The legend Mokhalinam written in Mauryan Brahmi script on a clay seal found at Gaya, and three inscriptions discovered at Badvah in Rajasthan are a proof of their antiquity.
The inscriptions refer to the Maukhari general, Bala, who erected three sacrificial pillars in ad 238, and his three sons. The Kadamba king Mayurasarman’s (ad 345-70) Chandravalli inscriptions refer possibly to the Maukharis as one of the powers subjugated by him.
Then there was the doubtful claim of Maukhari princes that they were descendants of the hundred sons of King Asvapati who ruled Madra in central Punjab and was referred to in the Mahabharata.
Three undated inscriptions, believed to be of sixth century ad on paleographic grounds, found at Barabar and Nagaijuna hills near Gaya, mention Yajnavarman, Sardulavarman (son) and Ananta Varman (grandson) as three generations of Maukhari kings.
Sardulavarman was described as Samanta chudamani (Jewel of the Vassals) and could therefore be regarded as feudatory to the Imperial Guptas. As, however, there is no reference to the paramount king, this assumption is not proved.
Numerous seals and inscriptions mentioning another branch of Maukharis (who ultimately became very powerful) give an incomplete family-tree. The fourth king in this line, Isanavarman, achieved some fame for the dynasty.
Considering that with the exception of small coins and seals all Maukhari inscriptions were found within Uttar Pradesh and having regard to the recorded date of ad 554 as one of years of Isanavarman, it can be said that the two Maukhari clans were feudatories of the Guptas in Uttar Pradesh and South Bihar.
The Harsha inscription states that just like a sinking boat held fast by ropes, Isanavarman saved the earth. Considering the chaos resulting from the disintegration of the Gupta Empire, the description is indeed appropriate.
He carved out an empire, issued coins and assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja. Early in his career, probably on behalf of the Imperial Guptas, he defeated the Hunas and then set up his independent kingdom.
Magadha does not appear to have been the capital of the Maukharis (although there is nothing conclusive against it). From the available evidence, Kanauj was most probably the capital, but here again no proof is there to show that it was indeed so from the beginning.