A silver coin of 1 karshapana of King Mahapadma Nanda or his sons (345-321 BCE)
|First Emperor of Nanda Empire|
|Reign||c. 4th century BCE|
|Mother||a Shudra queen|
Mahapadma Nanda (IAST: Mahāpadmānanda; c. 4th century BCE), according to the Puranas, was the first Emperor of the Nanda Empire of ancient India. The Puranas describe him as a son of the last Shaishunaga king Mahanandin and a Shudra woman, and credit him with extensive conquests. The different Puranas variously give the length of his reign as 28 or 88 years, and state that his eight sons ruled in succession after him.
The Buddhist texts don't mention him, and instead name the first Nanda ruler as robber-turned-king Ugrasena, who was succeeded by his eight brothers, the last of whom was Dhana Nanda.
According to the Puranas, the first Nanda king was called Mahapadma or Mahapadma-pati (literally, "lord of immense wealth"). He was the son of the last Shaishunaga king Mahanandin and a Shudra woman.
The Puranas describe him as ekarat (sole sovereign) and sarva-kshatrantaka (destroyer of all the Kshatriyas). The Kshastriyas (warriors and rulers) said to have been exterminated by Mahapadma include Maithalas, Kasheyas, Ikshvakus, Panchalas, Shurasenas, Kurus, Haihayas, Vitihotras, Kalingas, and Ashmakas.
The Matsya Purana assigns Mahapadma an incredibly long reign of 88 years, while the Vayu Purana mentions the length of his reign as only 28 years. The Puranas further state that Mahapadma's eight sons ruled in succession after him for a total of 12 years, but name only one of these sons: Sukalpa.