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Patliputra

Its central location in north central India led rulers of successive dynasties to base their administrative capital here, from the Nandas, Mauryans, Sungas and the Guptas down to the Palas. Situated at the confluence of the Ganges, Gandhaka and Sonrivers, Pataliputra formed a “water fort, or jaldurga“. Its position helped it dominate the riverine trade of the Indo-Gangetic plains during Magadha’s early imperial period. It was a great centre of trade and commerce and attracted merchants and intellectuals, such as the famed Chanakya, from all over India. Two important early Buddhist councils were held here, the first at the death of the Buddha and the second in the reign of Asoka.

During the reign of Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BCE, it was one of the world’s largest cities, with a population of 150,000–300,000. Pataliputra reached the pinnacle of prosperity when it was the capital of the great Mauryan Emperors,Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka the Great. The city prospered under the Mauryas and a Greek ambassador Megasthenes resided there and left a detailed account of its splendour, referring to it as “Palibothra”. The city also became a flourishing Buddhist centre boasting a number of important monasteries. It remained the capital of the Gupta dynasty (3rd–6th centuries) and the Pala Dynasty (8th-12th centuries). The city was largely in ruins when visited by Hsüan-tsang, and suffered further damage at the hands of Muslim raiders in the 12th century. Afterwards, Sher Shah Suri made Pataliputra his capital and changed the name to modern Patna.

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