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Ancient Janapadas in Himachal Pradesh

The Janapadas, formed by Aryans, were the following:

The epic Mahabharata testifies that Audumbaras were descendents of the sage Vishwamitra, who founded the ‘gotra’ of the ‘Kaushika’ group. They were one of the famous tribes of ancient Himachal Pradesh. Their coins have been found in Kangra, Jawalamukhi, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur regions. A Buddhist scholar named Chandragomin (5th century A.D.) refers to the Audumbaras in his book “Vritti‘ as a section of ‘shalvas’. Mention of Shalvas has also been made in the ‘Satapatha Brahamana‘, a work of 8th century B.C. This refers to the fact, that there were many constituent unit of shalvas, and Audumbaras were also one of them. The coins, inscribed with ‘Brahmi’ and ‘Kharosthi’ legends, throw adequate light on the form of Government prevailing during that period. They were Shaivite’ in faith. Panini a great Sanskrit scholar who lived most probably in 5th century B.C. has also made mention about Audumbaras, along with the people of Jalandhara in his ‘Ganapatha‘.
The Audumbaras were advantageously situated on the great route of commerce which ran for Takshila to the Gangetic valley, and it was route from Magadha to Kashmir. Number of coins of the tribe has been found in Pathankot which shows that Pathankot was junction of commercial route.
Their coins inscribed in Brahmi and Kharoshthi. Their coins have an additional word “Mahadeva along with Raja of the tribe.” Coins also shows figure of bull (Nandi). Coins were made up of copper and silver.
The tribe Audumbaras had republican system with an elected king. Sheep rearing was one of the occupations of people. Local industries contributed a major source of their wealth. Their economic affluence is also testified to by Buddhist texts like ‘the Vinaya‘.

Trigarta came into existence some time around 8th-5th century B.C. It was founded by Susharma Chandra, who helped ‘the Kauravas’ in the Mahabharta war.
The original seat of the Susharma’s family was said to be at Multan. He built the fort of Nagarkot. It is believed that Trigarta and Jalandhra were used inter-changeably for the whole region. Jalandhara was the name of the country in the plains and Trigarta of that in the hillsTrigarta denotes the region drained by three rivers, the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj. Modern Kangra was called Trigarta in the past. Trigarta is the oldest princely state in Hinmachal Pradesh. It also found mention in the Mahabharta, the Puranas and the work of Panini. The dwellers of the area were called by Panini as Ayudhajivis’ (one who earn by means of war).
The first historical mention of Trigarta was found in the writings of Sanskrit scholar Panini. He called it a confederation of six states known as ‘Trigarta- Shashthas‘. Trigarta represent a second group of mountainous Sanghas being counted amongst ‘Parvatasrainah’ along with the Niharas, Darvas, Karna Pravarnas etc. who formed the North-Western group. The Kashika mentions the six members of this confederacy as:
1. Kaundoparatha
2. Kraushakti
3. Dandaki
4. Janaki
5. Jalamani
6. Brahmagupta
The existence of Trigarta as an independent republic in the 2nd century B.C. is indicated by a coin bearing the legend Trakata- Janapadasa’ in Brahmi script and the traces of the same inscription in Kharosthi. The coin is square in shape.


The area located in the upper Beas valley found mention in ‘the Ramayana’, ‘the Mahabharta’ and ‘the Vishnu Purana‘. The ‘Brihatsamhita’ and the ‘Markandya Purana‘ also mention about it. Its ancient capital was “Naggar” on the Beas river.
Vishakha Dutt, the author of ‘Mudrarakshasa’, discussed ‘Kuluta’ as a separate political entity. According to him Chandragupta Maurya
(324 B.C.) had an alliance with Himalayan states, which gave him an army recruited from a variety of people. The oldest historical record of the Kulutas is the legend on a coin found in the Kullu valley bearing the name ‘Virayasasyarajna
Kulutasya’ (of the Kuluta King Virayasa). The probable date of this coin is about 100 A.D. The coin is made of copper.
The coin was inscribed in Sanskrit form bearing the impression of ‘Prakrit’ and ‘Kharosthi’ on the reverse. But the name of Kullu raja, mentioned on the coins (Virayas) is not available in the ‘Vamshavali’ of the Kullu-rajas. Kullu tradition says that the founder of the state was one BIHANGMANI, who came to the valley
from Prayag. It means that second Kullu state was founded in the Pre- Gupta period.

4. THE KUNINDAS (or Kulindas):

The other group of people which find mention in ‘the Mahabharta’, ‘the Vishnu Purana’, ‘the Vayu Purana’ and ‘the Markandeya Purana‘ were Kulindas or Kunindas. The Mahabharta mentions that the Kulinda people were conquered by Arjuna. From description in the epic, it may be concluded that they were mountaineers and neighbours of the Trigartas. Kunindas or Kulindas were a hill people who lived in the area lying between the rivers Beas, Satluj and the Yamuna i.e. Sirmaur and Shimla hills and between Ambala and Saharanpur in the plains. The coins of Kulindas have also been found in the territory between Ambala and Saharanpur on the plains and on the Shivalik hills. In the modern period, we can identify Kunindas with the Kanets or Kunets, who form the bulk of population of Kullu, the Shimla hills and the Sirmaur hills. The names Kunindas or Kulindas are still preserved in the district of Kullu on the
Beas, Kinnaur on the Satluj, and Sirmaur on the Giri river. The names “Mavi’ or ‘Mavana’ given to the Kanets and the Khashas designate the ancient inhabitants of the hills, whom they identify as their ancestors.
They issued silver and copper coins. The silver coin had the prakrit script in obverse and Kharoshthi in the reverse and copper coin inscribed mainly in Brahami script. The coins of Kunindas have also been found in the territory between Ambala and Saharanpur hills.Their coin bear “Rajnah kunindayas Amoghabhutisya” which shows that all the members of the tribal assembly were called rajas and head or chief of the house was called Maharaja.
The other coins bearing in the title “Amoghabhuti” which is not a person but official title. Kunindas lost their independence with the entry of Shakas during 3″ century AD and reappeared only with the decline of Kushana Empire as they joined hands with Yaudheyas to get Kushana out for eastern Punjab. Kunindas had republican form of government.

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