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Chronology of Ancient Indian Dynasties (I)

Updated on December 29, 2013

Timeline of Ancient Indian Empires

India is a vast country and was ruled by various dynasties in different periods. The rulers were of Indian origin or came from other parts of the world, especially from west or north. They settled here forever instead of returning to their homeland outside India.

This is a chronology of important dynasties of ancient India. In part one, I have given timeline of dynasties from Gangatic plain and Northern India. The timeline covers 700 BC to 1200 AD period.

For the timeline of ancient dynasties from Deccan and South India, please see part II of this article.

Shishunaga Dynasty 413 BCE–345 BCE

Shishunaga dynasty was one of the oldest dynasties of ancient India. The capital city of Shishunaga empire was Rajgrahi, which was later migrated to Patliputra, i.e. present day Patna, Bihar.

Shishunaga was the founder of this dynasty. (413-395 BCE). Mahanandi (367-345 BCE) was another famous ruler of this dynasty.

The rulers of this dynasty were follower of Jainism and Buddhism.

Nanda Dynasty 345 to 321 BCE

Nanda Dynasty was another pre-Mauryan famous dynasty of ancient India. The Capital of Nanda Empire was Pataliputra. The Nanda kings were mighty, powerful and they ruled a vast area of India.

Mahapadma Nand (345-329 BCE) and Dhananand (329-321 BCE) were most famous kings of this dynasty.

Jainism was the major religion followed by the Kings and their subjects.

Mauyran Empire in 265 BCE
Mauyran Empire in 265 BCE | Source

Mauryan Dynasty 322 to 185 BCE

Chandragupt Maurya Founded this dynasty by defeating Dhananand, the Nanda King..BCE). The capital of Mauryan Empire was Pataliputra and after division of the empire, Ujjain became another capital.

Apart from Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusar, Ashok, Samprati and Brihadratha were the famous emperors of Mauryan Dynasty. They were followers of either Jainism or Ajivika or Buddhism.

Shunga Dynasty 185 to 75 BCE

Shunga dynasty was founded by Pushyamitra Shung. He was General of Brihadratha, the last King of Mauryan Dynasty. He killed Brihadratha and became the ruler to Magadhan Empire.

Pataliputra and Vidisha were Capitals of Shunga Dynasty.

Pushyamitra Shung (185-151 BCE) and Devabhuti (83-75 BCE) were notable Kings of this dynasty. Their religion was Vedic and they also supported Jainism

Kharvelas Empire
Kharvelas Empire | Source

Mahameghavahan Dynasty 250 BCE to 400 CE

Mahameghavahan was founder of Mahameghavahan Dynasty. His Capital was Singhpura in Kalinga region, which is present day Orissa.

7 Kings of this dynasty ruled a major part of ancient India. Mahameghavahana, Chetraja and Kharvel were most famous Kings of this dynasty. This dynasty sported and followed Jainism.

Western Kshatrapa Empire
Western Kshatrapa Empire | Source

Kushanas 30 CE to 375 CE

Kushan Dynasty was founded by Heraios.

Some of the notable rulers of this dynasty were: TKujula Kadphises (CE 30 to CE 80), Vima Taktu or Sadashkana (CE 80 to CE 95), Vima Kadphises (CE 95 to CE 127), Kanishka I (CE127 to 140), Vāsishka (CE 140 to CE160), Huvishka (CE160 to CE 190), Vasudeva I (CE 190 CE 230)

Their Capitals were at the cities of: Bagram, Peshawar, Taxila and Mathura.

Kshatrapas (Western Kshatrapas) 35 CE to 405 CE

The Kshatraps ruled Western part of India. Their Capital were the cities of Ozone and Barygaza

Abhiraka, Rudrasimha and Nahapan were notable rulers of this dynasty.

Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire | Source

Gupta Dynasty 320 CE to 600 CE

Sri Gupta founded Gupta Dynasty in 320 CE.

Apart from Sri Gupta, other famous rulers of this dynasty were: Chandragupta I, Samudra Gupta, Ramgupta, Chandragupta II, Vikramaditya, Kumargupta and Skandgupta

The Capital of Gupta Empire was Patliputra.

Chahman Dynasty (Chauhans) 7th Century CE to 14th Century CE

Capital: Ajmer, Ranthambore

Famous Rulers of this Dynasty were: Prithviraj Chauhan, Guga, Hammir Dev Chahan, Kanhad and Dev Sonigara

Shaivism and Jainism were major religions of the rulers and their subjects.

Parmars 800CE to 1327 CE

Parmar Dynasty was founded by Upendra. 25 Kings of this Dynasty ruled Western region of India. Their Capital was at Dhar

Some of the notable rulers of this dynasty were: Upendra (800-818), Siyaka (818-843), Siyaka II (948-974), Vakpatiraja II (974-995), Sindhuraja (995-1010), Bhoja I (1010-1055), Udayaditya (1068-1087), Narvarmandeva (1094-1134) and Yashovarman (1134-1142)

Like many other rulers, Shaivism and Jainism were the major religions of this dynasty.

Pala Dynasty (900CE to 100 CE)

Pala Dynasty was founded by Brahma Pala (900-920 CE).

Notable rulers of this Dynasty were: Brahma Pala (900-920), Ratna Pala (920-960), Indra Pala (960-990), Go Pala (990-1015), Harsha Pala (1015-1035), Dharma Pala (1035-1060), Jaya Pala (1075-1100)

Their Capital was at Durjaya (Guwahati)

Chandelas 10th Century CE to 13th Century CE

Founder: Nannuka

Famous Rulers: Nannuka, Vidyadhar and Keerat Pal Singh

Religions: Shaivism, Jainism

Senas (1070CE-1230 CE)

Sena Dynasty was founded by Hemanta Sen at Nabadwip.

Famous Rulers of this Dynasty were: Hemanta Sen (1070–1096 AD), Vijay Sen (1096–1159 AD), Ballal Sen (1159–1179 AD), Lakshman Sen (1179–1206 AD), Vishwarup Sen (1206–1225 AD)

They followed Hinduism (Shaivism).

© 2013 Mahaveer Sanglikar


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  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 3 years ago from Pune, India

    Thanks, ologsinquito ...

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    India is a great country and those of us who live in America know so little about it. I'm pinning this to one of my boards.

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    buddhaanalysis 3 years ago

    Pala were Buddhist.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Great writing here an informative and well approached hub on this title.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Once again very interesting information about your culture. Thank you as always for the education.