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Anga


Anga is one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas (Sodaxa Mahajanapada) that existed in India before the time of Buddha. The Buddhist Abguttara Nikaya gives a list of these great janapadas. The earliest reference to the Abgas is found in the Atharva Veda, where they are mentioned along with the Magadhas, Gandharis and the Mujavats apparently as despised peoples. The Jaina Praj'apana, however, ranks Angas and Vangas in the first group of Aryan peoples.

Based on the evidence of the Mahabharata (800-700 BC), the country of Anga roughly corresponded to the region of Bhagalpur and Munger in Bihar and the adjacent part of Bengal. The western limit of its northern boundary was possibly the junction of the Ganges and the Saraju; the River Champa formed the boundaries between Magadha in the west and Anga in the east. Champa, located on the right bank of the Ganges near its junction with the Champa River, was the capital of Anga. Digha Nikaya refers to it as one of the six principal cities of India due to its flourishing trade and commerce.

Anga was annexed to Magadha by Bimbisara in the 6th century BC; his son Ajatasatru became its viceroy. Notable places of antiquity in Anga are Modagiri (Monghyr or Munger), the Buddhist caves at Patharghata and the famous VIKRAMASHILA MAHAVIHARA, built by the Pala king dharmapala. [AM Chowdhury]