Nanda Dynasty

Mahapadmananda was the first ruler of the Nanda Dynasty. There are several theories about the birth of Mahapadmananda. The Purana theory say that Mahapadmananda was son of Nandivardhana & a Shudra Woman. Another theory says that there was a good-looking barber, who won the heart of a queen who subsequently killed the king. Mahapadmananda was a son of this barber. Whatever may be correct but this was the line which started the trend of lowborn (as of contemporary conditions) rule started in Magadha.


Meaning of Mahapadmananda

  • Mahapadmananda had a large army and that is why he is called Ugrasena.
  • His army might have been so large that it could be arranged in a Lotus shape : Padmavyuh
  • He might have been so wealthy that his wealth was in Padama, a unit of counting equivalent to a million multiplied by a billion.
  • Mahapadmananda subdued all the major powers such as Ikasvakus, Kurus, Panchals, Kasis, Surasens, Maithilas, kalingas, Asmakas etc. and that is why Puranas mention is name : Sarvakhstrantaka. (destroyer of all Kshtras) equivalent to Parshurama.


The Nandas were the first Non Kshatriya rulers in the history of India. They were also the first Empire Builders in the recorded history of India. Estimates say that the army of Nandas was consisting of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 (or 80,000) cavalry, 2,000 (or 8,000) war chariots and 3,000 (or 6,000) war elephants. Nanda ruled almost all parts of India for 100 years. The last ruler was Dhana Nanda who was over thrown by Chandra Gupta Maurya thus founding Mauryan Empire in 321 BC.


Invasion of Alexander:

Alexander, the great invaded India in 326 BC during the rule of Dhanananda. Dhanananda is mentioned as Xandrames or Aggrammes or Ganderites in the Greek historical texts. These texts mention that crossing the Beas was the last outpost of Alexander’s army which was insisted by Alexander to cross Ganga as well. But by hearing that Dhanananda was waiting for them with 200, 000 army they were frightened and revoltedand thus Alexander’s army turned back. Alexander began his homeward journey in 325 BC and in 324 BC he died in Persia.

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