Mahajanapada

Present Location

Anga

Bhagalpur and Munger

Magadha

Gaya and Patna

Kasi

Varanasi

Vatsa

Allahabad

Kosala

Awadh, Eastern UP

Saurasena

Mathura

Panchala

Western UP

Kuru

Meerut and SE Haryana

Matsya

Jaipur

Avanti

Madhya Pradesh and Malwa

Chedi

Bundelkhand

Gandhara

Peshawar

Kamboja

Rajori and Hajra (Kashmir)

Asmaka

Godaveri banks

Malla

Deoria and UP

Vajji

Vaishali


Here you can also go through details of other periods of Ancient Indian History which would be very helpful for various Government Exams:-

  1. Stone Age in India
  2. Indus Valley Civilization
  3. Vedic Period: Ancient History
  4. Vedic Literature : Ancient History
  5. Mauryan Empire : Ancient History
  6. Gupta Dynasty : Ancient History
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