Kuru Kingdom

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Kuru Kingdom
Sanskrit: कुरु

c. 1200 BC–c. 800 BC

The position of the Kuru kingdom in late Vedic period
Capital Āsandīvat, also Indraprastha (modern Delhi) and Hastinapura
Languages Vedic Sanskrit
Religion Hinduism
Government Monarchy
Historical era Iron Age
 -  Established c. 1200 BC
 -  Disestablished c. 800 BC
Today part of  India

Kuru (Sanskrit: कुरु) was the name of a Vedic Aryan tribal union in northernnote 1 Iron Age India, which appeared in the Middle Vedic period2 (ca.1200-850 BCE) and developed into the first recorded state-level society in South Asia around 1000 BCE.3note 2 It decisively changed the Vedic heritage of the early Vedic period, collecting the Vedic hymns into collections, and developing new rituals which gained their position in Indian civilization as the orthodox srauta rituals,3 which contributed to the so-called "classical synthesis"4 or "Hindu synthesis".5 In the Late Vedic period (ca.850-500 BCE) it was one of several Mahajanapada states in the north of India.6


The later Kuru state in the Mahajanapada period, c. 600 BCE

The Kurus figure prominently in the later Rigveda. The Kurus here appear as a branch of the early Indo-Aryans, ruling the Ganga-Jamuna Doab and modern Haryana (earlier Eastern Punjab). The focus in the later Vedic period shifted out of Punjab, into the Doab, and thus to the Kuru clan.7 The increasing number and size of Painted Grey Ware (PGW) settlements in the Doab area shows this. These developments resulted in the substantial enlargement of certain settlements such as Hastinapur and Kaushambi towards the end of the Later Vedic period. These settlements slowly began to acquire characteristics of towns.

The Kuru tribe was formed, in the Middle Vedic period,3 as a result of the alliance and merger between the Bharata and Puru tribes.8 The Atharvaveda (XX.127) refers to certain Parikshita as the "Chief of the Kurus".9 With their center of power in the Kurukshetra region, the Kurus formed the first political center of the Vedic period, and were dominant roughly from 1200 to 800 BCE. The first Kuru capital was at Āsandīvat,3 identified with modern Assandh in Haryana.1011 Later literature refers to Indraprastha (modern Delhi) and Hastinapura as the main Kuru cities.3

The Kurus declined after being defeated by the non-Vedic Salva tribe, and the center of Vedic culture shifted east, into the Panchala realm, in Uttar Pradesh.3 In the later Vedic period, the capital of the Kurus was transferred to Kaushambi, in the lower Doab, after Hastinapur was destroyed by floods1 as well as because of upheavals in the Kuru family itself.1213

In the late Vedic period (by the 6th century BC), the Kuru dynasty evolved into Kuru and Vatsa janapadas, ruling over Upper Doab/Delhi/Haryana and lower Doab, respectively. The Vatsa branch of the Kuru dynasty further divided into branches at Kaushambi and at Mathura.14

See also


  1. ^ The Kuru-realm was based in the area of modern Haryana, Delhi and western parts of Uttar Pradesh (the region of Doab, till Prayag/Kaushambi) in northern India.1
  2. ^ also in B. Kölver (ed.)(1997), Recht, Staat und Verwaltung im klassischen Indien. The state, the Law, and Administration in Classical India, München, R. Oldenbourg, p.27-52


  1. ^ a b Pletcher2010, p. 63.
  2. ^ Witzel 1995, p. 6.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Witzel 1995.
  4. ^ Samuel 2010.
  5. ^ Hiltebeitel 2002.
  6. ^ "Kuru Kingdom". 
  7. ^ The Ganges In Myth And History
  8. ^ National Council of Educational Research and Training, History Text Book, Part 1, India
  9. ^ Raychaudhuri, H. C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India: From the Accession of Parikshit to the Extinction of the Gupta Dynasty, Calcutta:University of Calcutta, pp.11
  10. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=AL45AQAAIAAJ&q=asandh
  11. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=DH0vmD8ghdMC&pg=PA177
  12. ^ Kaushambhi.nic.in
  13. ^ All-art.org
  14. ^ Political History of Uttar Pradesh; Govt of Uttar Pradesh, official website.


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