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Around 3000 years ago, changes were seen in the way the rajas
(rulers) were chosen. Some men were recognised as rajas by
performing very big sacrifices. The ashvamedha or horse sacrifice
was one su...
Around 3000 years ago, changes were seen in the way the rajas (rulers) were chosen. Some men were recognised as rajas by performing very big sacrifices. The ashvamedha or horse sacrifice was one such ritual. A horse was let loose to wander freely and it was guarded by the rajas men. If the horse wandered into the kingdoms of other rajas and the stopped it, they ad to fight. If they let it pass through it meant that they accepted the rajas sovereignty. The rajas who performed these sacrifices were considered as being rajas of janapadas( the land where jana set its foot and settled down) rather than janas. Number of settlements have been excavated in these janapadas such as Purana Qila in Delhi, Hastinapura near Meerut etc. It was found that people lived in huts, kept cattle as well as other animals and grew a variety of crops such as rice, barley, pulses, sugarcane, sesame and mustard.
About 2500 years ago, some janapadas became more important than others. They were known as mahajanapadas. Most mahajanapadas had a capital city, many of them fortified. These rajas maintained armies and collected taxes from people. Around this time major changes took place in agriculture. One was the use of iron ploughshares and the other was transplantation of paddy. This led to increased production. Increased production led to the collection of more taxes and increased the wealth of the kingdoms. Some important mahajanapadas were Magadha, Kosala,Gandhara, Kashi, Panchala, Avanti, Kuru etc.