Nanda Dynasty

The first Magadha dynasty was overthrown by the usurper Mahapadna, founder of the Nanda dynasty, son of a low-caste woman. He established his capital in Pataliputra (eastern Bihar) at the time that Alexander was campaigning in the Indus river valley (327-324). The Nandas ruled Magadha between 364 B.C. and 324 B.C. Dhanananda was the last of the Nanda Kings. Magadha had become a very powerful kingdom by that time. It had expanded upto the Punjab in the West. Chandragupta Maurya, an ambitious young man, attacked and conquered Magadha. That was the end of the Nanda rule.

In the history of India, the Nanda period is considered to be important from many points of view. The Nanda kings had set up a good administrative system necessary to run the huge empire. This system continued even during the Maurya period. The Nanda Kings had a huge four-fold army of two lakh infantry, twenty thousand cavalry, two thousand chariots and three thousand elephants. The Nandas introduced the stem of standard weights and measures. The Nanda Kings were lovers of art and literature. They provided patronage to many scholars. The 'well-known grammarian Panini belongs to this period.