Vidarbha kingdom was one among the many kingdoms ruled by Yadava kings (Bhoja Yadavas) in the central and western India. It was the southern most kingdom known to the kings of Gangatic Plain until they explored Southern India.

Damayanti, the wife of Nala was the princess of Vidarbha. Similarly Rukmini, the eldest wife of Vasudeva Krishna was from Vidarbha. Sage Agastya's wife Lopamudra, also was a princess from the country of Vidarbha. Kundinapuri was its capital, which is identified as Kundapur in the eastern Maharashtra. Rukmini's brother Rukmi founded another kingdom with capital Bhojakata, close to Vidarbha proper. During the Kurukshetra War, when all other kingdoms participated in the battle, Vidarbha under Rukmi stayed neutral, because his army was rejected by both Pandavas and Kauravas who were the two parties engaged in the war. It is not clear if any other king from Vidarbha participated in the war. There is a mention at MBh 6:51, that a Vidarbha army sided with Kauravas under the generalissimo Bhishma.

References in Mahabharata

King Bhima of Vidarbha

King Bhima is mentioned as the ancient ruler of Vidarbha at many places in Mahabharata. (MBh 3:53 to 77). The famous princess Damayanti was his daughter. She was wedded to the Nishadha prince Nala.

The southern route connecting Vidarbha and Ayodhya

Mahabharata gives clues on a route that exsited in ancient times connecting Vidarbha to the northern kingdoms like Kosala.

The following conversation between Nala and Damayanti describes many ancient roads or pathways connecting kingdoms of north, south and central India of ancient times. (MBh 3:61)

These many roads lead to the southern country, passing by (the city of) Avanti and the Rikshavat mountains. This is that mighty mountain called Vindhya; yon, the river Payasvini running sea-wards, and yonder are the asylums of the ascetics, furnished with various fruit and roots. This road leadeth to the country of the Vidarbhas—and that, to the country of the Kosalas. Beyond these roads to the south is the southern country.

Rituparna,the king (of Ayodhya, Kosala), arrived at the city of the Vidarbhas. The people brought unto king Bhima (of Vidarbha) the tidings (of his arrival). And at the invitation of Bhima, the king entered the city of Kundina

The king of Kosala reflected a while and at length said, ‘I have come here to pay my respects to thee.’ And the king Bhima was struck with astonishment, and reflected upon the (probable) cause of Rituparna’s coming, having passed over a hundred yojanas. And he reflected, ‘That passing by other sovereigns, and leaving behind him innumerable countries, he should come simply to pay his respect to me is scarcely the reason of his arrival.

Other References

  • A Vidarbha princess Susrava is mentioned at MBh 1:95. She was wedded to a prince named Jayatsena, of the Lunar Dynasty. Avachina was her son.
  • Ikshwaku King Sagara is mentioned to have a Vidarbha princess
  • Sage Agastya is mentioned to have a Vidrabha princess as his wife.
  • A river named Payoshni is mentioned to be flowing through this kingdom. Its fine landing place was constructed by the king of Vidarbha. (MBh 3:120).

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Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 13 Jan 2010 09:23 and updated at 05 Jun 2010 08:37

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