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Haihayas (हैहय) were an ancient confederacy of five ganas (clans), who claimed their common ancestry from Yadu.


Divodasa as King of Kashi

Anusasana Parva/Book XIII Chapter 31 mentions that Divodas defeated Vitahavya and ruled Kashi, Vitahavya acquired Brahmana status. .... While the high-souled Manu in days of yore was employed in righteously ruling his subjects, he obtained a son of righteous soul who became celebrated under the name of Saryati. In Saryati's, two kings took their birth, viz., Haihaya and Talajangha. Both of them were sons of Vatsa. Haihaya had ten wives.


In Kashi there was a king who was the grandfather of Divodasa. The foremost of victorious men, he was known by the name of Haryashva. The sons of king Haihaya, O chief of men (who was otherwise known by the name of Vitahavya), invaded the kingdom of Kasi and advancing to the country that lies between the rivers Ganga and Yamuna, fought a battle with king Haryashva and also slew him in it. Having slain king Haryyaswa in this way, the sons of Haihaya, those great car-warriors, fearlessly went back to their own delightful city in the country of the Vatsas (Vatsapuri).

Meanwhile Haryashva's son Sudeva was installed on the throne of Kashi as its ruler.

The delighter of Kasi, that righteous-souled prince ruled his kingdom for sometime, when the hundred sons of Vitahavya once more invaded his dominions and defeated him in battle. Having vanquished king Sudeva thus, the victors returned to their own city.

After that Divodasa, the son of Sudeva, became installed on the throne of Kashi as its ruler. Realising the prowess of those high-souled princes, viz., the sons of Vitahavya, king Divodasa rebuilt and fortified the city of Baranasi at the command of Indra.

The territories of Divodasa were full of Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, and abounded with Vaishyas and Sudras. And they teemed with articles and provisions of every kind, and were adorned with shops and marts swelling with prosperity. Those territories stretched northwards from the banks of Ganga to the southern banks of Gomati, and resembled a second Amravati (the city of Indra).

The Haihayas once again attacked Kashi. The mighty king Divodasa endued with great splendour, issuing out of his capital, gave them battle. The engagement between the two parties proved so fierce as to resemble the encounter in days of old between the deities (Devas) and the Asuras. King Divodasa fought the enemy for a thousand days at the end of which, having lost a number of followers and animals, he became exceedingly distressed. King Divodasa having lost his army and seeing his treasury exhausted, left his capital and fled away.

Repairing to the delightful retreat of Bhardwaja, joining his hands in reverence, sought the Rishi's protection. Beholding King Divodasa before him, the eldest son of Vrihaspati, viz., Bharadwaja, who was the monarch's priest, said unto him, What is the reason of thy coming here? Tell me everything, O king. I shall do that which is agreeable to thee, without any scruple.'

"The king said, 'O holy one, the sons of Vitahavya have slain all the children and men of my house. I only have escaped with life, totally discomfited by the foe. I seek thy protection. It behoveth thee, O holy one, to protect me with such affection as thou hast for a disciple. Those princes of sinful deeds have slaughtered my whole race, leaving myself only alive.'

Bharadwaja of great energy said, Do not fear! Do not fear! O son of Sudeva, let thy fears be dispelled. I shall perform a sacrifice, O monarch, in order that thou mayst have a son through whom thou shalt be able to smite thousands upon thousands of Vitahavya's party.

After this, the Rishi performed a sacrifice with the object of bestowing a son on Divodasa. As the result thereof, unto Divodasa was born a son named Pratarddana. Immediately on his birth he grew up like a boy of full three and ten years and quickly mastered the entire Vedas and the whole of arms. Aided by his Yoga powers, Bharadwaja of great intelligence had entered into the prince. Indeed, collecting all the energy that occurs in the object of the universe, Bharadwaja put them together in the body of prince Pratarddana. Put on shining mail on his person and armed with the bow, Pratarddana, his praises sung by bards and the celestial Rishis, shone resplendent like the risen star of day. Mounted on his car and with the scimitar tied to his belt, he shone like a blazing fire. With scimitar and shield and whirling his shield as he went, he proceeded to the presence of his sire.

Beholding the prince, the son of Sudeva, viz., king Divodasa, became filled with joy. Indeed, the old king thought the sons of his enemy Vitahavya as already slain. Divodasa then installed his son Pratarddana as Yuvaraja, and regarding himself crowned with success became exceedingly happy. After this, the old king commanded the prince Pratarddana to march against the sons of Vitahavya and slay them in battle. Endued with great powers. Pratarddana, that subjugator of hostile cities speedily crossed Ganga on his car and proceeded against the city of the Vitahavyas. Hearing the clatter produced by the wheels of his car, the sons of Vitahavya, riding on their own cars that looked like fortified citadels and that were capable of destroying hostile vehicles, issued out of their city. Issuing out of their capital, the sons of Vitahavya, who were all skilful warriors cased in mail, rushed with uplifted weapons towards Pratarddana, covering him with showers of arrows. Encompassing him with innumerable cars, the Vitahavyas poured upon Pratarddana showers of weapons of various kinds like clouds pouring torrents of rain on the breast of Himavat. Baffling their weapons with his own, prince Pratarddana endued with mighty energy slew them all with his shafts that resembled the lighting fire of Indra. Their heads struck off with hundreds and thousands of broad-headed arrows, the warriors of Vitahavya fell down with blood-dyed bodies like Kinsuka trees felled by woodmen with their axes on every side.

After all his warriors and sons had fallen in battle, king Vitahavya fled away from his capital to the retreat of Bhrigu. Indeed, arrived there, the royal fugitive sought the protection of Bhrigu. The Rishi Bhrigu assured the defeated king of his protection. Pratarddana followed in the footsteps of Vitahavya. Arrived at the Rishi's retreat, the son of Divodasa said in a loud voice.--Ho, listen ye disciples of the high souled Bhrigu that may happen to be present, I wish to see the sage. Go and inform him of this. Recognising that it was Pratarddana who had come, the Rishi Bhrigu himself came out of his retreat and worshipped that best of kings according to due rites. Addressing him then, the Rishi said,--Tell me, O king, what is thy business. The king, at this, informed the Rishi of the reason of his presence.'

"The king said, 'King Vitahavya has come here, O Brahmana. Do thou give him up. His sons, O Brahmana, had destroyed my race. They had laid waste the territories and the wealth of the kingdom of Kashi. Hundred sons, however, of this king proud of his might, have all been slain by me. By slaying that king himself I shall today pay off the debt I owe to my father. Unto him that foremost of righteous men, viz., the Rishi Bhrigu, penetrated with compassion, replied by saying,--There is no Kshatriya in this retreat. They that are here are all Brahmanas. Hearing these words of Bhrigu that must accord he thought with truth, Pratarddana touched the Rishi's feet slowly and, filled with delight, said,--By this, O holy one, I am without doubt, crowned with success, since this king becomes abandoned by the very order of his birth in consequence of my prowess. Give me thy permission, O Brahmana, to leave thee, and let me solicit thee to pray for my welfare. This king, O founder of the race that goes by the name, has been compelled to leave of the very community of his birth, in consequence of my might.

Dismissed by the Rishi Bhrigu, king Pratarddana then departed from that retreat, having even as a snake vomits forth its real poison and repaired to the place he had come from.

Hahaj by Al Masudi

Al Masudi[2] writes that .... The king of Kandahár, who is one of the kings of Sind and its mountains, is called Hahaj; this name is common to all sovereigns of that country. From his dominions comes the river Raíd, one of the five rivers which form the Mihrán of Sind. Kandahár is called the country of the Rahbút. Another river of the five is called Bahátil, it comes also from the mountains of Sind, and runs through

[p.23]: the country of the Rahbút, which is the country of Kandahár: the fourth river comes from the country of Kábul, and its mountains on the frontier of Sind towards Bust, Ghaznin, Zara'ún, ar-Rukhaj, and the country of Dáwar, which is the frontier of Sijistán. The last of the five rivers comes from the country of Kashmir. The king of Kashmír has the name of Ráí, which is a general title for all the kings. Kashmír forms part of Sind.

ठाकुर देशराज

ठाकुर देशराज[3] ने लिखा है....वैसोरा - यह लोग 10 वीं सदी के अंतिम चरण में थानेश्वर में राज करते थे। राजा हर्ष इनमें से प्रसिद्ध बौद्ध नरेश हुआ है। अलमसऊदी नामक अरबी यात्री ने जो कि 953 ई. में भारत में आया था, इस वंश का जिक्र किया है। उसने राजा हर्ष कोरेश लिखा है। शायद कुरुक्षेत्र का अधिपति होने के कारण उसने ऐसा लिखा होगा। यह भी हो सकता है वैसोरा

[पृ.125]: लोग कुरु लोगों की ही एक शाख हों। अलमसऊदी ने वैसोरा शब्द को बाऊरा लिखा है। श्री सीवी वैद्य ने अपनी अटकल से बावरा को परिहार लिखा है, जो बिल्कुल असंगत है। दिल्ली राजपूताने में हजारों की संख्या में वैसोरा जाट हैं।

सीवी वैद्य को एक और भी भ्रम हुआ है। मसूदी ने कन्दहार में हाहज लोगों का राज बताया है, जिसको आप उपाधि मानते हैं। वास्तव में वे हैहय क्षत्रिय थे।

Haihaya and Jats

James Tod[4] writes that the tribes here alluded to are the Haihaya or Aswa, the Takshak, and the Jat or Getae; the similitude of whose theogony, names in their early genealogies, and many other points, with the Chinese, Tatar, Mogul, Hindu, and Scythic races, would appear to warrant the assertion of one common origin.

Kalika Ranjan Qanungo[5] writes that if the phonetic difficulty alone stands in the way of recognising the Yadava origin of the Jats, there cannot be any objection in identifying the Jats with the Jatas or Sujatas, a branch of the great Haihaya Yadavas. Of the hundred sons of Kartavirya, the five principal were Sura, Surasena, Vrishana, Madhu and Jayadhwaja. From the last sprang up the five great divisions of the Haihaya tribe, the Talajanghas, Vitihotras, Avantyas, Tundikeras, and Jatas also called Sujatas from the prolific number (Wilson's Vishnu Puran pp. 417-418). Wilson seems to entertain a doubt whether the Haihayas are not the Huna and Saka tribes engrafted upon the great genealogical tree of the Aryans by the clever Puranic ethnologists. The Jats were known by the name of Sus, Abars, and many other names, as Beames says.


They have originated from ancestral person in line of Yayati.


Jat Gotras

Jat Gotras originated from Haihayas are:

  • Hinia - They are descendants of people of Haihaya (हैहय) country. [6]

In epics

According to the Harivamsha Purana (34.1898) Haihaya was the great grandson of Yadu and grandson of Sahasrajit.[7] In the Vishnu Purana (IV.11), all the five Haihaya clans are mentioned together as the Talajanghas.[8] The five Haihaya clans were Vitihotra, Sharyata (mentioned elsewhere in the Puranas as the descendants of Sharyati, a son of Vaivasvata Manu), Bhoja, Avanti and Tundikera.[9] The Haihayas migrated from the west to the present-day Malwa region of Western Madhya Pradesh). The Puranas style the Haihayas as the first ruling dynasty of Avanti.[10]

Foundation of Mahishmati

In the Harivamsha (33.1847), the honour of founding their future capital city of Mahishmati (present-day Maheshwar) was attributed to the Haihaya king Mahishmant, son of Sahanja. But according to the Padma Purana (VI.115), the city was actually founded by a certain Mahisha.[11]

Arjuna Kartavirya and his successors

According to the Mahabharata and the Puranas, the most celebrated Haihaya king was Arjuna Kartavirya.[12] His epithet was Sahasrabahu. He was called a Samrat and Chakravartin. His name is found in the Rig Veda (VIII.45.26).[13] He ultimately conquered Mahishmati city from Karkotaka Naga, a Naga chief and made it his fortress-capital.[14]

According to the Vayu Purana, he invaded Lanka and took Ravana prisoner.[15] Arjuna propitiated Dattatreya and was fovoured by him.[16] Arjuna's sons killed sage Jamadagni. Jamadagni's son Parashurama in revenge killed Arjuna. Arjuna had a number of sons. His son Jayadhvaja succeeded him to the throne. Jayadhvaja was succeeded by his son Talajangha.[17]

The Vitihotras

Later, the Haihayas were mostly known by the name of the dominant clan amongst them - the Vitihotras (or Vitahotras or Vitahvyas). According to the Puranas, Vitihotra was the great-grandson of Arjuna Kartavirya and the eldest son of Talajangha. The Puranas also mention the names of two Vitihotra rulers: Ananta, son of Vitihotra and Durjaya Amitrakarshana, son of Ananta[18] The northward expansion of the Haihaya territory to the mid-Ganges valley by the Vitihotra rulers was stopped by the Ikshvaku king Sagara.[19] The Mahagovindasuttanta of the Dighanikaya mentions about an Avanti king Vessabhu (Vishvabhu) and his capital Mahissati (Mahishmati). Probably he was a Vitihotra ruler.[20] Probably, during the rule of the later Vitihotras, the whole Avanti region developed into two realms, divided by the Vindhyas, having principal cities at Mahishmati and Ujjayini (present day Ujjain). According to the Matsya Purana (5.37), Pulika, one of the ministers of Ripunjaya, the last Vitihotra king of Ujjayini killed his master and made his son Pradyota new king.[21]

Chaura Inscription at Mandava Mahal of Ramachandra of Phani or Nagavansha

(In situ)
Genealogical table of Kawardha Nagavanshi rulers

Chaura is a village about 11 miles from Kawardha. In a temple known as Mandava Mahal (मंडवा महल) there is a long inscription on a slab containing 37 lines, which records the construction of a Siva temple by king Ramachandra, born of the Phani or Nagavansha, and married to Ambikadevi of the Haihaya lineage. It gives the legend of the origin of the Nagavansha, somewhat resembling that of the Haihaya-vansha, who claim a serpent and a mare to be their original ancestors. Our record relates that a serpent got enamoured of Mithila, the beautiful daughter of the sage Jatukarna (जाटुकर्ण).

He therefore assumed human form and had intercourse with her. Their issue was Ahiraja, who, having conquered the neighbouring chiefs, set himself up as a king. The kings who followed him are shown in the genealogical table in the picture. Family tree is as under:

1. Ahiraja → 2. Rajalla → 3. Dharnidhara → 4. Mahimadeva → 5. Sarvavandana (Saktichandra ?) → 6. Gopaladeva → 7. Naladeva → 8. Bhuvanapala → 9. Kirtipala 10. Jayatrapala → 11. Mahipala → 12. Vishamapala → 13. Ja(nhu) → 14. Janapala or Vijanapala (or Juvapala ?) → 15. Yasoraja → 16. Kanhadadeva ? (Vallabhadeva ?) → 17. (La)kshmavarma → 18. Khadgadeva → 19. Bhuvanaikamalla → 20. Arjuna → 21. -Bhima → 22. Bhoja

17. (La)kshmavarma → Chandana → Vijjana → Malugideva → 23 Lakshrtiana → 24. Ramachandra → (Arjuna + Haripala)


  1. Anusasana Parva/Book XIII Chapter 31
  2. The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians/III. Al Mas'údí ,p.22-23
  3. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Shashtham Parichhed, p.124-125
  4. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I,, James Todd Annals/Chapter 6 Genealogical history of the Rajput tribes subsequent to Vikramaditya,p. 68
  5. History of the Jats:Dr Kanungo/Origin and Early History,p.11
  6. Mahendra Singh Arya et al: Adhunik Jat Itihas, p. 286
  7. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.87.
  8. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.102
  9. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.102
  10. Raychaudhuri, H.C. (1972) Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta: University of Calcutta, pp.130-1.
  11. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, pp.263,263fn3.
  12. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.265-7
  13. Misra, V.S. (2007). Ancient Indian Dynasties, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-413-8, pp.157-8
  14. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.265-7
  15. Dowson, John (1984). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology, and Religion, Geography, History. Calcutta: Rupa & Co. p. 152.
  16. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.229.
  17. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.265-7
  18. Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.102.
  19. Thapar, Romila (1996). Ancient Indian Social History Some Interpretations, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0808-X, p.299
  20. Bhattacharyya, P. K. (1977). Historical Geography of Madhya Pradesh from Early Records. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 118–9. ISBN 978-81-208-3394-4. ISBN 0-8426-909-1
  21. Raizada, Ajit (1992). Ujjayini (in Hindi), Bhopal: Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, Government of Madhya Pradesh, p.21

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