Maps of Ancient Buddhist Asia

Jambudīpaṁ: Buddhato Asokassa
India: From the Buddha to Asoka
(click on the links below to see the maps)

1. Buddha2. Ajātasatu3. Nandas4. Maurya5. Asoka6. Missions

In the time of the Buddha

The maps shown here are approx. 5,000 km from East to West and 3,500 km from North to South

There is a video of an hour-long talk I gave using these maps as a basis to explain more about the development of the Asokan Empire and the Missions.
It can be seen on YouTube


During the Lord Buddha’s time Magadha was only one of many monarchies and republics in northern India, with its capital at Rājagaha. King Bimbisāra was one of the Buddha’s main patrons, and gave him his first monastery near the capital.

After his passing King Bimbisāra’s son, Ajātasattu, who had killed his father and ascended the throne, managed to overthrow the republics of the Vajjians amongst others, and consolidate his hold on Kāsi. He was killed by his son Udāyabhadra, and a series of patricides took place over the following generations.

That dynasty was eventually overthrown and during the time of the Sisunāgas and the ten Nanda Kings, the capital moved to Pāṭaliputta, and the area they controlled expanded to most of the sub-Himalayan Region. When the Greek King Alexandra entered India, his troops mutinied and refused to cross the Ganges and attack the Nandian Empire, fearing for their lives.

That dynasty was overthrown by one of the great Indian Emporers, Candagutta, who greatly expanded the empire to the west and the south, and, following the advice of his minister Kautilya, the author of the Arthaśāṣṭra, by the time he was twenty he was in control of most of India.

Under his grandson King Asoka the Empire reached its greatest extent, incorporating most of present day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Asoka ruled this vast empire from his capital, and sent out religious missions to the border areas, which went beyond his borders to Śrī Laṅkā in the south; Suvaṇṇabhūmi in the east, and according to Rock Edicts XIII missions were also sent to Egypt and Greece in the west.