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Map of the Mahajanapadas

The earliest reference to Angas (अंग) occurs in the Atharava Veda (V.22.14) where they find mention along with the Magadhas, Gandharis and the Mujavatas, all apparently as a despised people.

The Jain Prajnapana ranks the Angas and the Vangas in the first group of Aryan peoples.

According to Buddhist texts like the Anguttara Nikaya, Anga was one of the sixteen great nations (solas Mahajanapadas) which had flourished on the eastern Indian subcontinent in the 6th century BC.

Anga also finds mention in the Jain Bhagvati-Sutra's list of ancient Janapadas.



The Puranic texts like the Garuda Purana, Vishnu-Dharmottara, and the Markendeya Purana divide the ancient Janpada horizon into nine divisions and place the Janapadas of the Angas, Kalingas, Vangas, Pundras or Pundra Kingdom (now some part of Eastern Bihar i.e. Purnea, West Bengal and Bangladesh), Vidarbhas, and Vindhya-vasis in the Purva-Dakshina division. (Garuda 55.12; V.D. I.9.4; Markendeya P. 56.16-18).

Based on Mahabharata evidence, the kingdom of the Angas roughly corresponded to the region of Bhagalpur, Banka and Monghyr in Bihar and parts of Bengal; later extended to include most of Bengal. The River Champa (modern Chandan) formed the boundaries between the Magadha in the west and Anga in the east. Anga was bounded by river Koshi on the north. According to the Mahabharata, Duryodhana had named Karna the King of Anga.

Sabhaparava of Mahabharata (II.44.9) mentions Anga and Vanga as forming one country. The Katha-Sarit-Sagara also attests that Vitankapur, a city of Anga was situated on the shores of the sea. Thus the boundaries of Anga may have extended to the sea in the east.

The capital of Anga was Champa. According to Mahabharata and Harivamsa, Champa was formerly known as Malini. Champa was located on the right bank of river Ganga near its junction with river Champa. It was a very flourishing city and is referred to as one of six principal cities of ancient India (Digha Nikaya). In the Jataka stories, the city of Champa is also referred to as Kala-Champa. Maha-Janaka Jataka states that the city was located about sixty yojanas (one yojana = 16.4 km) from Mithila. The relics of actual site of ancient Champa are stated to still exist near Bhagalpur in Bihar in the names of two villages called Champanagara and Champapura.

Champa was noted for its wealth and commerce. It was also a great center of trade and commerce and its merchants regularly sailed to distant Suvarnabhumi for trading purposes. The ancient name of region and kingdom of Champa of central Vietnam (Lin-yi in Chinese records) apparently has its origin in this east Indian Champa.

Other important cities of Anga are said to be Assapura and Bhadrika.

Origin of Name

Mahabharata (I.104.53-54) and Puranic literature (Matsya Purana: 48.19) attest that the name Anga had originated eponymously from the name of Prince Anga, the founder of the kingdom. Matsya Purana describes the father of this eponymous hero as the chief among the demons (Danavarshabhah).

Ramayana (1.23.14) narrates the origin of name Anga as the place where Kamadeva was burnt to death by Siva and where his body parts(angas) are scattered.[1]


Bodhayana Dharma Sutra groups the Angas with people of mixed origin and Mahbharata brands an Anga prince (not Karana of the Mahabharata) as a mlechcha and barbarian.

The Puranas list several early kings of Anga. The Mahagovinda Suttanta refers to king Dhatarattha of Anga. Jain texts refer to Dhadhivahana, as a ruler of the Angas. Puranas and Harivamsa represent him as the son and immediate successor of Anga, the eponymous founder of the kingdom. Jain traditions place him at the beginning of sixth century BCE.

Between the Vatsas and the realm of Anga, lived the Magadhas, who initially were comparatively a weak people. A great struggle went on between the Angas and its eastern neighbors. The Vidhura Pandita Jataka describes Rajagriha (the Magadhan Capital) as the city of Anga and Mahabharata also refers to a sacrifice performed by the king of Anga at Mount Vishnupada (at Gaya). This indicates that Anga had initially succeeded in annexing the Magadhas, and thus its borders extended to the kingdom of Matsya country.

This success of Angas did not last long. About the middle of 6th century BC, Bimbisara, the crown prince of Magadha had killed Brahmadatta, the last independent king of Anga and seized Champa. Bimbisara made it as his head-quarters and ruled over it as his father's Viceroy. Thenceforth, Anga became an integral part of growing Magadha empire (PHAI, 1996).


See also

External Links angdesh


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Anga is in Bihar.


Anga covers the districts of Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia and Kathihar.

  • Kishanganj
  • Purnia — largest city in Anga
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