kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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Geography of the Ramayana

Posted on by Imran

Can we map the Ramayana? Srinath Perur asks. How would the earliest author of the Ramayana, Valmiki, have fared on a geography test? There’s no telling for sure after all these years, but we might try and deduce the answer from a fascinating section of his Ramayana where the monkey king Sugriva, directs search parties to set out in all four directions from Kishkindha to look for the abducted Sita. The monkeys going east are to look around the rivers Bhagirathi, Sarayu, Yamuna, Saraswati, Sindhu and Sona. They will pass through the kingdoms of Kosala, Kashi and Magadha among others and proceed to lands where people’s ears hang below their lips, to islands whose people eat raw fish, to Yavadvipa (thought to be Java), and beyond across oceans of milk and blood-red waters, lakes with celestial beings and mountains of pure gold. To the south lie the rivers Narmada, Godavari, Krishnaveni, Kaveri, the kingdoms of Vidarbha, Banga, Kalinga, Utkala, Andhra, Chola, Kerala and Pandya. Across the ocean is Ravana’s island. Beyond are mountains of gold, silver and jewels, a city of snakes and finally the capital city of Yama, “shrouded in impenetrable darkness” .To the west are the regions of Surashtra, Suva and Bhima, the western ocean filled with fish, then groves of coconut and date palm followed by more mythical beasts and lands. To the north are the regions inhabited by the Pulindas, Kurus, Kambhojas (Indo-Iranians), Yavanas (Greeks), and … Continue reading

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