Founder of Shishunaga dynasty
Reign c.412 – c.395 BCE
Predecessor Nāgadāsaka (of Haryanka dynasty)
Successor Kalashoka (Kakavarna)
Issue Kalashoka
Dynasty Shishunaga

Shishunaga (or Shusunaga) (c. 444 – 363 BCE) was the founder of the Shishunaga dynasty of the Magadha Empire in the present day northern India. Initially, he was an amatya (official) of the Magadha empire under the Haryanka dynasty. He was placed on the throne by the people who revolted against the Haryanka dynasty rule. The Puranas tell us that he placed his son at Varanasi and himself ruled from Girivraja (Rajagriha). He was succeeded by his son Kalashoka (Kakavarna).

Early life

According to the Mahavamsatika, Shishunaga was a son of a Licchavi ruler of Vaishali.[1] He was conceived by a nagara-shobhini and brought up an officer of state. At the time of the revolt, he was a viceroy at Varanasi of king Nagadasaka, the last ruler of the Haryanka dynasty.[2]


Shishunaga ruled from 413 BCE to 395 BCE.[3][4] Initially, his capital was Rajagriha and Vaishali was his second royal residence. Later he shifted his capital to Vaishali. His most significant achievement was the destruction of the 'glory' of the Pradyota dynasty of the Avanti kingdom. Most probably the king of Avanti whom Shishunaga humbled was Avantivardhana. The Magadhan victory must have been helped by the revolution that placed Aryaka on the thone of Ujjayini.[2]

The Puranas tell us that he placed his son at Varanasi and himself ruled from Girivraja (Rajagriha).[5][6]


During Shishunag's rule practically the whole of India (present day India excluding the regions of Tamil Nadu south of Madurai, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh) was under his rule. In 425 BC he annexed Jaipur to his empire. By 405 BC he subdued the last of mahajanapadas. From period of 422 BC to 415 BC he annexed Sindh, Multan, Lahore, Kabul, Herat, Chagcharan, Anjuri, Kandahar, Karachi and Vellore. His Territories spread up to Kochi and Madurai in the South to Shardu and Danyor in the North, Murshidabad and Dakhinpara and Hamren in the East to Mand and Herat in the West in 413 BC.

He was succeeded by his son Kalashoka (Kakavarna).[2]



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