Magadha mŭ´gädə [key], ancient Indian kingdom, situated within the area of the modern states of Bihar and Jharkhand . Its capital was Pataliputra (now Patna ). The kingdom rose to prominence in the mid-7th cent. BC and rapidly extended its frontiers, especially under the rule of Bimbisara (c.540–c.490). Magadha fell (c.325) to Chandragupta , who made the kingdom the nucleus of the Mauryan empire. After a period of obscurity, it recovered importance in the 4th cent. AD as the power-base of the Gupta dynasty. Buddhism and Jainism first developed in Magadha, and the Buddha used the Magadhi dialect of Sanskrit.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asian History