(Last Updated on : 16/04/2015)
Dandakaranya is an extensive forest lying between the Godavari River
and Narmada River
. The forest of Dandaka was the biggest forest in Ancient India
. This region has an average height of meters and lies mostly in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh
. It stretches from Vindhya Mountain Ranges
in central Indian to the banks of River Krishna
and Tungabhadra River
in the south. It covers about 92,200 sqkm of land, which includes the Abujhmar Hills in the west and the Eastern Ghats
in the east, including parts of the Telangana
State, Chhattisgarh, Orissa
, and Andhra Pradesh
states. Mahendra Mountains
in Orissa formed its eastern boundary. The River Payoshni
is mentioned at the northern entrance of this forest.
Most of the region is a sanded-over pene-plain with a gradual downward slope from north to southwest. The Dandakaranya consists of wide, forested plateaus and hills that rise abruptly on the eastern side and gradually decrease in elevation toward the west. There are also several relatively extensive plains. The plateaus and hillsides have a thin veneer of loamy soils, while the plains and valleys have fertile alluvial soils. The region has economically valuable moist forests of sal that occupy almost half of its total area. The economy is based on subsistence agriculture; crops including rice
This forest is the scene of many of Rama
s adventures, and is described as "a wilderness over which separate hermitage are scattered, while wild beasts and Rakshasas
everywhere abound". Dandaka is again a class of metre in Sanskrit
which admits an inordinate length of the verse. Dandaka may consist of any number of syllables from 27 to 999 and the specific name varies accordingly.
Etymology of Dandakaranya
Dandakaranya, means the Dandak Forest, the abode of the demon Dandak.
Legend of Dandakaranya
Dandakaranya is an important place in many Hindu religious tales
. The Dandakaranya zone was the location of the turning point in the Ramayana
. In epic Ramayana no kingdom except the Dandaka kingdom and Kishkindhya Kingdom
is mentioned as lying within this forest. The plot for the divine objectives of the Hindu
to uproot the Rakshasa from the land was formulated here. According to the Ramayana, it was home to many deadly creatures and demons. Rama was living in a hermitage in the Dandaka forest when Ravana
carried off Sita. During her unhappy times Sita loved a river, which was said to be a tributary to the Godavari
running through the dense forests and wild districts. Surpanakha
met Lord Rama in this region, where she became infatuated with him. When he turned her down, Surpanakha had her brothers Khara
and Dushan attack Rama, who unsurprisingly, killed them in the subsequent battle.
During epic Mahabharata
many regions that were formerly Dandaka forest were found to be habitable kingdoms. Dandak was also the kingdom, a colonial state of Lanka
under the reign of Ravana. Ravanas governor Khara ruled this province. It was the stronghold of all the Rakshasa tribes living in the Dandaka Forest.