The Battle of the Ten Kings: A Historic Battel Between a Bharata King and a Confederation of Tribes

The Battle of the Ten Kings, also known as The Battle of the Ten Kāṣṭhīs, was fought between King Pṛthu and a confederation of tribes at the Sarasvatī River in northern India. The battle was narrated in detail in the epic Mahābhārata, which refers to this conflict as the Āraṇyaka Parva (the Book of Forest-Dwellers). The tribal confederation that opposed King Pṛthu was known as the Vṛjis, meaning the wanderers in Sanskrit. Tribes that included King Sudasa of Soubira, King Sahadeva of Madra, King Virasena of Magadha, King Vahinin of Chedi, King Chekitana of Kasi, King Bhagadatta of Pragjyotisha, and others.

Wat phra kaew
Wat phra kaew, Battle depiction


The Battle of the Ten Kings was fought in India between a Bharata king and a confederation of tribes. This was a historic battle that resulted in the death of many kings. The Bharatas were led by their king, they were victorious, but at great cost. The leader of confederation of tribe is unknown.The battle was fought on the banks of the Ravi River. This battle is significant because it marked the beginning of the end of the Vedic period and the start of the Mahajanapadas period.


The battle is thought to have been fought around 1000 BCE, making it one of the oldest battles in recorded history. The reason for the battle is unknown, but it is thought to have been over control of the land. This victory allowed the Bharata king to consolidate his power and establish himself as one of the most powerful kings in India.

Key events during battle

The Battle of the Ten Kings led Bharatas to occupy the entire Puru territory (Western Punjab) centered around Sarasvati River and complete their east-ward migration. Sudas celebrated his victory with the Ashvamedha ritual to commemorate the establishment of a realm, free of enemies from the north, east, and west. He still had enemies in the Khāṇḍava Forest to the south, which was inhabited by the despised non-Indo-Aryan Kikatas. Over the years, the battle has come to be seen as one of the most important battles in Indian history.

Impact on war and ancient Indian history

The Battle of the Ten Kings was a turning point in ancient Indian history. The victory by the Bharata king established the Maurya Empire, which would go on to become one of the largest empires in Indian history. The confederation of tribes, meanwhile, was dispersed and never again posed a serious threat to the Mauryas. The battle also had a significant impact on warfare in India, with major changes in strategy and tactics being adopted by both sides in future conflicts.

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