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Matsya Kingdom was one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) during vedic era as described in the hindu epic Mahabharta and 6th BCE Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya. United State of Matsya was a brief union of 4 princely states of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Alwar and Karauli temporarily put together from 1947 to 1949.
Kingdom of Matsya
|c. 700 BCE–c. 300 BCE|
Matsya Kingdom and other Mahajanapadas in the Post Vedic period.
|Capital||Viratanagari (present-day Biratnagar)|
|Historical era||Bronze Age, Iron Age|
|c. 700 BCE|
|c. 300 BCE|
|Today part of||India (in northeast of Rajasthan state)|
Matsya is Sanskrit for "fish". Matsya is sacred to Hindus as it is one of the avatar (incarnation) of Hindu deity Vishnu which has been described in detail in Matsya Purana. Matsya kingdoms usually have the fish in their state emblem.
Vedic era Matsya KingdomsEdit
Matsya Kingdom was one of the solasa (sixteen) Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms).
By the late Vedic period, they ruled a kingdom located south of the Kurus, and west of the Yamuna river which separated it from the kingdom of the Panchalas. It roughly corresponded to the former state of Jaipur in Rajasthan, and included the whole of Hindaun, Alwar with portions of Bharatpur. The capital of Matsya was at Viratanagari (present-day Bairat) which is said to have been named after its founder king, Virata. In Pali literature, the Matsya tribe is usually associated with the Surasena. The western Matsya was the hill tract on the north bank of the Chambal River. Matsya kingdom was founded by king Matsya who was the twin brother of Satyavati and who was contemporary to Bhishma.
In the early 6th century BCE, Matsya was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, but its power had greatly dwindled and it was of little political importance by the time of Buddha. The Mahabharata (V.74.16) refers to a King Sahaja, who ruled over both the Chedis and the Matsyas, which implies that Matsya once formed a part of the Chedi Kingdom.
Other than the Matsya kingdom to the south of Kuru Kingdom, which falls in the Hindaun and Alwar, Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan, the epic refers to as many as six other Matsya kingdoms. Upaplavya was a notable city of the kingdom. On the 13th year of Pandavas's exile, pandavas and Draupadi stay in matsya kingdom of King Virata.
Modern era United State of MatsyaEdit
After the Indian independence in 1947, the princely states of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Alwar and Karauli were temporarily put together from 1947 to 1949 as the "United State of Matsya", and later in March 1949 after these princely states signed the Instrument of Accession they were merged with the present state of Rajasthan. Matsya Festival is held in Alwar every year in the last week of November to celebrate culture and adventure.