IAST:Kiṣkindhā, Devanagari: किष्किन्धा) (also known as Kishkindhya), was the kingdom of the VanaraKing Sugriva, the younger brother of Vali, in the Ramayana. This was the kingdom where he ruled with the assistance of his minister, Hanuman. This kingdom is identified to be the regions around the Tungabhadrariver (then known as Pampa Saras) near Hampiin Karnataka. The mountain near to the river with the name Risyamuka where Sugriva lived with Hanuman, during the period of his exile also is found with the same name.
During the time of Ramayana ie,
Treta Yuga, the whole region was within the dense forest called Dandaka Forestextending from Vindhyarange to the South Indian peninsula. Hence this kingdom was considered to be the kingdom of "Vanaras" which in Sanskritmeans "Forest Dwellers". During Dwapara Yuga, the Pandava Sahadevawas said to visit this kingdom, as per the epic Mahabharata, during his southern military campaign to collect tribute for Yudhisthira's Rajasuyasacrifice.
References of Kishkindha in Mahabharata
Though Kishkindha was mentioned in the epic
Ramayana, with great detail, a few mentions of this kingdom is found in the epic Mahabharata.
Sahadeva, the Pandavageneral, and younger brother of Pandavaking Yudhisthira, came to southern regions to collect tribute for the Rajasuyasacrifice of the king." Sahadevareduced to subjection king Vatadhipa. He then defeated the Pulindas (Pulindas in the south, see also the northern Pulindas) , the hero then marched southward. He then fought for one whole day with the king of Pandrya (Pandya?). The long-armed hero having vanquished that monarch marched further to the south. And then he beheld the celebrated caves of Kishkindhya and in that region fought for seven days with the Vanara-kings Mainda and Dwivida. Those illustrious kings however, without being tired in the encounter, were gratified with Sahadeva. And joyfully addressing the Kuruprince, they said,--"O tiger among the sons of Pandu, go hence, taking with the tribute from us all. Let the mission of the king Yudhishthirathe just possessed of great intelligence, be accomplished without hindrance." Taking jewels and gems from them all, the hero marched towards the city of Mahishmati, and there he battled with king Nila.
Rama's history within Mahabharata
"A few chapters of
Mahabharata, contains within it, the epic Ramayanain brief."
After Vanara king
Valihad been slain by Raghava Rama, Sugriva, the younger brother of the king, regained possession of Kishkindhya, and along with it, the lordship of the widowed queen, Tara. Rama, meanwhile dwelt on the beautiful breast of the Malyavat Mountains(a mountain range, in Andhra Pradeshand Tamilnadu) for four months, duly worshipped by Sugriva all the while. (3,278)
Sugriva is mentioned as the ruler of the forest-kingdom Kishkindhya and the king of the Vanaras (forest-dwellers), installed on throne by
Raghava Ramaand to whom all foresters and apes, monkeys and bears owe allegiance. (3,280) Raghava Ramaslew the Rakshasa king Ravanain battle and installed Vibhishana, Ravana's younger brother, on the throne of Lanka. Thus he regained his wife Sitafrom the clutches of Ravana. He then left Lanka and re-entered Kishkindhya with king Sugriva. Having arrived at Kishkindhya, he installed the old king Vali's son Angada as prince-regent of that kingdom. After that he left to his own capital-city Ayodhyaof Kosala Kingdom(3,289).
At (3,146) the mountain named Hrishyamukha (Risyamuka) where
Sugrivaand Hanumanspent their exile, due to fear of king Valiis mentioned.
References of Vanaras in Mahabharata
Vanaras were described as one of the
Exotic Tribes of Ancient Indiaalong with many others, in the epic Mahabharata.
Their kinship with other such tribes are hinted at (1,66). The Rakshasas, Yakshas, Vanaras and Kinnaras (these four were linked to the sage
Pulastya) and with Kimpurushas (half-men, half-lion), Salabhas (butterfly-like beings -- the angels or fairies in western mythologies ?) and Valikhilyas (the followers of the movements of the sun) (the last three were linked to the sage Pulaha) were mentioned to have kinship (1.66).
They were mentioned along with one of these or some of these tribes at many locations in the epic. (1-70,144,and many other references)
Territories of Vanaras
Kishkindhya and the southern India were the most populous territoires of Vanaras. However they were also found in the forests of
Himalayas (3-144,157). Bhimain his wanderings have seen the abode of the Vanara chief Hanumanin the plantain wood, on an elevated rocky base in the mountains of Gandhamadana (in Himalayas) (3-145,146,147,148,149,150,151).
Vanara Kings and Chiefs
Hanumanwas the best-known figure among the Vanaras. He was the prime-minister of the Vanara king Sugrivawho was installed on the throne of Kishkindha by Raghava Rama. Hanumanwas the son of Vanara chief, Kesari (3,145). Sugriva's elder brother Valiwas the former king of the Vanaras. He was slain by Raghava Rama. The dispute between Vali and Sugriva is mentioned at (4,22), (7,176) After Sugriva, Vali's son Angada became the king of Kishindha (3,289). During the period of the Pandavas, Mainda and Dwivida were the two kings of Kishkindha. They have battled with the Pandava Sahadeva(2,32). Dwivida had also battled with Vasudeva Krishna (5,130).
Kingdoms of Ancient India
Sister Nivedita& Ananda K.Coomaraswamy: Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Bhuddhists, Kolkata, 2001 ISBN 81-7505-197-3
*Dowson's Classical Dictionary of
Mahabharataof Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, translated to English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli
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