The Vindhya ranges of Indian mountains restrict the path of the winds making the area quite inhospitable and rough. The different slopes of the Vindhya Range are drained by the tributaries of Ganges towards the north and Narmada in the south. Theses ranges have huge sandstone reserve which was used to build Buddhist stupas at Sanchi and other temples at Khajuraho.
Location of Vindhya Mountain Range
Vindhya Mountain Range is located in central India, Madhya Pradesh, and is 970 kilometres long and 910 metres elevated. The range originates from the state of Gujarat continuing into the east and north till the river Ganges at Mirzapur.
Etymology of Vindhya Mountain Range
The word Vindhya derives from the Sanskrit word "Vaindh" means to get in the way. The Vindhya Range is also famous as "Vindhyachala" or "Vindhyachal"; the word ‘achala’ (Sanskrit) or ‘achal’ (Hindi) denotes a mountain.
Myths of Vindhya Mountain Range
A mythological story (see below) states that the Vindhyas once obstructed the path of the sun. According to another theory, the name "Vindhya" means "hunter" in Sanskrit, and can refer to the tribal hunter-gatherers inhabiting the region. In Mahabharata, the range is also referred to as ‘Vindhyapadaparvata’.
In the prehistoric Indian texts, the ‘Vindhyas’ are seen as the demarcating line between the territories of the Indo-Aryans. The most ancient Hindu texts consider it as the southern boundary of ‘Aryavarta’. Historically, Vindhya Mountain was considered extremely remote and dangerous due to dark plants and the aggressive tribes residing there. The later texts explain that the Vindhya Range is the dwelling of ferocious form of ‘Shakti’ (goddess Kali or Durga), who lived there since killing the demons. She is described as ‘Vindhyavasini’ and a temple is dedicated to her which is situated in the ‘Vindhyachal’ town of Uttar Pradesh. Mahabharata mentions the ‘Vindhyas’ as the "everlasting residence" of goddess Kali.
According to one myth, the Vindhya Mountain once battled with the Mount Meru, rising so high that it blocked the sun. Sage Agastya then asked Vindhya to lower itself, in order to ease his way across to the south. In respect for sage Agastya, the Vindhya lowered its height and promised not to grow until sage Agastya returned to the north. Sage Agastya settled in the south, and the Vindhya Mountain, true to its word, never grew further.
The ‘Kishkindha Kanda’ of Valmiki's Ramayana states that Maya built a house in the ‘Vindhyas’. In Dashakumaracharita, King Rajahamsa of Magadha and his ministers created a new settlement in Vindhya forest , after being forced out of their kingdom following a battle overpower.
Geography of Vindhya Mountain Range
The northern slopes of Vindhya Mountain Range are drained by tributaries of the Ganges, including the Kali Sindh, Parbati, Betwa, and Ken. The Son, a tributary of the Ganges, drains the southern slopes of the range at its eastern end. The southern slopes of the range are drained by the Narmada River, which drains further westward to the Arabian Sea in the depression between the Vindhya Range and the parallel Satpura Range to the south. The Narmada Valley's northern edge is flanked by the Vindhya Range.
Climate of Vindhya Mountain Range
Vindhya Mountain Range has basically the growth of dry- deciduous forests. Rainfall here is actually seasonal followed up with a long dry season, which hampers the growth of natural vegetation, which loose out their leaves. Trees, which can be found in these places, are mainly teak, sal, and bamboo. The animal kingdom ranges from bison, wild buffalo, spotted deer, leopard, black buck and large brown deer ("sambar"). The Vindhya Range is the home of vast wildlife and forestry. Though there has been major degradation in the natural environment due to human interventions leading up to a vast array of ecological problems.
Rivers of Vindhya Mountain Range
A number of tributaries of Ganga-Yamuna originate from the Vindhyas. These consist of ‘Chambal’, ‘Betwa’, ‘Dhasan’, ‘Ken’, ‘Tamsa’, ‘Kali Sindh’ and ‘Parbati’. The northern hills of Vindhyas are drained by these rivers.
Narmada and Son rivers drain the southern hills of Vindhyas. Both the rivers rise in the ‘Maikal’ hills, which are now distinct as an addition of the ‘Satpuras’, though a number of older texts make use of the term Vindhyas to cover them up.