Dandakaranya
Painting of Sage Agastya asking Rama to deliver Dandakaranya from a curse
Geography
LocationBastar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana, India
Area92,200 km²

Dandakaranya (Sanskrit: दण्डकारण्य, romanizedDaṇḍakāraṇya), also rendered Dandaka (Sanskrit: दंडक, IAST: Daṃḍaka), is a historical region and the name of a forest mentioned in the ancient Indian epic Ramayana. It covers about 92,200 square kilometres (35,600 sq mi) of land, which includes the Abujhmar Hills in the west and the Eastern Ghats in the east, including regions of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana states. It spans about 300 kilometres (200 mi) from north to south and about 500 kilometres (300 mi) from east to west.[1]

Etymology

Dandakaranya means "the Dandaka forest" in Sanskrit, the abode of the rakshasa Dandaka.[1] It was the site of the Danda Kingdom in Hindu mythology, a stronghold of the rakshasa tribes. It was a state of the Lanka Kingdom under the reign of Ravana. Ravana's governor Khara ruled this province.

Hinduism

Dandakaranya is considered sacred in Hinduism, as many accounts of the region describe ancient Hindu peoples and Hindu deities living together in refuge there. The Dandakaranya zone was the location of the turning point in the Ramayana, a famous Sanskrit epic. The plot for the divine objectives to uproot the rakshasas from the land was formulated here.[2] According to the epic, it was home to many deadly creatures and demons. It is described to have stretched from Narmada to the Godavari and Krishna Rivers according to the epic. Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana, are described to have spent their initial years of fourteen years as exiles traveling around the region.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Dandakaranya". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  2. ^ Arya, Ravi Prakash (ed.).Ramayana of Valmiki: Sanskrit Text and English Translation. (English translation according to M. N. Dutt, introduction by Dr. Ramashraya Sharma, 4-volume set) Parimal Publications: Delhi, 1998, ISBN 81-7110-156-9