Mahishmati, aka: Mahismati, Māhiṣmatī; 4 Definition(s)


Mahishmati means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Māhiṣmatī can be transliterated into English as Mahismati or Mahishmati, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism


1) Māhiṣmatī (माहिष्मती) is the name of a city, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 95.

2) Māhiṣmatī (माहिष्मती) is the name of an asura princess from the similarly named city, according to the Varāhapurāṇa chapter 95. She was cursed by sage Asvara after she tried to scare him out of his hermitage in the form of a buffalo with sharp horns.

The Varāhapurāṇa is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, and was originally composed of 24,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 10th century. It is composed of two parts and Sūta is the main narrator.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Varāha-purāṇa

1) Mahiṣmati (महिष्मति).—The capital of Kārtavīryārjuna.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 94. 26.

2) Māhiṣmatī (माहिष्मती).—The capital of the Haihayas, on the Revā (Narmadā). Entered by Paraśurāma who put to sword all the Kṣatriyas to avenge his father's death; visited by Balarāma;1 originally a Nāga capital with Karkoṭaka sabhā;2 the place where Kārtavīrya defeated Karkoṭaka's son;3 the place where Rāvaṇa was imprisoned by Kārtavīryārjuna;4 founded by Māhiṣmān and capital of Kārtavīryārjuna.5

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 15. 22; 16. 17; X. 79. 21.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 38. 2; 46. 11; 69. 26.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 43. 29.
  • 4) Ib. 43. 38.
  • 5) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 11. 9, 19.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

1) Mahishmati was an ancient city mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It was the capital of the kingdom named Heheya. Kartavirya Arjuna, a Yadava king, was the foremost ruler of Mahismati and Haiheya (Mbh 13:52). He was killed by Bhargava Rama. Epic Ramayana mentions about the attack of Rakshasa king Ravana on Mahishmati. Pandava general Sahadeva also has attacked Mahishmati, when King Nila was its ruler (2:30). King Nila of Mahishmati is mentioned as a leader in the Kurukshetra War, rated by Bhishma as a Rathi. His coat of mail had blue colour (Mbh 5:19,167). Mahishmati is identified to be modern day Maheshwar, a town in the Khargone District in Madhya Pradesh state of India.

2) The city callled Māhiṣmatī. Maṇḍanamiśra (author of the Brahmasiddhi) lived in this city. Mandana Misra was chief Pundit of the court in Mahishmati.

3) Māhiṣmatīm: the capital of Kārtavīryārjuna.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Hinduism

India history and geogprahy

1) Māhiṣmatī (माहिष्मती) occurs in two grants of Subandhu of early fifth century A.D. We find the Prakrit forms Māhasati, Māhisati and Mahisati in the Sanchi Stūpa inscriptions of about second century A.D. Fleet identified Māhiṣmatī with Omkareshvara Mandhata, an island in the river Narmadā in the east Nimar district of Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Wilford, however, proposed the identification of Māhiṣmatī with Maheshwar in the west Nimar district of Madhya Pradesh, about sixty miles south of Indore, facing each other on the southern and northern banks of the Narmadā respectively.

The city of Māhiṣmatī, according to Raghuvaṃśa, was guarded by the Fire God and was encircled by the Revā (i. e., Narmadā) like a girdle round its hip, like ramparts. Maheshwar is a site where a moat might have been made round the city, so that the Narmadā, as it were, formed a girdle round it.

2) Māhiṣmatī (माहिष्मती).—The Harivaṃśa refers to the city of Māhiṣmatī, the capital of Narmadānūpa as nestling under the shelter of the mount Ṛkṣavat. Nīlakaṇṭha, the commentater of the Harivaṃśa, places the city to the north of the Vindhyas and the south of the Ṛkṣa.

(Source): Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions
India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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