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Bimbisara's jail, where King Bimbisara was imprisoned, in Rajgir

Bimbisara (Sanskrit: बिम्भिसार, 558 BC—491 BC)[1][2] was a king of the Magadha empire from 543 BC to his death and belonged to the Hariyanka dynasty.[3]


There are many accounts of Bimbisara in the Jain texts and the Buddhist Jatakas, since he was a contemporary of Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. He was the king of magadha. He acquired Anga after defeating Brahmadatta and placed it under the viceroyalty of his son Ajatashatru, with its capital at Champa. King Bimbisara was a disciple of Mahaveer and frequently sought his teachings. According to Buddhist scriptures, King Bimbisara met the Buddha for the first time prior to the Buddha's enlightenment, and later became an important disciple. He is recorded to have attained sotapannahood, a degree of enlightenment in Buddhist teachings. However, the Jain scriptures say he was a Jain.

As per Jainism texts, he is referred to as King Shrenik of Rajgrih (being the possessor of a large army). Bimbisar sent Jeewak to Ujjain for medical treatment of King Prodyot,the king of Avanti.

Marriage alliances

Family tree showing Mahavira's relation to King Bimbisara

Bimbisara used marriage alliances to strengthen his position. His first wife was Kosala-devī, the daughter of Mahā Kosala the king of Kosala, and a sister of Prasenjit. His bride brought him Kashi, which was then a mere village, as dowry.[4] This marriage also ended the hostility between Magadha and Kosala and gave him a free hand in dealing with the other states. Bimbisara's second wife, Chellana, was a Lichchhavi princess from Vaishali.[5] As per Indologist Hermann Jacobi, Mahavira (Vardhamana) was related to Queen Chellana who was daughter of King Chetaka, Mahaviras uncle. Bimbisara's third wife, Kshema, was a daughter of the chief of the Madra clan of Punjab.[6]


Tradition tells us that Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son Ajatashatru who is said to have starved him to death. This is reported to have taken place around 491 BC.[3]


  1. Rawlinson, Hugh George. (1950) A Concise History of the Indian People, Oxford University Press. p. 46.
  2. Muller, F. Max. (2001) The Dhammapada And Sutta-nipata, Routledge (UK). p. xlvii. ISBN 0-7007-1548-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stearns, Peter N. (2001) The Encyclopedia of World History, Houghton Mifflin. pp. 76-78. ISBN 0-395-65237-5.
  4. Eck, Diana. (1998) Banaras, Columbia University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-231-11447-8.
  5. Luniya, Bhanwarlal Nathuram. (1967) Evolution of Indian Culture, Lakshmi Narain Agarwal. p. 114.
  6. Krishna, Narendra. (1944) History of India, A. Mukherjee & bros. p. 90.
  • G.P.Singh "Early Indian Historical Tradition and Archaelogy"; page 164
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor of Magadha
545 BCE – 493 BCE
Succeeded by

cs:Bimbisára eu:Binbisara ko:빔비사라 id:Bimbisara ja:ビンビサーラ pt:Bimbisara ru:Бимбисара sv:Bimbisara ta:பிம்பிசாரன் th:พระเจ้าพิมพิสาร vi:Tần-bà-sa-la