By Swami Harshananda
Candravamśa literally means ‘dynasty or race of Candra’.
Itihāsas and purāṇas contain lots of historical material. Two dynasties, the Suryavamśa and the Candravarmśa (Solar and Lunar dynasties) have often been mentioned in these works.
Candravamśa starts with Candra-Soma. His son was Budha from Ilā. He was famously known as Pururava Aila. He became so famous and important that the Lunar dynasty is often stated to have commenced from him. He ruled from Pratiṣṭhāna (now a village Pihan by name, near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh). Nahuṣa, Yayāti and Puru are the other celebrated rulers in this dynasty. The dynasty branched off with Yadu, the eldest son of Yayāti, into the Yādava dynasty. Balarāma and Śri Kṛṣṇa were the most famous descendants of this dynasty.
Puru’s descendants came to be known as Pauravas. The Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas belonged to this line. Ānavas and Haihayas were the other branches of the lunar race.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore