Late Vedic era map showing the boundaries of Āryāvarta with janapadas in northern India. Beginning of Iron Age kingdoms in India— Kuru, Panchala, Kosala, Videha.
This detailed map shows the locations of kingdoms and "republics" mentioned in the Indian epics or Bharata Khanda.

The Janapadas (Sanskrit: जनपद pronounced [dʒənəpəd̪ə]) were the realms, republics and kingdoms of the Indian Vedic period late Bronze Age into the (Iron Age) from about 1200 BCE to the 6th century BCE. Concluding with the rise of sixteen Mahajanapadas ("great janapadas"), most of the states were later annexed by more powerful neighbours, whilst others remained independent.


The Sanskrit term janapada is a tatpurusha compound term, composed of two words: janas and pada. Jana means "people" or "subject" (cf. Latin cognate genus, English cognate kin). The word pada means "foot" (cf. Latin cognate pedis);[1][2] from its earliest attestation, the word has had a double meaning of "realm, territory" and "subject population". Linguist George Dunkel compares the Greek andrapodon "slave", to PIE *pédom "fetters" (i.e. "what is attached to the feet"). Sanskrit padám, usually taken to mean "footprint, trail", diverges in accent from the PIE reconstruction. For the sense of "population of the land", padasya janas, the inverted padajana would be expected. A primary meaning of "place of the people", janasya padam, would not explain why the compound is of masculine gender. An original dvandva "land and people" is conceivable, but a dual inflection would be expected.[3]


Literary evidence suggests that the janapadas flourished between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE. The earliest mention of the term "janapada" occurs in the Aitareya (8.14.4) and Shatapatha ( Brahmana texts.[4]

In the Vedic samhitas, the term jana denotes a tribe, whose members believed in a shared ancestry.[5] The janas were headed by a king. The samiti was a common assembly of the jana members, and had the power to elect or dethrone the king. The sabha was a smaller assembly of wise elders, who advised the king.[6]

The janas were originally semi-nomadic pastoral communities, but gradually came to be associated with specific territories as they became less mobile. Various kulas (clans) developed within the jana, each with its own chief. Gradually, the necessities of defence and warfare prompted the janas to form military groupings headed by janapadins (Kshatriya warriors). This model ultimately evolved into the establishment of political units known as the janapadas.[7]

While some of the janas evolved into their own janapadas, others appear to have mixed together to form a common Janapada. According to the political scientist Sudama Misra, the name of the Panchala janapada suggests that it was a fusion of five (pancha) janas.[8] Some janas (such as Aja and Mutiba) mentioned in the earliest texts do not find a mention in the later texts. Misra theorizes that these smaller janas were conquered by and assimilated into the larger janas.[8]

Janapadas were gradually dissolved around 500 BCE. Their disestablishment can be attributed to the rise of imperial powers (such as Magadha) within India, as well as in the Northwest of South Asia by foreign invaders (such as the Persians and the Greeks).[9]


The Janapada were highest political unit in Ancient India during this period these polities were usually monarchical (though some followed a form republicanism) and succession was hereditary. The head of a kingdom was called a (rajan) or king. A chief (purohita) or priest and a (senani) or commander of administrating the army who would assist the king. There were also two other political bodies, the (sabha) thought to be a council of elders and the (samiti) a general assembly of the entire people.

The boundaries of the kingdoms

Often rivers formed the boundaries of two neighboring kingdoms, as was the case between the northern and southern Panchala and between the western (Pandava's Kingdom) and eastern (Kaurava's Kingdom) Kuru. Sometimes, large forests, which were larger than the kingdoms themselves, formed their boundaries as was the case of the Naimisha Forest between Panchala and Kosala kingdoms. Mountain ranges like Himalaya, Vindhya and Sahya also formed their boundaries.

The cities and villages

Some kingdoms possessed a main city that served as its capital. For example, the capital of Pandava's Kingdom was Indraprastha and the Kaurava's Kingdom was Hastinapura. Ahichatra was the capital of Northern Panchala whereas Kampilya was the capital of Southern Panchala. Kosala Kingdom had its capital at Ayodhya. Apart from the main city or capital, where the palace of the ruling king was situated, there were small towns and villages spread in a kingdom. Tax was collected by the officers appointed by the king from these villages and towns. What the king offered in return to these villages and towns was protection from the attack of other kings and robber tribes, as well as from invading foreign nomadic tribes. The king also enforced code and order in his kingdom by punishing the guilty.


The janapadas had Kshatriya rulers.[10] Based on literary references, historians have theorized that the Janapadas were administered by the following assemblies in addition to the king:

An assembly of qualified members who advised the king and performed judicial functions. In the ganas or republican Janapadas, they also handled administration.[11]
Paura was the assembly of the capital city (pura), and handled municipal administration.[12]
The Janapada assembly represented the rest of the Janapada, possibly the villages, which were administered by a Gramini.[12]

Some historians have also theorized that there was a common assembly called the "Paura-Janapada", but others such as Ram Sharan Sharma disagree with this theory. The existence of Paura and Janapada itself is a controversial matter.[13]

Indian nationalist historians such as K. P. Jayaswal have argued that the existence of such assemblies is evidence of prevalence of democracy in ancient India.[14] V. B. Misra notes that the contemporary society was divided into the four varnas (besides the outcastes), and the Kshatriya ruling class had all the political rights.[15] Not all the citizens in a janapada had political rights.[11] Based on Gautama's Dharmasutra, Jayaswal theorized that the low-caste shudras could be members of the Paura assembly.[13] According to A. S. Altekar, this theory is based on a misunderstanding of the text: the term "Paura" in the relevant portion of the Dharmasutra refers to a resident of the city, not the member of the city assembly.[16] Jayaswal also argued that the members of the supposed Paura-Janapada assembly acted as counsellers to the king, and made other important decisions such as imposing taxes in times of emergency. Once again, Altekar argued that these conclusions are based on misinterpretations of the literary advance. For example, Jayaswal has wrongly translated the word "amantra" in a Ramayana verse as "to offer advice"; it actually means "to bid farewell" in proper context.[16]

Interactions between kingdoms

There was no border security for a kingdom and border disputes were very rare. One king might conduct a military campaign (often designated as Digvijaya meaning victory over all the directions) and defeat another king in a battle, lasting for a day. The defeated king would acknowledge the supremacy of the victorious king. The defeated king might sometimes be asked to give a tribute to the victorious king. Such tribute would be collected only once, not on a periodic basis. The defeated king, in most cases, would be free to rule his own kingdom, without maintaining any contact with the victorious king. There was no annexation of one kingdom by another. Often a military general conducted these campaigns on behalf of his king. A military campaign and tribute collection was often associated with a great sacrifice (like Rajasuya or Ashvamedha) conducted in the kingdom of the campaigning king. The defeated king also was invited to attend these sacrifice ceremonies, as a friend and ally.

New kingdoms

New kingdoms were formed when a major clan produced more than one King in a generation. The Kuru (kingdom) clan of Kings was very successful in governing throughout North India with their numerous kingdoms, which were formed after each successive generation. Similarly, the Yadava clan of kings formed numerous kingdoms in Central India.

Cultural differences

Western parts of India were dominated by tribes who had a slightly different culture that was considered as non-Vedic by the mainstream Vedic culture prevailed in the Kuru and Panchala kingdoms. Similarly there were some tribes in the eastern regions of India, considered to be in this category. Tribes with non-Vedic culture specially those of barbaric nature were collectively termed as Mlechha. Very little was mentioned in the ancient Indian literature, about the kingdoms to the North, beyond the Himalayas. China was mentioned as a kingdom known as Cina, often grouped with Mlechcha kingdoms.

List of Janapadas

Vedic literature

The Vedas mention five sub-divisions of ancient India:[17]

The Vedic literature mentions the following janas or janapadas:[18]

Jana or Janapada IAST name Region Mentioned in
Mentioned in
Aja Aja Central Y
Alina Alina Western Y
Ambashtha Ambaśṭha Central
Andhra Āndhra Southern
Anga Aṅga Eastern Y
Anu Anu Western Y
Balhika Balhika Northern Y
Bhalana Bhalana Western Y
Bharadvaja Bharadvāja Central Y
Bharata Bharata Central Y
Bheda Bheda Central Y
Bodha Bodha Central
Chedi Chedi Central Y
Druhyu Druhyu Western Y
Gandhari Gandhāri Western Y Y
Kamboja Kamboja Northern
Keshin Keśin Central
Kikata Kīkaṭa Eastern Y Y
Kirata Kirāta Eastern
Kosala Kosala Eastern
Krivi Krivi Central Y
Kunti Kunti Central
Kuru Kuru Central Y Y
Magadha Magadha Eastern Y
Mahavrisha Mahāvṛṣa Northern Y
Matsya Matsya Central Y
Mujavana Mūjavana Northern Y Y
Mutiba Mūtiba Southern
Nishada Niṣāda Central
Paktha Paktha Western Y
Panchala Pāñcala Central
Parshu Parśu Western Y
Paravata Pārāvata Central Y
Prithu Pṛthu Western Y
Pulinda Pulinda Southern
Pundra Puṇḍra Eastern
Puru Pūru Western Y
Rushama Ruśama Central Y
Shalva Śālva Central
Satvanta Satvanta Southern
Shabara Śabara Southern
Shigru Śigru Central Y
Shiva Śiva Western Y
Shvikna Śvikna Central
Srinjaya Sṛñjaya Central Y Y
Tritsu Tṛtsu Central Y
Turvasha Turvaśa Western Y
Ushinara Uśīnara Central Y
Uttara Kuru Uttara Kuru Northern
Uttara Madra Uttara Madra Northern
Vaikarna Vaikarṇa Northern Y
Vanga Vaṅga Eastern
Kashi Kāśi Eastern
Varashikha Varaśikha Central Y
Vasha Vaśa Central
Vidarbha Vidarbha Southern
Videha Videha Eastern
Vishanin Viśaṇin Western Y
Vrichivanta Vṛcivanta Western Y
Yadu Yadu Western Y
Yakshu Yakṣu Central Y

Puranic literature

The Puranas mention seven sub-divisions of ancient India:[19]

The Puranic texts mention the following janapadas:[20]

Janapada Region Name in the various Puranas (IAST)
(Chapter 114)
(Chapter 45)
(Chapter 57)
(Chapter 13)
(Chapter 16)
Abhira (northern) Northern Ābhīra Ābhīra Ābhīra Ābhīra Ābhīra
Abhira (southern) Southern Ābhīra Ābhīra Ābhīra Ābhīra
Abhishaha Northern Apanga Aupadha Alasa Abhīṣaha
Ahuka Northern Āhuka Kuhaka Kuhuka Āhuka
Alimadra Northern Alimadra Anibhadra Alibhadra
Anarta Western Ānarta Ānarta Āvantya Āvantya Ānarta
Andhaka Central Andhaka
Andhra Southern Andhra Andha Āndhra Āndhra
Andhravaka Eastern Andhravāka Andhāraka Andhravāka
Anga Eastern Aṅga Aṅga (Central and Eastern) Aṅga
Angara-Marisha Southern Aṅgāramāriṣa
Antara-Narmada Western Āntaranarmada Āntaranarmada Uttaranarmada Sunarmada Āntaranarmada
Antargiri Eastern Antargiri Antargiri Antargiri Antargiri Antargiri
Anupa Vindhyan Arūpa Anūpa Annaja Anūpa Anūpa
Aparita Northern Purandhra Aparīta Aparānta Aparānta Aparānta
Arthapa Central Arthapa Atharva
Ashmaka Southern Asmaka Aśmaka Aśmaka Aśmaka
Ashvakuta Central Aśvakūṭa
Atavya Southern Āṭavi Āṭavi Āraṇya Āṭavya
Atreya Northern Atri Ātreya Ātreya Ātreya Atri
Aundra Vindhyan Auṇḍra
Avanti Vindhyan Avanti (Central and Vindhyan) Avanti Avanti Avanti Avanti
Bahirgiri Eastern Bahirgiri Bahirgiri Bahirgiri Bahirgiri Bahirgiri
Vahlika Northern Vāhlīka Vāhlīka Vāhlīka Vāhlīka Vāhlīka
Bahula Northern Pahlava Bahula Bahudha
Barbara Northern Barbara Barbara Barbara (Central and Northern) Barbara
Bhadra Eastern and Central Bhadra
Bhadrakara Central Bhadrakāra Bhadrakāra Bhadrakāra
Bharadvaja Northern Bharadvāja Bharadvāja Bharadvāja Bharadvāja Bharadvāja
Bhargava Eastern Bhārgava Bhārgava Bhārgava Bhārgava
Bharukachchha Western Bharukaccha Bhanukaccha Bhīrukahcha Dārukachchha Sahakaccha
Bhogavardhana Southern Bhogavardhana Bhogavardhana Bhogavardhana Bhogavardhana
Bhoja Vindhyan Bhoja Bhoja Bhoja Gopta Bhoja
Bhushika Northern Bhūṣika
Bodha Central Bāhya Bodha Bodha
Brahmottara Eastern Suhmottara Brahmottara Brahmottara Brahmottara Samantara
Charmakhandika Northern Attakhaṇḍika Carmakhaṇḍika Carmakhaṇḍika Sakheṭaka Carmakhaṇḍika
Kerala Southern Kerala Kerala Kevala Kerala Kerala
China Northern Pīna Chīna Veṇa Chīna
Chola Southern Cola Caulya Cauḍa Cola (Southern and Eastern)
Chulika Northern Cūlika Cūlika Cūḍika Vindhyacūlika
Koshala (Central) Central Kośala Kośala Kośala Kośala
Daṇḍaka Southern Daṇḍaka Daṇḍaka Daṇḍaka Daṇḍaka
Darada Northern Darada Darada Darada Darada
Darva Himalayan and Northern Darva (Himalayan only) Darva Darva Darva
Daseraka Northern Daseraka Karseruka Kuśeruka Daśeraka Daśeraka
Dashamalika Northern Daśanāmaka Daśamānika Daśamālika Daṅśana Daśamālika
Dasharna Vindhyan Daśarṇa Daśarṇa Daśarṇa Daśarṇa Daśarṇa
Druhyu Northern Druhyu Hrada Bhadra
Durga Western Durga Durga Durga Durgala
Ganaka Northern Gaṇaka
Gandhara Northern Gāndhāra Gāndhāra Gāndhāra Gāndhāra Gāndhāra
Girigahvara Northern Vāhyatodara Vāhyatodara Vāhyatodara Girigahvara
Godha Central Godha
Golangula Southern Golāṅgūla
Gomanta Eastern Gonarda Govinda Gomanta Mananda Gonarda
Hamsamarga Northern and Himalayan Sarvaga (Himalayan only) Haṃsamārga Haṃsamārga Haṃsamārga (Himalayan); Karnamārga (Northern) Haṃsamārga (Himalayan); Haṃsabhaṅga (Northern)
Hara-Hunaka Northern Pūrṇa Ūrṇa Cūrṇa Hūṇa
Haramushika Northern Hāramūrtika Hārapūrika Hāramuṣika Sāmuṣaka
Huhuka Himalayan Samudgaka Sahūdaka Sakṛtraka Śahuhūka Sahuhūka
Ijika Northern Ijika
Jaguda Northern Jāṇgala Juhuḍa Jāguḍa
Jangala Central Jāṇgala Jāṇgala Jāṇgala
Jneyamarthaka Eastern Jñeyamarthaka Jñeyamallaka Aṅgiyamarṣaka Gopapārthiva
Kachchhika Western Kāchchhīka Kacchīya Kāśmīra Kacchipa
Kalatoyaka Northern Kālatoyaka Kālatoyaka Kālatoyaka Kālatoyaka Kālatoyaka
Kalinga (central) Central Kaliṅga Arkalinga Kaliṅga Kaliṅga
Kalinga (southern) Southern Kaliṅga Kaliṅga Kaliṅga Kaliṅga Kaliṅga
Kalitaka Western Kālītaka Anīkaṭa Tālīkaṭa Kuntala
Kamboja Northern Kāmboja Kāmboja Kāmboja Kāmboja
Kantakara Northern Kanṭakāra Raddhakaṭaka Bahubhadra Kādhara
Karusha Vindhyan Kārūṣa (Southern and Vindhyan) Kārūṣa Kārūṣa Kārūṣa Kārūṣa
Kashmira Northern Kāśmīra Kāśmīra Kāśmīra
Kauśika Central Kauśika
Kekeya Northern Kaikeyya Kekeya Kaikeya Kaikeya Kekeya
Khasa Himalayan Khasa Khasa Khaśa Śaka
Kirata Himalayan Kirāta (Central and Himalayan) Kirāta Kirāta Kirāta Kirāta
Kisanna Central Kisaṇṇa
Kishkindhaka Vindhyan Kiṣkindhaka Kiṣkindhaka Kiṣkindhaka Kikarava Kiṣkindhaka
Kolvanna Western Kolavana Kālivala Vāridhana Kalivana
Konkana Southern Koṅkaṇa
Kosala (Vindhyan) Vindhyan Kosala Kosala Kośala Kośala Kośala
Kukkuta Northern Kukkuṭa
Kuluta Northern Kulūta Ulūta
Kulya Southern and Central Kulya Kulya Kulya (only Central) Kulya (only Southern) Kulya (only Southern)
Kumara Southern Kupatha Kumana Kusuma Kumārāda Kṣapaṇa
Kuninda Northern Pulinda Kulinda Kaliṅga Kalinda
Kuntala Southern and Central Kuntala (only Central) Kuntala Kuntala Kuṇḍala Kuntala
Kurava Himalayan Kupatha Kṣupaṇa Kurava Kupatha Kupatha
Kuru Central Kuru Kuru Kaurava Kuru
Kushalya Central Kuśalya
Kushudra Central Kuśūdra
Kuthapravarana Himalayan Kuthaprāvaraṇa Kuśaprāvaraṇa Kuntaprāvaraṇa Kuthaprāvaraṇa Apaprāvaraṇa
Lalhitta Northern Lalhitta
Lampaka Northern Lampaka Lampāka Lampāka Lampaka Lamaka
Madraka Northern Madraka Bhadraka Madraka Bhadraka Maṇḍala
Mādreya Central Mādreya
Magadha Central and Eastern Māgadha (only Eastern) Magadha Magadha (only Eastern) Magadha (only Eastern) Magadha
Maharashtra Southern Navarāṣṭra Maharāṣṭra Maharāṣṭra Maharāṣṭra Maharāṣṭra
Maheya Western Māheya Māheya Māheya Māheya Māheya
Mahishika Southern Māhiṣika Māhiṣaka Māhiṣaka Māhiṣika Māhiṣika
Malada Eastern Mālava Mālada Manada Mansāda Malada
Malaka Central Malaka
Malavartika Eastern Mallavarṇaka Mālavartin Mānavartika Baladantika Malavartika
Malava Vindhyan Mālava Mālava Ekalavya Malada
Malla Eastern Śālva Māla Malla Māia Malla
Mandala Himalayan Maṇḍala Mālava Mālava Maṇḍala
Mandavya Northern Māṇḍavya
Masha Vindhyan Māṣa
Matanga Eastern Mātaṅga
Matsya Central Matsya Matsya Yatstha Matsya
Maulika Southern Maunika Maulika Maulika
Mekala Vindhyan Mekala Rokala Kevala Mekala Mekala
Arbuda Western Arbuda Arbuda Arbuda Arbuda Arbuda
Mudagaraka Eastern Madguraka Mudgara Madguraka Mudagaraka
Muka Central Mūka
Mushika Southern Sūtika Mūṣika Mūṣika Mūṣikāda Mūṣika
Nairnika Southern Nairṇika Naiṣika Nairṇika
Nalakalika Southern Nalakālika Vanadāraka Nalakāraka
Nasikya Western Vāsikya Nāsikya Nāsikya Nāsikānta Nāsika
Nigarahara Himalayan Nirāhāra Nigarhara Nihāra Nirāhāra Nirhāra
Naishadha Vindhyan Naiṣadha Niṣāda Naiṣadha Naiṣadha Naiṣadha
Pahlava Northern Pallava Pahlava Pallava Pallava Pallava
Panaviya Northern Pāṇavīya
Panchala Central Pāñcala Pāñcala Pāñcala Pāñcala
Pandya Southern Pāṇḍya Pāṇḍya Puṇḍra Puṇḍra Pāṇḍya
Parada Northern Pārada Parita Pārada Pāravata Pārada
Parashkara Western Kāraskara Paraṣkara Kaṭhākṣara Kāraskara Karandhara
Patachchara Central Paṭaccara Śatapatheśvara Paṭaccara
Paurika Southern Paunika Paurika Paurika Paurika
Plushta Himalayan Pluṣṭa
Pragjyotisha Eastern Prāgjyotiṣa Prāgjyotiṣa Prāgjyotiṣa Prāgjyotiṣa Prāgjyotiṣa
Prasthala Northern Prasthala Prasthala Puṣkala Prasthala Prasthala
Pravanga Eastern Plavaṅga Pravaṅga Pravaṅga Pravaṅga Plavaṅga
Pravijaya Eastern Pravijaya Pravijaya Pravijaya Prāvijaya Prāviṣeya
Priyalaukika Northern Priyalaukika Harṣavardhana Aṅgalaukika Aṅgalaukika
Puleya Western Kulīya Puleya Pulinda Pulīya Pauleya
Pulinda Southern Pulinda Pulinda Pulinda Pulinda
Pundra Eastern Puṇḍra Muṇḍa Madra Pṛsadhra Puṇḍra
Rakshasa Southern Rākṣasa
Ramatha Northern Rāmaṭha Rāmaṭha Māṭhara Māṭharodha
Rupasa Western Rūpasa Kūpasa Rūpapa Rūpaka
Sainika Northern Sainika Pidika Śūlika Jhillika
Shalva Central Śālva Śālva Śālva
Saraja Vindhyan Saraja
Sarasvata Western Sārasvata Sārasvata Sārasvata Sārasvata Sārasvata
Sarika Southern Sārika
Surashtra Western Saurāṣṭra Surāṣṭra Surāṣṭra Surāṣṭra Surāṣṭra
Saushalya Central Sauśalya
Sauvira Northern Sauvīra Sauvīra Sauvīra Sauvīra Sauvīra
Setuka Southern Setuka Setuka Śailūṣa Jānuka Setuka
Shabara Southern Śabara Bara Śabara Śarava
Shaka Northern Śaka Śaka Śaka (Central) Śaka
Shashikhadraka Himalayan Śaśikhādrika
Shatadruja Northern Śatadruja Śatadrava
Shatpura Vindhyan Padgama Ṣaṭsura Paṭava Bahela Ṣaṭpura
Shulakara Northern Śulakara
Surparaka Western Sūrpāraka Sūryāraka Śūrpāraka Sūryāraka
Sindhu Northern Sindhu Sindhu Sindhu Sindhu Sindhu
Sirala Western Sirāla Surāla Sumīna Sinīla Kirāta
Shudra Northern Śudra Śudra Śudra Śudra Suhya
Sujaraka Eastern Sujaraka
Suparshva Northern Supārśva
Shurasena Central Śūrasena Śūrasena Śūrasena
Taittrika Western Taittirika Turasita Kurumini Tubhamina Karīti
Talagana Northern Talagāna Stanapa Tāvakarāma Tālaśāla
Tamara Himalayan Chamara Tāmasa Tāmasa Tomara Tāmara
Tamas Western Tāmas
Tamralipataka Eastern Tāmralipataka Tāmralipataka Tāmralipataka Tāmralipataka Tāmralipataka
Tangana Himalayan Apatha Taṅgaṇa Gurguṇa Taṅgaṇa Taṅgaṇa
Tangana Northern Taṅgaṇa Tuṅgana Taṅgaṇa Taṅgaṇa
Tapasa Western Tāpasa Tāpasa Svāpada Tāpasa Tāpaka
Tilanga Central Tilaṇga
Tomara Northern Tomara Tāmasa Tāmasa Tomara
Tosala Vindhyan Tośala Tosala Tośala Tośala Tośala
Traipura Vindhyan Traipura Traipura Traipura Trapura Traipura
Trigarta Himalayan Trigarta Trigarta Trigarta Trigarta Trigarta
Tumbura Vindhyan Tumbara Tumbura Tumbula Tumbara Barbara
Tumura Vindhyan Tumura Tumura Tumbura Turaga Tuhuṇḍa
Tundikera Vindhyan Śauṇḍikera Tuṇḍikera Tuṣṭikāra Tuṇḍikera Tuṇḍikera
Turnapada Northern Tūrṇapāda
Tushara Northern Tuṣāra Tukhāra Tuṣāra Tuṣāra
Udbhida Southern Udbhida Udbhida Ulida Kulinda
Urna Himalayan Urṇa Huṇa Urṇa Ūrna Ūrna
Utkala Vindhyan Utkala Utkala Utkala Utkala Utkala (Eastern and Central)
Uttamarna Vindhyan Uttamārṇa Uttamarṇa Uttamārṇa Uttama
Vaishikya Southern Īṣīka Īṣīka Vaisakya Iṣīka
Vanavasika Southern Vājivasika Banavāsika Namavāsika Mahāśaka Vanavāsika
Vanga Eastern Vaṅga Vaṅga (Central and Eastern) Vaṅga
Vangeya Eastern Mārgavageya Vāṅgeya Rāṅgeya Vāṅgeya Vojñeya
Kashi Central Kāśi Kāśi Kāśi Kāśi
Vatadhana Northern Vāṭadhāna Vāṭadhāna Vāṭadhāna Vāṭadhāna Vāṭadhāna
Vatsa Central Vatsa
Vatsiya Western Vātsīya
Vaidarbha Southern Vaidarbha Vaidarbha Vaidarbha Vaidarbha
Videha Eastern Videha Videha Videha Videha Videha
Vaidisha Vindhyan Vaidiśa Vaidika Vaidiśa Kholliśa Vaidiśa
Vindhyamulika Southern Vindhyapuṣika Vindhyamūlika Vindhyaśaileya Vindhyamaulīya
Vitihotra Vindhyan Vitihotra Vitihotra Vīrahotra Vītahotra Vītihotra
Vrika Central Vṛka Vṛka Vṛka
Yamaka Eastern Yamaka
Yavana Northern Yavana Yavana Gavala Yavana Yavana

Sanskrit epics

The Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata mentions around 230 janapadas, while the Ramayana mentions only a few of these. Unlike the Puranas, the Mahabharata does not specify any geographical divisions of ancient India, but does support the classification of certain janapadas as southern or northern.[21]

Buddhist canon

The Buddhist canonical texts primarily refer to the following 16 mahajanapadas ("great janapadas"):[22]

The Jain text Bhagavati Sutra also mentions 16 important janapadas, but their names differ from the ones mentioned in the Buddhist texts.[22]

See also


  1. Charles Rockwell Lanman (1912), A Sanskrit reader: with vocabulary and notes, Boston: Ginn & Co., ... jána, m. creature; man; person; in plural, and collectively in singular, folks; a people or race or tribe ... cf. γένος, Lat. genus, Eng. kin, 'race' ...
  2. Stephen Potter, Laurens Christopher Sargent (1974), Pedigree: the origins of words from nature, Taplinger, ... *gen-, found in Skt. jana, 'a man', and Gk. genos and L. genus, 'a race' ...
  3. Dunkel, George (2002), "Indo-European Perspectives (ed. M. R. V. Southern)", Journal of Indo-European Studies (Monograph) (43) |chapter= ignored (help)
  4. Misra 1973, p. 15.
  5. Misra 1973, pp. 7-11.
  6. Misra 1973, p. 12.
  7. Misra 1973, p. 13.
  8. 1 2 Misra 1973, p. 14.
  9. Misra 1973, pp. 15-16.
  10. Misra 1973, p. 17.
  11. 1 2 Misra 1973, p. 18.
  12. 1 2 Misra 1973, p. 19.
  13. 1 2 Ram Sharan Sharma (1991). Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 242.
  14. Dinesh Kumar Ojha (2006). Interpretations of Ancient Indian Polity: A Historiographical Study. Manish Prakashan. p. 160.
  15. Misra 1973, p. 20.
  16. 1 2 Anant Sadashiv Altekar (1949). State and Government in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 151–153.
  17. Misra 1973, p. 24.
  18. Misra 1973, p. 304-305.
  19. Misra 1973, p. 45.
  20. Misra 1973, p. 306-321.
  21. Misra 1973, p. 99.
  22. 1 2 Misra 1973, p. 2.


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