Bhoja was the designation of the royal family of the Satvatas in the days of the Aitareya Brahmana. The kings among the Satvatas were called Bhojas.
Origin of Bhojas
The term ‘Bhoja’ is mentioned even in the Rig Veda though many scholars do not consider it to be a tribal name there. In Mahabharata, it has been mentioned that the Bhojas formed a confederacy for offensive and defensive purposes with the Vrisnis, Andhakas, and also the Yadavas. In the Sabha Parva of Mahabharata, it has been said that the Bhojas were descendants of King Yayati.
It has been said that Bhojas had spread far and wide over India; they were found in the west, in the Madhyadesa, and in the south. King Bhishmaka who was the father of Rukmini and father-in-law of Lord Krishna, was called a Bhoja.
Bhojakata territory included the Ilichpur district in Berar or Vidarbha'. Bhojakata has been identified with Bhat-kuli in the Amraoti district of Berar. It is not improbable that the Bhojas had some relation with Bhojanagara, the capital of King Usinara of the Usinara country near the Kankhal region where the Ganges issues from the hills.
History of Bhojas
The historical accounts say that the Bhojas was dominated by Jarasandha, the king of Magadha. The connection between the Vrisnis and the Bhojas was cemented by the marriage of Ahuka’s daughter with Akrura.
It is stated in the Puranas that the Satvats and the Bhojas were branches of the Yadu family who dwelt at Mathura on the banks of the Yamuna River. In the Vishnu Purana it is said that Satvata was born in the family of Krosthu, son of Yadu. The descendants of Satvata, son of Mahabhoja, were known as Bhojas. According to the Matsya Purana, the Bhojas were pious, learned, truthful, valiant and charitable, and were performers of religious rites; but in another passage of the same Purana as well as in Mahabharata the Bhojas are relegated to the Mleccha caste. The Puranas, also say that the Bhojas were related to the Haihayas who were a branch of the Yadavas. The Haihayas on the other hand are said to have comprised five families, the Vitihotras, Saryatas, Bhojas, Avantis and Tundikeras. The Bhojas were closely related with the Vidarbhas; and they probably also held, sway over Dandaka, the region around Nasik.
The Jain sacred books speak of the Bhojas as Kshatriyas. The Bhojas, along with the Andhras, Pulindas and Rastrikas, were among the vassal tribes of Ashoka. In some of the historical records Bhojas have also been identified with the present day Rajputana people.