Andhra in indian epic literature

Andhra (Telugu: ఆంధ్ర) in Indian epic literature was a kingdom mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It was a southern kingdom. Andhra and Kalinga are often used interchangeably. Andhras are sub-tribes of Andhra satavahanas. The state Andhra Pradesh got its name from this kingdom.

Andhra Tribes are also mentioned in the Vayu and Matsya Purana. In the Mahabharata the infantry of Satyaki was composed of a tribe called Andhras, known for their long hair,tall stature, sweet language, and mighty prowess. They lived along the banks of the Godavari river. Andhras and Kalingas supported the Kauravas during the Mahabharata war. Sahadeva defeated the kingdoms of Pandya, Andhra, Kalinga, Dravida, Odra and Chera while performing the Rajasuya yajna. Buddhist references to Andhras are also found.[1] [2] [3]

The Andhras trace their history to the vedic age. Andhra was mentioned in the Sanskrit epics such as Aitareya Brahmana (800 BCE). According to Aitareya Brahmana of the Rig veda, Andhras left the North India and migrated to South India.[4][5][6] The Andhras were nomads for several centuries. Some tribes migrated and others did not and remained in their older settlements. the Andhra tribes crossed the Vindhya mountains, reached the south, and merged with the other Andhra tribes.They are mentioned at the time of the death of the great Mauryan King Ashoka in 232 BC. This date has been considered to be the beginning of the Andhra historical record. Various dynasties have ruled the area, including the Andhra (or Satavahana), Ikshvakus, Eastern Chalukyas, the Kakatiyas, the Vijayanagar Kingdom.[7]

References in Aitareya Brahmana

Andhras were mentioned in the Aitareya Brahmana (VII.18),They are referred to along with the Pudras, Shabaras, Pulindas and the Mulibas as outcasts since they did not identify their father’s adoption of Shunahshepa (Vedic Sacrifice).

References in Mahabharata

Andhra mentioned as an Ancient Indian (Bharata Varsha) Kingdom

  • Mbh 6.9

....the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Yakrillomans; the Mallas, the Suddellas, the Pranradas, the Mahikas, the Sasikas; the Valhikas, the Vatadhanas, the Abhiras or Ahirs, the Kalajoshakas; the Aparantas, the Parantas, the Pahnabhas, the Charmamandalas; the Atavisikharas, the Mahabhutas, O sire; the Upavrittas, the Anupavrittas, the Surashatras, Kekayas; the Kutas, the Maheyas, the Kakshas, the Samudranishkutas; the Andhras........

Pandava Sahadeva's conquests

  • Mbh 2.30

Sahadeva brought under his subjection and exacted tributes from the Paundrayas (Pandyas), Andhras, Kalingas, Dravidas, Udrakeralas, Ushtrakarnikas, and also the delightful city of Atavi and that of the Yavanas.

Karna's conquests

  • Mbh 7.4

The Utpalas, the Mekalas, the Paundras, the Kalingas, the Andhras, the Nishadas, the Trigartas, and the Valhikas, were all vanquished by Karna.

Vasudeva Krishna, the slayer of Chanura of Andhra Kingdom

Vasudeva Krishna is mentioned as the slayer of Chanura of the Andhra country. (13,149)

Arjuna's conquests after the Kurukshetra War

In southern regions, battle took place between Arjuna and the Dravidas and Andhras and the fierce Mahishakas and the hillmen of Kolwa. Subjugating those tribes without having to accomplish any fierce feats, Arjuna proceeded to the country of the Surashtras, his footsteps guided by the horse. (14,83)

Andhras present in Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice

  • Mbh 2.33

king Bhagadatta of Pragjyotisha accompanied by all Mlechcha tribes inhabiting the marshy regions on the sea-shore; and many mountain kings, and king Vrihadvala; and Vasudeva the king of the Paundrayas, and the kings of Vanga and Kalinga; and Akastha and Kuntala and the kings of the Malavas and the Andhrakas; and the Dravidas and the Singhalas and the king of Kashmira, and king Kuntibhoja of great energy and king Gauravahana, and all the other heroic kings of Valhika; and Virata with his two sons, and Mavella endued with great might; and various kings and princes ruling in various countries attended Pandava king Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice.

Andhras as the allies of the Pandavas

  • Mbh 5.140

The Dravidas, with the Kuntalas, the Andhras, and the Talacharas, and the Shuchupas, and the Venupas were mentioned as allies of the Pandavas, in the conversation of Vasudeva Krishna and Karna.

Andhras as the allies of Kauravas

  • Mbh 5.161, 5.162

The message sent by Duryodhana to the Pandava:-

The Kamvojas, the Sakas, the Khasas, the Salwas, the Matsyas, the Kurus of the middle country, the Mlechchhas, the Pulindas, the Dravidas, the Andhras, and the Kanchis --- these tribes protect my army.

Andhras in Kurukshetra War

On the side of the Pandavas

  • Mbh 8.12

Decked with ornaments, possessed of red teeth, endued with the prowess of infuriate elephants, attired in robes of diverse colours, smeared with powdered scents, armed with swords and nooses, capable of restraining mighty elephants, companions in death, and never deserting one another, equipped with quivers, bearing bows adorned with long locks, and agreeable in speech were the combatants of the infantry files led by Satyaki, belonging to the Talavana (Tulu kingdom??) tribe, endued with fierce forms and great energy. (The Pandyas, Cholas, Keralas and Dravidas followed Dhrishtadyumna, Sikhandin, Chekitana and the sons of Draupadi.)

On the side of the Kauravas

  • Mbh 8.73

Of terrible deeds and exceedingly fierce, the Tusharas, the Yavanas, the Khasas, the Darvabhisaras, the Daradas, the Sakas, the Kamathas, the Ramathas, the Tanganas the Andhrakas, the Pulindas, the Kiratas of fierce prowess, the Mlecchas, the Mountaineers, and the races hailing from the sea-side, all endued with great wrath and great might, delighting in battle and armed with maces, these all—united with the Kurus and fighting wrathfully for Duryodhana’s sake.

See also

Kingdoms of Ancient India


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  4. ^ "Dance Dialects of India". Ragini Devi. Motilal Bansarsi Dass. ISBN . Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  5. ^ "History of Andhra Pradesh". AP Online. Government of Andhra Pradesh. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "Ancient and medieval history of Andhra Pradesh". P. Raghunadha Rao. Sterling Publishers, 1993. p. iv. Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  7. ^ "Andhra Pradesh - MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. 
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