Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Kosala Kingdom

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Religion  Vedic Hinduism
Established  unknown (?~1100 BCE)
Capital  Ayodhya
Government  Monarchy
Disestablished  unknown (?~500 BCE)
Historical era  Bronze Age
Kosala Kingdom

Kosala Proper or Uttara Kosala is the kingdom of the celebrated personality of Treta Yuga, Raghava Rama. Ayodhya was its capital, presently in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh. Rama's sons Lava and Kusha inherited parts of this kingdom. Lava ruled from the city called Sravasti and Kusa from the city called Kushavati. A colony of Kosala kings existed in Madhya Pradesh. It was called Dakshina Kosala. Rama's mother Kausalya was from this kingdom. King Rama extended his influence up to the island-kingdom of Lanka situated in the southern ocean. He had friendly relations with the southern kingdom of forest dwellers (Vanaras) called Kishkindha.


Rama's brother Bharata, colonized the Gandhara kingdom and founded the city of Takshasila there. Gandhara lies close to Kekeya Kingdom, the native kingdom of Bharata's mother, Kaikeyi. Rama's second brother Lakshmana founded the city of Lakshmanapura near river Ganges which is now known as Lucknow. He colonized the Vanga kingdom and founded the city of Chandrakanta there. Rama's youngest brother Satrughna destroyed the forest called Madhu and founded the city of Mathura which later became the capital of the Surasena Kingdom.

Nishadha king Nala's friend Rituparna was a ruler of Kosala. Brihadbala another ruler of Kosala during Dwapara Yuga, took part in Mahabharata war and was killed by Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna.

Era of Treta Yuga

The Indian epic Ramayana is the window to this era.

Kosala Proper and Dakshina(Southern) Kosala

During the period of the forefathers of Raghava Rama, there was only one Kosala kingdom. It had its capital at Ayodhya, identified as the Ayodhya town near Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh state of India. During the reign of Dasharatha, the father of Rama, Dakshina Kosala came into prominence. It was situated in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. Dasharatha married his eldest wife Kausalya from this kingdom.

Kosala Proper splits into two

Raghava Rama's son's Lava and Kusa, inherited each half of the Kosala kingdom, with Ayodhya as its capital. Thus, this Kosala split into two parts; one ruled by Lava, with capital at Sravasti, to the north of Ayodhya and the other by Kusa at Kusavati, believed to be towards the east of Ayodhya.

Era of Dwapara Yuga

The Indian epic Mahabharata is the window to this era.

During the time of Kurukshetra War, and the reign of Pandavas and Kauravas, we find mention of numerous kingdoms with the name, Kosala (as per the references in Mahabharata).

Kingdoms that sprang from Kosala Proper

Raghava Rama's Kosala (Kosala Proper) was already split into two, owing to his two sons attaining kingship after his reign. During the era of Kurukshetra War it was split into five kingdoms.

Eastern Kosala

This was, probably the kingdom ruled by Kusa, with Kusavati as its capital. (see MBh 2.14, Mbh 2.21, referred below). They were described as fleeing to the southern country of Kuntis due to Magadha king Jarasandha. The route taken by Bhima, Arjuna and Krishna from Kuru Kingdom to Magadha Kingdom was through this Eastern Kosala.

Northern Kosala

This was, probably the kingdom ruled by Lava with Sravasti as its capital. (see MBh 2.29 referred below). This kingdom was defeated by the Pandava general Bhima, in his military campaign to the east.

Kosala Kingdom of Vrihadvala to the south of Ayodhya

Vriahadvala was a Kosala king mentioned as a general under Duryodhana, in the Kurukshetra War. (MBh. 5.277, 5.198).This kingdom was defeated by the Pandava general Bhima, in his military campaign to the east. (MBh 2.29). It seems that this Kosala had its power extended to the neighbouring kingdom of Kasi to the south of it, because Vrihadvala sometimes commanded the troops from Kasi also in Kurukshetra War. This probably was the reason to consider Kasi-Kosala as a single kingdom. For a period of time in the past, Kasi would have been a vassal state of Kosala kingdom. The grandmothers of Kauravas and Pandavas were called sometimes as princesses of Kasi and some times as princesses of Kosala, attesting to this fact.

Kosala with Ayodhya as its capital or Central Kosala

This was the original Kosala ruled by king Raghava Rama. This was ruled by Dirghayaghna, during this era. This kingdom was defeated by the Pandava general Bhima, in his military campaign to the east. (MBh 2.29).

Kingdoms that sprang from the Southern Kosala

The native kingdom of Raghava Rama's mother Kausalya, considered as Dakshina Kosala Kingdom split at least into two during the era of Kurukshetra War. This became evident if we follow the passage in Mahabharata, describing the military campaign of the Pandava general Sahadeva, who led his troops to the southern direction. (MBh. 2.30)

Western Kosala in Central India

This kingdom was close to the Vidarbha Kingdom ruled by Bhishmaka, probably to the east of it. Sahadeva defeated this kingdom first and moved to the Eastern Kosala. (MBh. 2.30)

Eastern Kosala in Central India

After defeating the other Kosala kingdom Sahadeva defeated numerous kings in the Eastern Kosala, indicating that there were many kingdoms, and not one, however collectively known as Eastern Kosalas. (MBh. 2.30)


Kosala Kingdom Wikipedia