According to Mahabodhivamsa, Dhana Nanda was the last ruler of the Nanda dynasty. He was one of nine sons of Mahapadma Nanda. Plutarch tells that Androkottos or Chandragupta Maurya had stated that Nanda was hated and despised by his subjects on account of the wickedness of his disposition and meanness of his origin.[1][2][3]

Dhana Nanda
A map of Dhana Nanda's empire
Dhana Nanda's empire
Last Nanda Emperor
Reignc. 329 – c. 321BCE[citation needed]
PredecessorMahapadma Nanda
SuccessorEmpire abolised Chandragupta Maurya as Mauryan emperor
Diedc. 321 BC
  • Durdhara (according to jain tradition)
  • Pabbata
  • Shaurya Nanda
  • Nandini
FatherMahapadma Nanda



Information about Dhana Nanda is available from the Greek works of Curtius, Diodorus and Plutarch and Justin.[4]


Dhana Nanda is referred to as Agrammes or Xandrames by Diodorus (Greek historian). The name Agrammes is possibly a distorted form of the Sanskrit Augrasainya (son or descendent of Ugrasena).[5][6]


Dhana Nanda inherited the throne from his father Mahapadma Nanda.[6] Although it could be said that the Dhana Nanda reign was very unpopular among the people and the neighboring states, a possible explanation of this unpopularity could be financial extortion.[7]


Dhana Nanda is described as a powerful king who ruled over the Prasii (Prachya, i.e. the eastern people) and the Gangaridai (the people of the lower Ganga valley in Southern Bengal).[6][8] During his reign, the Nanda Empire extended from Bihar and Bengal in the east to Punjab and Sindh in the west.[9] He had four ministers - Bandu, Subandu, Kubera and Sakatala.[10] Sakatala emptied Dhana Nanda's treasury for purchasing peace from Mleccha invaders. He was then punished by the King for the act by casting into a subterranean dungeon along with his family with handful of grains and little water. The food and water being sufficient for only one human, all died but Sakatala himself. The foreign kings invaded again and Nanda requested of Sakatala's assistance which he denied. Sakatala found Chanakya to take his revenge from Dhana Nanda by ending his rule.[11]

Shaktar (395–319 BC) was the Prime minister of Dhana Nanda - the last king of the Nanda Dynasty, which originated from the region of Magadha in ancient India during the 5th and 4th centuries BC. At its greatest extent, the Nanda Empire extended from Bengal in the east, to Punjab in the west and as far south as the Vindhya Range.[12]

The Nanda ArmyEdit

King Dhana Nanda inherited the vast empire of his father. The army of Emperor Dhana Nanda consisted of a large number of cavalry, infantry, chariots and elephants. As described by Diodorus and Quintus Curtius Rufus, the army consisted of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 war chariots and 3,000 war elephants.[6][13] According to Plutarch however, it was even larger, numbering 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8,000 war chariots, and 6,000 war elephants. Also according to the Greek sources, the Nanda army was five times larger than the Macedonian army.Alexander invaded north west frontier of india in his reign in 326BC.[14]

Defeat and deathEdit

The exact circumstances surrounding the death of Dhana Nanda are unclear. Some accounts suggest that Dhana Nanda was killed by Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan Empire, after the latter captured Pataliputra, the capital of Nandas. Other accounts however suggest that after Pataliputra was stealthily captured by Chanakya, Dhana Nanda was sent into exile and was never heard of again. According to the Jain work Parishishtaparvan, Chandragupta Maurya allowed him to leave Pataliputra along with his two wives, after granting his daughter Durdhara permission to marry Chandragupta.[15][13] It is also suggested that Dhana Nanda was killed on Chanakya's orders during exile, thus clearing the path for Chandragupta's kingship.[citation needed]

Some other accounts also suggest that as Dhana Nanda had taken to Buddhism before exile, renouncing life completely after his clan was wiped out in a coup. Not being a threat to Chanakya's plans, he was therefore allowed to live.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Mahajan, V.D. (2010), "Chapter XVIII : The Rise of Magadha Section (h) The Nandas", Ancient India, S.Chand, pp. 251–253, ISBN 8121908876
  2. ^ Bongard-Levin, G. (1979), A History of India, Moscow: Progress Publishers, p. 264
  3. ^
  4. ^ Mookerji 1988, p. 6-7.
  5. ^ Sastri 1988, p. 14.
  6. ^ a b c d Upinder Singh 2016, p. 273.
  7. ^ Mahajan, V.D. (2010). "Chapter XVIII : The Rise of Magadha Section (h) The Nandas". Ancient India. S.Chand. pp. 251–253. ISBN 8121908876.
  8. ^ Sastri 1988, p. 16.
  9. ^ Mookerji 1988, p. 28–33.
  10. ^ Rice 1889, p. 8.
  11. ^ Rice 1889, p. 9.
  12. ^ Radha Kumud Mookerji, Chandragupta Maurya and His Times, 4th ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1988 [1966]), 31, 28–33.
  13. ^ a b Mookerji 1988, p. 34.
  14. ^ Bongard-Levin, G. (1979). A History of India. Moscow: Progress Publishers. p. 264.
  15. ^ Mookerji 1988, p. 14.


Dhana Nanda
Preceded by
Mahapadma Nanda
Nanda Emperor
Succeeded by
(Mauryan Dynasty)