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  • Writer's pictureMeenakshi Raje

Why she was not allowed to committed to one ?The story of Amrapali.

Updated: Dec 6, 2023



Meenakshi Raje 
Photo from Google


The capital city of Lichhavi clan, Vaishali which is under Vajjin confederacy. It was a republican clan . Vaishali was also known for story of one of the most beautiful women from the chapters of Ancient India. She was known by several names such as Ambapali, Ambapalika, or Amra, but, popularly she is known as Amrapali.


There is a story behind her name. She was born spontaneously beneath the mango tree of the Royal Garden, thus named Amrapali. She was exceptionally beautiful. One who see her got infatuated.



Her beauty became her enemy. She was an Apple of Discord between the people of vaishali and there was a cut throat competition to marry her. She had to dedicate herself to the pleasure of many because it was customary that the most beautiful women cannot marry one man.


Amrapali performed a dance in the city, a king of Vaishali named 'Manudev' saw her and got so much infatuated that to own her, he killed her childhood love and would be groom, 'Pushpakumar'


Amrapali performing dance [ Phto from Google]

She was the lady of extraordinary beauty, charm, and grace.Not only beauty but she was talented in various art forms.Young Nobles wanted her company.


Amrapali thus became "Nagarvadhu" or "Bride of Vaishali". She has also given the title of "Janpad Kalyani".Janpad kalyani title was given to the most beautiful as well as talented girl of the kingdom for a tenure of seven years.


It is also mentioned in some resources that to see her art forms one time, one had to pay 50 karshapanas. It is also mentioned in some texts that she was too rich that her treasury grew much more than some kings.


She also became 'rajanartiki' or Royal court dancer. Her beauty and charm attracted everybody.During this period, her name was also added in the glory of Vaishali.


Magadh kingdom was near to the Vaishali and story of Amrapali also moved there.Then ruler Bimbisara became curious.He wanted to expand his Empire as Magadha was emerging as strongest Mahajanapadas amongst the 16.Bimbisara attacked Vaishali and it is said that he took shelter in Amrapali's place.Bimbisara was also a great musician.They fell for each other which was natural. Amrapali asked him to leave and to stop the ongoing war.


From some texts, we get to know that Amrapali later fell in love with son of Bimbisara, the another king of Magadha, 'Ajatshatru'.He was the son from Queen Chellana,the second Queen of Bimbisar.Vaishali was not yet merged completely to Magadha Empire. His peak of love for Amrapali was seen when, she was imprisoned,he invaded vaishali and completely burnt it except her home.Amrapali cannot see the condition of her motherland, so much violence and massacre of her own people, so she renounced her love for him.



Amrapali got an opportunity to serve food to Buddha during his last visit to Vaishali.There are various stories behind the meal.The reason are different in different religious and classical texts. The truth is that she served the food. Some accounts mentioned that she offered all her property to Buddha and she beacame Arahant renouncing her position of a Nagarvadhu.Buddha preached there Ambalika sutra.


This was the journey of Amrapali, who was punished because of her beauty, can't get love, yet entertained all.

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