Sometimes referred to as Banga, Vanga was an early Iron Age kingdom in East Banga (covering
parts of West Bengal,
and neighbouring Samatata)
apparently also had an extension to the coast, perhaps at the mouth of the
Ganges. Along with
it was ruled by one of five originally non-Vedic royal houses.
They were all descended from King Vali, according to the
Mahabharata, who himself may have been the king of
The Mahabharata mentions that the Pandava Prince Bhima
captured Vanga along with the other sister kingdoms (Pundra was defeated by
Arjuna, brother of Bhima), and forced to become vassals of King Yudhistira in retaliation for
their providing help to the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra War. Only two of
Vanga's kings have been recorded for posterity.
(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)
In Kalidasa's Raghuvangsha (written in the fourth
or fifth century AD) the conquests of Raghu of the Ikshvaku dynasty are
described., After having defeated the
Suhmas he exterminates the Vangas, who
are said to be able naval people (nausadhanodyatan). Raghu then sets
up pillars of victory in the islands situated between the channels of the
Ganges. This clearly indicates the location of Vanga (or part of it) in the
triangular deltaic land between the two main streams of the Ganges, the
Bhagirathi and the Padma.