Pundra was an early Iron Age kingdom in
parts of West
Bangladesh, and Bihar for the most part). Also known as Paundra or
Paundraya, it was ruled by one of five originally non-Vedic royal houses, along with
Vanga. They were all descended from King Vali, according
to the Mahabharata, who himself may have been the king of
Like the other kingdoms, Punda gained a mixed non-Vedic and
Aryan heritage. It seems that they abandoned their Bramhanical customs after some
time and were considered to be Mlechas (non-Aryans).
The Mahabharata describes the Pundra
kingdom fighting on the side of the Kauravas against the Pandavas at the
Battle of Kurukshetra. King Pandu of Hastinapura (father of the Pandavas)
subsequently subdued the kingdom in battle, as did his son Bhima, and it
became a vassal to his brother, King Yudhistira. The kingdom is also
mentioned in the Mahabharata as having a King Paundraka Vasudeva who
apparently imitated Lord Vasudeva Krishna of Dwarka. Paundraka was also an
ally of King Jarasandha of Magadha, an arch rival of Lord Krishna.
As a result, Vasudeva Krishna slew him.
(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)
One of the contemporaries of Jarasandha of the Brhadratha dynasty of
Magadha is Jayatsena
of Magadha. Jayatsena takes part in the Kurukshetra War in the
Mahabharata as one of the leaders on the side of Kauravas, along with
Srutayus of Kalinga, Paundraka
Vasudeva of Pundra, Karna of
Anga, and Malayadwaja of the
Pandyas. Bhagadatta of the
Naraka kings is also
involved in the war.
A comical depiction of Paundraka Vasudeva imitating Lord
Vasudeva Krishna of Dwarka
King Pandu of Hastinapura (father of the Pandavas) subdues Pundra in battle,
as does his son Bhima, thanks to the role it had played in the Kurukshetra
War. It becomes a vassal to Pandu's brother, King Yudhistira, and
subsequently disappears from mythology.