Sauvira was a kingdom in ancient India. It was founded by King Suvira. During the Mahabharata war, Sauvira was under Jayadratha and was a tribe that sided with the Kauravas in the Mahabharata War. The tribe that lived in Sauvira are called Sauviras or Sauvirakas.
Sauvira kingdom is on the banks of the Sindhu (Indus) river. Sauvira starts when Sindhu river meets the Satadru river and ends when Sindhu river merges into the sea. To the east of Sauvira are Abhira and Sudra kingdoms, along with the Saraswati river. To the northeast are Dwaita lake and the Dwaita forest. To the south is a bit of sea and then Kachcha and then Anarta teritories. To the west is the kingdom of Sindhu and to the northeast are the kingdoms of Pancha Nada, Yaudheya and Ambastha. To the north is Sivi kingdom.
History and Kings
Sauvira was founded by Suvira of the Anava line. Suvira was the son of Sivi and the grandson of Usinara. His brothers were Vrishabhadra, Madraka, and Kekeya and they found the kingdoms of Sindhu, Madra and Kekeya. Suvira’s descendants continued ruling Sauvira till the time of Pandu. When Pandu was crowned king of Kuru, he went on a western Digvijaya. After defeating many western kings, he arrived at Sauvira. He defeated the king of Sauvira. Sauvira became a Kuru viceroyalty.
When Pandu retired to the forest, his older brother Dhitrastra became king. Dhitrastra was a weak king. Under his rule, a powerful king rose to power and took Sauvira from Kuru. This king was really capricious and powerful. He performed a three-year yagna, which kept many Gandharvas as bay.
Once, Subala (father of Gandhari and Shakuni) came to Sauvira. He was a junior prince of Gandhara and lived as a trader. At Sauvira, he became really prosperous and wealthy. The Sauvira king’s yagna had cost a lot. He had heard of Subala, the junior prince of Gandhara and a wealthy trader. To recover the costs of the yagna, he imprisoned Subala and took all his money. Dhitrastra, Subala’s son-in-law, was unable to intervene and Nagnajita, the king of Gandhara, didn’t care.
After the Pandavas and Kauravas came back from education, Yudhistira became crown prince and started many recovery campaigns. Yudhistira had heard of how the king of Sauvira had imprisoned Subala. He told Arjuna to go on a western military campaign and conquer Sauvira. Arjuna killed the Sauvira king and freed Subala. Sauvira once again came under Kuru rule.
Next year, Sauvira rose in a rebellion under Vipula, a strong leader. He showed a strong disregard for the powerful kingdoms that bordered Sauvira. Along with that, he used violence for no reason, slaughtering merchants. Again, Arjuna went and killed Vipula. He also defeated Dattamitra, also called Sumitra. He was the leader of the Yadavas that lived in Sauvira.
Since Dattamitra was his relation, Arjuna appointed Dattamitra the king of Sauvira. When Indraprastha was established, Dattamitra came and served as a minister to the Pandavas.
During the Pandavas’ exile, Dattamitra died and his son Sanjaya became the king of Sauvira. The following year, Jayadratha of Sindhu invaded Sauvira. He killed Sanjaya and made Sauvira part of his kingdom.
Jayadratha divided Sauvira into 12 parts. The 12 kings governing these 12 parts were Angaraka, Kunjara, Guptaka, Shatrunjaya, Srinjaya, Suprabiddha, Prabhankara, Bhramara, Ravi, Sura, Pratapa and Kuhana. But they were all under Jayadratha. These 12 kings were with Jayadratha when he attempted to capture Draupadi. They were mounted on chariots drawn by chestnut horses. All twelve of them were killed by Arjuna when the Pandavas freed Draupadi from Jayadratha.
After the Kurukshetra war, one of Prativindhya‘s sons became king of Sauvira. Prativindhya’s descendants continued ruling.
The kingdoms of Sindhu and Sauvira were together called Sindhu-Sauvira. This was because of their close location to each other. The tribes that lived in these kingdoms then began to be called Sindhu-Sauviras.
Sauvira in Kurukshetra War
The Sauviras sided with the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war under Jayadratha. The combined armies of Sindhu and Sauvira made up one Akshauni. In the Kurukshetra war they were under the command of Bhishma and were assigned to protect Bhishma on various occassions. The Sauviras were defending the outer walls of the Suchimukha vyuha on the 14th day. The Sauvira warriors were all killed on the 14th day by Bhima when he was trying to break the strong walls of the Suchimukha vyuha. Jayadratha was also killed on 14th day by Arjuna.