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Majjhimadesa or Middle Country

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 Chapter I: Majjhimadesa or Middle Country

Boundaries (of Majjhimadesa or Middle Country):

[1] The boundaries of Majjhimadesa (Madhyadeśa) or the Middle country have been referred to and explained in both Brahmanical and Buddhist literature of an early date. Thus as early as the age of the Sūtras, we find, in the Dharmasūtra of Baudhāyana, Āryāvarta or the country of the Aryans (which is practically identical with the country later on known as Madhyadeśa) described as lying to the east of the region where the river Saraswatī disappears, to the West of the Kalakavana or Black Forest (identified with a tract somewhere near Prayāga), 01 to the north of Pāripātra and to the south of the Himalayas. 02

The eastern boundary thus excluded not only the country now known as Bengal but also Bihar which in ancient days included the entire Magadha country, the land par excellence of the Buddha and Buddhism. The Dharmasastra of Manu, however, calls the Āryāvarta of the Sūtras to be the Madhyadeśa or Middle country. Thus, he defines it as extending from the Himalayas in the north to the Vindhyās in the South, and from Vinasana (the place where the Saraswatī disappears) in the West to Prayāga in the east (Himavad-Vindhyayor-madhyare yat prāk vinasanād api pratyag-eva Prayāgaścha Madhyadeśaḥ . . . .).

The Kāvyamīmānsā, as we have already seen, however, designates the Āryāvarta of the Sūtras and Madhyadeśa of Manu as Antarvedī (Vinasana Prayāgayoḥ Gaṅga-Yamunayośca antarare Antarvedī) 03 which extends up to Benares in the east. The Kurma-bhivāga section of the Purāṇas, however, follows Manu in its description of the middle country. It is thus obvious that the eastern boundary of the Madhyadeśa gradually expanded itself with the progress of time so as to include places that had lately acquired a sacredness within the Brahmanical fold.

It has already been hinted at that the ancient Magadhan country including Benares and Bodhgayā it was the land par excellence of Buddhism and the Buddha. It was, therefore, quite in the logic of circumstances that Buddhist writers would extend the eastern boundary of the Madhyadeśa (Majjhimadesa) farther towards the east so as to include the Buddhist holy land.

The boundaries of the Buddhist Majjhimadesa as given [2] in the Mahāvagga (Vol. V, pp. 12–13) may be described as having extended in the east to the town of Kajaṅgala 04 beyond which was the city of Mahāsāla; in the south-east to the river Salalavatī (Sarāvatī) in the south to the town of Satakaṇṇika; in the West to the Brāhmaṇa district of Thūna 05; in the north to the Usīradhaja mountain. 06

The Divyāvadāna (pp. 21–22) however, extends the eastern boundary of Majjhimadesa still farther to the east so as to include Puṇḍavardhana which in ancient times included Varendra – roughly identical with North Bengal. The other boundaries as given in the Divyāvadāna are identical with those as in the Mahāvagga.

The Majjhimadesa was 300 yojanas in length, 250 yojanas in breadth, and 900 yojanas in circuit. 07 It is interesting to place side by side the extent of the entire Jambudīpa of which Majjhimadesa was only a part. The Jambudīpa according to the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (II, p. 623) was 10,000 yojanas in extent, whereas Aparagoyāna was 7,000 yojanas (Dasa-sahassa-yojānappamāṇaṁ Jambudīpaṁ, satta-yojana-sahassappamāṇaṁ Aparagoyānaṁ).

Countries, towns, cities, etc. of Majjhimadesa

1. Mahājanapadas:

Of the sixteen Mahājanapadas 08 that existed in India during the days of the Buddha, as many as fourteen may be said to have been included in the Majjhimadesa. They are: (1) Kāsī, (2) Kosala, (3) Aṅga, (4) Magadha, (5)) Vajji, (6) Malla, (7) Cetiya (Cedī), [3]

8) Vaṁsa (Vatsa), (9) Kuru, (10) Pañchāla, (11) Maccha (Matsya), (12) Sūrasena, (13) Assaka and (14) Avanti. 09 Gandhāra and Kamboj, the two remaining countries, may be said to have been located in Uttarāpatha or the Northern division.


In the Aṅguttara Nikāya Kāsī is included in the list of sixteen Mahājanapadas (AN., I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252, 256, 260). Its capital was Bārāṇasī (mod. Benares) which had other names as well, viz. Surundhana, Sudassana, Brahmavaddhana, Pupphavatī, Ramma (Jāt., IV, pp. 119–120) and Molinī (Jāt., IV, p. 15). The extent of the city is mentioned as 12 yojanas (Jāt, VI, p. 160) whereas Mithilā and Indapatta were each only seven leagues in extent.

Before the time of the Buddha, Kāsī 10 was a great political power. Its kings from time to time fought with the Kosalan kings. Sometimes Kāsī extended its suzerain power over Kosala and sometimes Kosala conquered Kāsī. But on the whole it appears that before the Buddha’s time Kāsī was the most powerful kingdom in the whole of northern India (Jāt, III, pp. 115 ff.; V’I’., pt. II, pp. 30 if; Jāt., I, pp. 262 ff). But in the time of the Buddha, Kāsī lost its political power. It was incorporated sometime into the Kosalan kingdom and sometime into the Magadhan kingdom. There were fierce fights between Pasenadi, king of Kosala, and Ajātasattu, King of Magadha, regarding the possession of Kāsī. Kāsī was finally conquered and incorporated into the Magadha kingdom when Ajātasattu defeated the Kosalans and became the most powerful king of Northern India. (SN., I, pp. 82–85.)

In the Buddhist world, Kapilavatthu, (Bodhgaya,] Bārāṇasī and Kusīnārā were the four places of pilgrimage (Dīgha, Vol. II, Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta).

It was at Benares that the Buddha gave his first discourse on the Dhammacakka or the wheel of Law (MN., Vol. I, pp. 170 ff.; Cf. SN., V, pp. 420 if.; KV., pp. 9’7, 559). [4] The Buddha met an Ājivika named Upaka on his way to Benares to preach the wheel of Law at Isipatana Migadāya (Therī GC., p. 220). He reached Benares after crossing the Ganges at Prayāga direct from Verañjā. 11 The Buddha spent a great part of his life at Benares. Here he delivered some of the most important discourses and converted many people (AN., Vol. I, pp. 110 ff, pp. 279–280; Ibid., III, pp. 320–322, pp. 392 ff., pp. 399ff; SN., I, pp. 105–106; VT., I, pp. 102–108, pp. 110–112).

Benares was a great centre of industry, trade, etc. There existed trade relations between Benares and Sāvatthī (Dh. C., III, p. 429) and between Benares and Taxila (Ibid., I, p. 123). The people of Benares used to go to Taxila. We read in the Susīma Jātaka that a certain youth of Benares Went to Taxila, two thousand leagues away from the former, to learn the ‘hatthi-sutta’ (Jāt., II, p. 477).

We know from the Bhojājāniya Jātaka (No. 23) that ‘all the kings round coveted the kingdom of Benares.’


Kosala is mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas. The Dīgha Nikāya (I, p. 103) and the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (I, pp. 244–45) tell us that Pokkharasādi, a famous brāhmaṇa teacher of Kosala, lived at Ukkaṭṭhanagara which had been given to him by King Pasenadi.

The Saṁyutta Nikāya (I, pp. 70–97) gives us much information about Kosala and its king Pasenadi. We are told that Pasenadi fought many battles with the Magadhan King, Ajātasattu. In the end, howevor, there was a conciliation between the two kings.

The Buddha spent much of his time at Sāvatthī, the capital of Kosala, and most of his sermons were delivered there. The story of the conversion of the Kosalans to the Buddhist faith is related in some detail. In course of his journey over northern India, Buddha reached Kosala and went to Sāsā, a brāhmaṇa village of Kosala. There the Buddha delivered a series of sermons and the brahmin householders were converted to the new faith (MN., 1, pp. 285 ff.).

The Buddha also converted the brahmins of Nagaravinda, a brāhmaṇa village of Kosala (Ibid., III, pp. 290 ff.). He went to the Mallas, Vajjis, Kāsīs and Magadhas from Kosala (SN, V, p. 349). Once he went to Venāgapura, a brāhmaṇa village of Kosala, and converted the brāhamaṇa householders of the village (AN., I, pp. 180 11.).

In the Pārāyaṇavagga of the Sutta Nipāta (pp. 190–192), we are told that a teacher of Kosala named Bāvarī went from Kosala to Dakkhiṇāpatha. There in the kingdom of Assaka, near the lake, he built a hermitage on the bank of the river Godāvarī. We are further told that Bāvarī 12 [5] and a certain brāhmaṇa went to the Buddha who was then in Kosala in order to have their dispute settled by the Blessed One.

Kosala had matrimonial alliances with neighbouring powers. In [the] Jātaka (III, pp. 211–213) we are told that Dīghāvu or Dīghāyu, a prince of Kosala, married a daughter of the king of Benares.

ln Jātaka (II, p. 237 and IV, pp. 342 ff.) we find that Mahākosala, father of King Pasenadi of Kosala, gave his daughter in marriage to King Bimbisāra of Magadha. The pin-money was the village of Kāsī yielding a revenue of a hundred thousand for bath and perfume.

The Kosala Saṁyutta (SN., I, pp. 82–85) and a Jātaka story (Jāt, IV, pp. 342 ff.) tell us that there took place many a fierce fight between the sons of Mahākosala and Bimbisāra, Pasenadi and Ajātasattu respectively. But the two kings came into a sort of agreement. Ajātasattu married Vajirā, daughter of Pasenadi, and got possession of Kāsī.

In the north, the Kosala country included the region occupied by the Śākyas of Kapilavastu. Mutual jealousies sometimes led to war between the two countries. Thus we are told that the Śākyas became the vassals of King Pasenadi of Kosala (DB., pt. III, p. 80). 13

The capital cities of Kosala were Sāvatthī and Sāketa. But from the Epics and some Buddhist works Ayodhyā seems to have been the earliest capital, and Sāketa the next.

In Buddha’s time, Ayodhyā had sunk to the level of an unimportant town (Buddhist India, p. 34), but Sāketa and Sāvatthī (Śrāvastī) 14 were two of the six great cities of India (Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, S.B.E., XI, p. 99).

Ayodhyā or Oudh was a town on the river Sarajū. Some think that Sāketa and Ayodhyā were identical, but Prof. Rhys Davids has been successful to point out that both cities were existing in the Buddha’s time. Besides Sāketa and Sāvatthī, there were other minor towns like Setavya (Pāyāsi Suttanta) and Ukkaṭṭha (Ambaṭṭha Sutta) included in Kosala proper.

Some hold that Sāvatthī was so called because it was resided in by the sage Sāvatthī. But in the Papañcasūdani (I, p. 59), we find a different explanation. The city is said to have contained everything required by human beings. Hence the city is called Sāvatthī (sabbaṁ+atthi). [6]

The Jātaka stories (Jāt., VI, p. 68; IV, pp. 144 ff. and 236 ff.) speak of the wealth and glory of Sāvatthī.

It was at Sāvatthī that the Buddha permitted the womenfolk to enter the Buddhist Saṁgha (MN., III, pp. 270 ff.). 15

Anāthapiṇḍika, the great merchant, and Visākhā Migāramātā, the most liberal hearted of ladies about whom Buddhist literature speaks so much, were inhabitants of Sāvatthī.

Sāvatthī contributed a good number of the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis who were of great fame and honour: Paṭācārā (Dh. C, II, pp. 260 ff.), Kīsāgotamī (Ibid., II, pp. 270 ff.), Nanda, the son of Mahāpajāpati Gotamī (Ibid., I, pp. 115 ff.), 16 Kaṅkhārevata, the chief of the Bhikkhus practising jhāna (Pss. B., p. 7) and Sumanā, sister of Mahākosala (Pss. S., pp. 19–20).

Among other towns in the Kosala country may be mentioned, besides [those] already noted, Daṇḍakappaka (AN., III, pp. 402 ff.), Naḷakapāna (Ibid., V, pp. 122 ff.), Paṅkadhā (Ibid., I, p. 236), and a village named Toranavatthu between Sāvatthī and Sāketa (SN., IV, pp. 374 ff.).

The Palāsavana was at Naḷakapāna.

The Vinaya Texts tell us (pt. I, pp. 220–221) that the road from Sāketa to Sāvatthī was haunted by robbers.

The ancient Kosala kingdom was divided into two great divisions, the river Sarayū serving as the wedge between the two; that to the north was called Uttarā Kosala, and the one to the south was called Dakṣina Kosala.


The Kingdom of Aṅga has been frequently referred to in Pāli literature. Its capital Campā was situated on the river (mod. Chāndan) of the same name (Jātaka 506) and the Ganges, 17 at a distance of 60 yojanas from Mithilā (Jāt., VI, p. 32).

Aṅga proper of the Epics comprised the modern districts of Bhagalpur and Monghyr and extended northwards up to the river Kosi. The Aṅga kingdom at one time included Magadha and probably extended to the shores of the sea.

The Vidhura Paṇḍita Jātaka (Jāt., No. 545) describes Rājagaha as a city of Aṅga. The actual site of Campā, the ancient capital of Aṅga, is probably marked by two villages Campānagara and Campāpura that still exist near Bhagalpur.

The ancient name of Campā was probably Mālinī or Mālina 18 as stated in the Mahābhārata, the Purāṇas, and the Harivaṁśa.

The Mahā Janaka Jātaka (No. 539) refers to the gate, watch-tower and walls of Campā which, according to the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, was one of the six great cities of India.

Another Jātaka (Jāt., VI, 539) seems to record that Campā gradually increased in wealth and traders sailed from her banks to Suvaṇṇabhūmi (Lower Burma) for trading purposes.

It is not at all improbable [7] that emigrants from this city were responsible for naming and establishing the great settlement of the same name in Cochin-China in South-East Asia. 19

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, Aṅga is mentioned as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas.

The Vinaya Piṭaka (Vol. I, p. 179) tells us that there were 80,000 villages in the kingdom of Aṅga, and Campā was one of them. In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (pt. V, p. 225) we find mention of the town of Āpaṇa in Aṅga.

In the Mahāgovinda Suttanta (DN., II, p. 235) we find that Mahāgovinda built the city of Campā. 20 The same Suttanta also tells us that India was then divided into seven political divisions. The seven kingdoms with their capitals are named below:–

(l) Kaliṅga .. capital Dantapura

(2) Assaka .. ,, Potana

(3) Avanti .. ,, Māhissati

(4) Sovīra .. ,, Roruka

(5) Videha .. ,, Mithilā

(6) Aṅga .. ,, Campā

(7) Kāsī .. ,, Bārāṇasī

Before the time of the Buddha, Aṅga was a powerful kingdom. We are told in one of the Jātakas (Jāt., VI, p. 272) that Magadha was once under the sway of Aṅgarāja.

We are informed by the Jātaka book that there was a river between Aṅga and Magadha which was inhabited by a Nāga-rājā who helped the Magadhan king to defeat and kill the Aṅga-rājā and to bring Aṅga under his sway.

In one of the Jātakas (Jāt, V, pp. 312–316), it is stated that King Manoja of Brahmavaddhana (another name of Benares) conquered Aṅga and Magadha.

In Buddha’s time Aṅga lost her political power for ever. During this period Aṅga and Magadha were constantly at war (Jāt., 1V, pp. 454–55). The Aṅga country became subject to Seniya Bimbisāra. This is clearly proved by the fact that a certain brahmin named Sonadaṇḍa with whom the Buddha had a discussion on the subject of caste, lived at Campā on the grant made by King Bimbisāra and used to enjoy the revenues of the town which was given to him by the King (DN., Vol. I, p. 111).

In the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (pt. I, p. 279) we find mention of a tank called Gaggarāpokkharaṇī dug by the queen Gaggarā of Campā. From the Sonadaṇḍa Suttanta (DN., Vol. I) we [8] know that the Buddha with a large company of bhikkhus went to Campā in the Aṅga country and dwelt there on the bank of the Gaggarā.

The Vinaya Piṭaka (Vol. I, pp. 312–315) gives us to know of Gautama’s activities in Aṅga and Campā.

From the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. I, pp. 271 ff.) we know that the Buddha while dwelling among the Aṅgas in a city named Assapura in the kingdom of Aṅga preached the Mahā-assapura Suttanta to the bhikkhus, and on another occasion the Blessed One delivered the Culla-assapura suttanta to the bhikkhus (MN., I, pp. 281 ff).

It is said in the Nidānakathā (Jāt., I, p. 87) that many sons of the householders of Aṅga and Magadha followed the Buddha in course of his journey from Rājagaha to Kapilavatthu.

One of the Jātakas (Jāt., VI, p. 256) tells us that from the Himalaya sages came to the city of Kāla-Campā in the kingdom of Aṅga to enjoy cooked food.

In the Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. III, pp. 241ff.) we find that the chaplain of King Mahākosala, father of Pasenadi-Kosala, named Aggidatta gave up household life and lived in the midst of Aṅga-Magadha and Kuru country, and the people of Aṅga Magadha used to offer charities to Aggidatta and his disciples.

Aṅga was a prosperous country containing many merchants (VV. C., p. 337). It is evident from the Vimānavatthu Commentary that the people of Aṅga used to go to trade with many caravans full of merchandise to Sindhu-Sovīradesa. They had to pass through a desert and once they lost their way but were afterwards saved by a god (p. 332).

At the time of the Buddha, Campā, according to the Dīgha Nikāya, was a big town and not a village, and the Master was requested by Ānanda to obtain Parinirvāṇa in one of the big cities, e.g. Campā, Rājagaha (DN., II, 146).

Campā was once ruled by Asoka’s son, Mahinda, his sons and grandsons (Dip., p. 28). It was at Campā that the Buddha prescribed the use of slippers by the Bhikkhus (VP, I, 179 foll.).

The Dīgha Nikāya of the Sutta Piṭaka informs us that the Blessed One was sojourning amongst the Aṅgas and went to Campā and took his abode in a vihāra on the bank of the tank Gaggarā (DN., I, pp. III ff.).

The Buddha was, according to the Majjhima Nikāya (I, pp. 271 ff.), once dwelling among the Aṅgas in a city named Assapura in the kingdom of Aṅga.

Many sons of householders of Aṅga and Magadha followed the Buddha in course of his journey from Rājagaha to Kapilavastu. They all were his disciples (Jāt., I, Nidanakatha, p. 87).


Early Pāli literature abounds in information about the Magadha country, its people, and its ancient capital Giribbaja. Magadha roughly corresponds to the modern Patna and Gayā districts of Bihar. Its earliest capital was Girivraja, or old Rājagriha, near Rājgir among the hills near Gayā.

The Mahāvagga [9] calls it Giribbaja of the Magadhas in order to distinguish it from other cities of the same name (Cf. Girivraja in Kekaya). 21

Giribbaja seems to have other and perhaps older names. The Rāmāyaṇa tells us that the city was known by the name of Vasumati (I, 32.7).

The Mahābhārata seems to record that Girivraja was also called Bārhadrathapura (II, 24 44) as well as Māgadhapura (II, 20, 30) and that Māgadhapura was a well-fortified city being protected by five hills (puram durādharshaṁ samantataḥ). Other names recorded in the Mahābhārata are Varāha, Vrishabha, Rishigiri, and Caityaka. 22

There is, however, another name, Bimbisārapurī, by which Indian Buddhist Writers designated the city. 23

The Life of Yuan Chwang (p. 113) mentions still another name, Kusāgārapura. 24

The statement of the Mahābhārata that Girivraja was protected by five hills is strikingly confirmed by the Vimānavatthu Commentary (p. 82) in which we read that the city of Giribbaja was encircled by the mountains Isigili, Vepulla, Vebhara, Paṇḍava and Gijjhakūṭa.

The Vinaya Piṭaka (Vol. I, p. 29) tells us that Magadha comprised eighty thousand villages all of which were under the sway of King Bimbisāra. The same work informs us that the river Tapodā flowed by this ancient city (VP., IV, pp. 116–117).

In the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. I, pp. 166–67) we find that Senānigāma, one of the villages of Magadha, was a very nice place having a beautiful forest and a river with transparent water.

The Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. I, pp. 172–73) tells us of the Brāhmaṇa village of Ekanālā where a Brāhmaṇa named Bharadvāja lived. The Brāhmaṇa was converted by the Buddha.

The same Nikāya tells us of Nālakagāma in Magadha where Sāriputta delivered a discourse on nibbāna to a wandering ascetic named Jambukhādaka (Sam. IV, pp. 251–260).

In the Dīgha Nikāya (I, pp. 127 ff.) we find mention of a brahmin village of Khānumata in the territory of Magadha.

In the Dhammapadaṭṭhakathā (Vol. III, pp, 439–40) it is related that once the Buddha while staying at Rājagaha informed King Bimbisāra of Magadha that he would pay a visit to Vesālī. Bimbisāra prepared a road for the Buddha, and caused the ground from Rājagaha to the Ganges, a distance of 5 leagues to be made smooth, and erected a rest house at the end of each league.

From the [10] Mahāvastu. (Le Mahāvastu, Ed. by Senart, Vol. I, pp. 253 ff.) we know also of Buddha’s journey from Rājagriha to Vesālī. We are told that King Bimbisāra had the road all the way from Rājagaha to the Ganges decorated with flags and garlands, and that the Licchavis too had decorated the road from the Ganges to Vesālī.

In the Divyāvadāna (p. 55) we find the Buddha saying to the Bhikkhus that in order to go to Rājagaha from Sāvatthī one should cross the Ganges by boats kept either by King Ajātasattu or by the Licchavis of Vesālī.

These statements from various sources show that the Ganges formed the boundary between the Kingdom of Magadha and the republican country of the Licchavis, and that both the Magadhas and the Licchavis had equal rights over the river Ganges.

In the Campeyya Jātaka (Jāt., IV, p. 4–54) we find that the river Campā flowed between Aṅga and Magadha forming the boundary between the two kingdoms.

The two kingdoms of Aṅga and Magadha were engaged in battles from time to time (Jāt., IV, pp. 454–55). In a Jātaka story (Jāt., V, pp. 315 foll.) it is stated that once the King of Benares conquered both Aṅga and Magadha.

In another Jātaka story (Jāt., VI, p. 272) it is said that the Magadha kingdom once came under the suzerainty of Aṅga. The Mahāvagga (S.B.E., XVII, p. I) offers a reasonable evidence to prove that the kingdom of Aṅga came under Bimbisāra’s sway. 25 The Sona-daṇḍa Suttanta (Dīgha, Vol. I) also proves the same thing.

The Kosala Saṁyutta (SN., I, pp. 83–85) gives an account of a war between Pasenadi of Kosala and Ajātasattu of Magadha. In the end Ajātasattu succeeded in extending his sway over Kosala with the help of the Licchavis. Magadha during the reign of Ajātasattu came into conflict also with Vesālī of the Vajjis. Preliminaries to this struggle are described in the Mahāvagga and the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta as well as in the Nirayāvalī Sutta of the Jains. With Bimbisāra and Ajātasattu Magadha rose to such eminence that centuries later till Asoka’s Kaliṅga war, the History of Northern India is practically the History of Magadha.

Magadha was an important centre of Buddhism. According to the Kathāvatthu account (I, p. 89) Sāriputta and Moggallāna were converted by the Buddha to his faith while the latter was in Magadha.

The Samantapāsādikā (I, p. 63) tells us that the missionaries who visited various places to preach the dhamma of Asoka were almost all natives of Magadha.

In Asoka’s time the capital of the Magadhan kingdom was Pāṭaliputta (the older Pāṭaligāma where the ministers of [11] Ajātasattu built a fort to repel the Vajjis, DN., II, 86).

In the Samanta-Pāsādikā (I, p. 52) we find that Asoka’s income from the four gates of the city of Pāṭaliputta was 400,000 kahāpaṇas daily, and in the Sabhā or Council he used to get l00,000 kahāpaṇas daily.

Pāli literature, however, contains numerous references to Rājagaha, 26 the ancient capital of Magadha.

In the Saṁyutta (Vol. II, pp. 191–92) it is stated that the Vepullapabbata which was formerly called the Vankakapabbata was one of the hills surrounding Rājagaha. People could get up to its summit in three days. It was also called Supana.

In the Vinaya Piṭaka we are told that from Rājagaha a road lay to Andhakavinda which was once visited by 500 carts all full of pots of sugar (II, p. 93). Bimbisāra’s court-physician Jīvaka is referred to as an inhabitant of this place (VP., II, pp. 184–85). But his birth place was Magadha whose rice fields are described to have been divided into short pieces, and in rows, and by outside boundaries and by cross boundaries (Vinaya Texts, II, pp. 207–208). Jīvaka was, however, educated at Taxila (Vinaya Texts, S.B.E., II, p. 174).

Rājagaha had a gate which used to be closed in the evening, and nobody, not even the King was allowed to enter the city after that (VP., IV, pp. 116–17).

The city had a fort which was once repaired. by Vassakāra, the minister of Ajātasattu. Veluvana, the bamboo park of Rājagaha has often been referred to as a residence of the Master.

Kalandakanivāpa has also been referred to as another residence of the Master. In the 11th Khandhaka of the Cullavagga, there is an important reference to the Council of Rājagaha (VT., pt. III).

Magadha during the early Buddhist period was an important political and commercial centre and people from all parts of northern India flocked to the country in the wake of commerce and other pursuits. Stories of traders and merchants passing through or residing at the capital city are too numerous to recount.

Magadha maintained friendly relations by marriage and other alliances not only with the northern neighbours but also with the western Mahājanapada of Gandhāra from whose king Pukkusāti she received an embassy and a letter.

When King Pradyota was suffering from jaundice, the Magadhan King Bimbisāra sent his court-physician Jīvaka who had received his training at Taxila.


[12] The tribe of the Vajjis included, according to Cunningham and Prof. Rhys Davids, aṭṭhakulas or eight confederate clans among whom the Videhans, the Vajjis themselves, and the Licchavis were the most important. 27

The Videha clan had its seat at Mithilā which is recorded in the Brāhmaṇas and the Purāṇas to have [had] originally a monarchical constitution. 28

The Vajji or Vriji clan is mentioned by Pāṇini (IV, 2. 131) and Kauṭilya (Mysore Ed., 1919, p. 378) who however, distinguishes the Vrijikas or Vajjis from the Licchavikas. Yuan Chwang (Watters, II, 81) also distinguishes the Fu-li-chih (Vriji) country from Fei-she-li (Vaiśālī).

It seems that Vrijika or Vajji was not only the name of the confederacy, but also of one of the constituent clans. But the Vajjis, like the Licchavis, are often associated with the city of Vesālī which was not only the capital of the Licchavi clan, but also the metropolis of the entire confederacy.

‘A Buddhist tradition quoted by Rockhill (Life of the Buddha, p. 62) mentions the city of Vesālī as consisting of three districts. These districts were probably at one time the seats of three different clans.’ 29

The Licchavis had their capital at Vesālī identical with Besārh in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.

In the Paramatthajotikā on the Khuddakapāṭha and the Pujāvaliya, a Ceylonese Buddhist work, we find an account of the mythical origin of the Licchavis, the Vajji country and the capital Vesālī. Buddhaghosa’s fanciful story of the origin of the town of Vesālī is also supported by the Jātakaṭṭhakathā to the Ekapaṇṇa Jātaka (Jāt., I, p. 504). It is said in the commentary that at the time of the Buddha the city of Vesālī was encompassed by three walls at a distance of a gāvuta from one another and that at three places there were gates with watch towers and buildings.

From the Mahāvastu (Le Mahāvastu, Ed. by Senart, Vol. I, pp. 253 ff.) we know that the Buddha once visited Vesālī invited by the Licchavis.

Vesālī, at the time of the Buddha, was an opulent, prosperous and populous town. It had 7,707 storied buildings, 7,707 pinnacled buildings, 7,707 ārāmas or pleasure grounds, and 7,707 lotus ponds [13] (Vinaya Texts, S.B.E., II, p. 171).

A similar account of Vesālī is also found in the Laitavistara (Ed. by Lefmann, Chapter III, p. 21). 30

Vesālī was well provided with food, the harvest was good, alms were easy to obtain and one could very well earn his living by gleaneng or through favour (VT., II, p. 117).

There at Vesālī was the Gotamaka shrine. There lay a road from Vesālī to Rājagaha (Ibid., II, pp. 210–11,) and another from Vesālī to Kapilavatthu whence a number of Śākya ladies came to receive ordination from the Master who at that time was staying at Kūṭāgāra hall in the Mahāvana (Ibid., III, pp. 321 foll.).

In the 12th Khandhaka of the Cullavagga there is an important reference to the Buddhist Council of Vesālī (VT., III, pp. 386 ff.).

The Buddha’s missionary activities were confined not to Magadha and Kosala alone, but were spread over to Vesālī as well. Many discourses were delivered here either at the mango grove of Ambapālī, in the outskirt of the city or at Kūṭāgārasālā in the Mahāvana, the great forest stretching up to the Himalayas.

The Mahāparibbāna Suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya speaks of the existence of concord and amity among the Licchavis. 31

In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (P.T.S., pt. II, pp. 267–68), we find the Buddha saying that the Licchavis were strenuous and diligent, zealous and active. The Blessed One further said that if the Licchavis would be given to luxury and indolence, they were sure to be conquered by the Magadhan King Ajātasattu.

The Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 231) tells us of the Vajjis and the Mallas as forming saṁghas and gaṇas, that is, clans governed by organised corporations.

The Mahāvastu states that there were twice 84,000 Licchavirājās residing within the city of Vesālī.

The commentaries on the Cullakāliṅga Jātaka (Jāt., III, p. 1), and the Ekapaṇṇa Jātaka (Jāt., I, p. 50–1) speak of 7 ,707 rājās of Vesālī.

The political relation between Magadha and Vesālī was friendly. The fact that Ajātasattu is called Vedehiputto or Vaidehiputra (SN., II, p. 268; Commy. on Dīgha I, p. 47; Commy. on Majjhima I, p. 125; Commy. on Saṁyutta II, p. 215, Dvd., p.55) goes to show that King Bimbisāra established matrimonial alliance with the Licchavis by marrying a Licchavi princess.

In the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. II, pp. 100–101) we find that Licchavis were on friendly terms with King Pasenadi of Kosala.

[14] From the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta (DN., II, pp. 72 ff.) it is clear that Ajātasattu was determined to destroy the Vajjian power. In the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī we are told of the immediate cause which led to the outbreak of the war. It is said that there was a port near the Ganges extending over a Yojana, half of which belonged to Ajātasattu and half to the Licchavis. There was a mountain not far from it, and at the foot of the mountain there was a mine of precious substance. Ajātasattu found the Licchavis too powerful to crush. Accordingly he sent Sunīdha and Vassakāra, his ministers to sow the seed of dissensions among the Licchavis. Vassakāra succeeded in bringing about disunion among the Licchavi princes. Ajātasattu then succeeded in destroying the Licchavis.

Buddhist tradition has, however, preserved the names of eminent Licchavis as Mahānāma, general Sīha, Dummukha and Sunakkhatta. (AN., III, 74; Mahāli Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya DB., I, p. 198; VT., II, p. 108: MN., I, 234; 68; II, 252; The Book of the Kindred Sayings, pt. I, 295.)


The Mallaraṭṭha or Mallārāṣṭra has been mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas. The kingdom was divided into two parts which had for their capitals the cities of Kusāvati or Kusīnārā and Pāvā identical probably with Kasia (on the smaller Gondak and in the east of the Gorakhpur district) and a village named Padaraona (12 miles to the north-east of Kasia) respectively. 32

The Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta states that the Sāla grove of the Mallas where the Buddha lay in his Mahāparinibbāna was situated near the river Hiraṇyavatī identical probably, as Smith indicates, with the Gaṇḍak (Early Hist. of India, p. 167 11.).

The Mallas had at first a monarchical constitution (Kusa Jātaka; Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta, Mahāsudassana Suttanta, etc.) when their capital city had been known as Kusāvatī. But later on, in the time of the Buddha, when the monarchy came to he replaced by a republican constitution, the name of the city was changed to Kusīnārā.

Besides Kusīnārā, the Mallas had other important cities namely, Bhoganagara, Anupiya and Uruvelakappa 33 in the neighbourhood of which there existed a wide forest called Mahāvana.

In the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya it [15] is stated that Ānanda requested the Buddha not to attain Mahāparinibbāna in a small town like Kusīnārā. He suggested the names of great cities like Campā, Rājagaha, Sāvatthī, Sāketa, Kosambī, and Bārāṇasī. But the Blessed One selected Kusīnārā as the place of his Mahāparinibbāna and silenced Ānanda by narrating the former glories of Kusāvatī. The ancient city of Kusāvatī had seven ramparts, four gates, and seven avenues of palm trees. The Buddha himself says that Kusīnārā is ancient Kusāvatī. It was a capital city, and was 12 yojanas in length from east to west, and 7 yojanas in width north to south (DN., II, pp. 146–47).

In the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta (DN., II, pp. 72–168) we find an account of the Buddha’s journey from Rājagaha to Kusīnārā. We are also told of halting places, the list of which is given in order with important events:–

1. Rājagaha – the Buddha consulted by Ajātasattu about an expedition against the Vajjis.

2. Ambalaṭṭhikā.

3. Nālandā.

4. Pāṭaligāma where he crossed the Ganges.

5. Koṭigāma.

6. Nādikā. 34

7. Vesālī: while staying here at the Cāpāla Cetiya, the Buddha resolved to die in three months.

8. Bhaṇḍagāma.

9. Hatthigāma, Ambagāma, Jambugāma, Bhoganagara.

10. Pāvā: the Buddha here visited Cunda and fell ill by eating sūkaramaddava. He recovered and started for Kusīnārā; on his way he crossed the Kakuttha river, reached Ambavana, proceeded to the Sāla grove of the Mallas near Kusīnārā and died there.

From a passage in the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 231) it is apparent that the Mallas were a typical example of a Saṁgha rājya.

In the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta, mention is made of a set of officers called purisas about whose duties and functions very little is known.

Buddhism appears to have attracted many followers among the Mallas in Dabba (VT., III, pp. 4 ff.), Khaṇḍasumana (Pss. B., p. 90), Roja (VT., II, S.B.E., Vol. XVII, p. 139) and Sīha (Pss. B., p. 80).

The political relation between the Mallas and the Licchavis was on the whole friendly. But there were occasional rivalries between the two (cf. the story of BandhulaDhammapada, Faüsboll, old Edition, pp. 218–220).

[16] According to the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī, Kusīnārā was 25 yojanas from Rājagaha (II, p. 609).


The ancient Cedi country lay near the Jumna and was contiguous to that of the Kurus. It corresponds roughly to modern Bundelkhand and the adjoining region.

We are told by the Cetiya Jātaka (No. 422) that the capital city of the Cedi country was Sotthivati-nagara which is most probably identical with the city of Śuktimati or Śuktisāhvaya of the Mahābhārata (III., 20. 50 and XIV., 83. 2). 35

Other important towns of the Cedi kingdom include Sahajāti (AN., III, p. 355) and Tripurī, the mediaeval capital of Tripurivishaya or Cedi.

The Vedabbha Jātaka (No. 48) states that the road from Kāsī to Cedi was full of thieves and was, therefore, unsafe.

The Vessantara Jātaka (Jāt., VI, pp. 514–515) tells us that Cetaraṭṭha was 30 yojanas distant from Jetuttarā-nagara, the birth place of King Vessantara.

Cetiraṭṭha was an important centre of Buddhism. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. III, pp. 355–356; V, pp. 41 ff.; pp. 157–61) we find that Mahācuṇḍa while dwelling in the town of Sahajāti among the Cedis delivered many discourses. The same Nikāya (Vol. IV, pp. 228 ff.) also tells us that Anuruddha while dwelling among the Cedis in the Deer Park of Pācīnavaṁsa won Arahatship.

From the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. II, pp. 200, 201, 203) we learn that the Buddha went to the Cedis and other tribes while out preaching. In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. V, 436–37) a discussion on the four aryan truths is recorded to have taken place among the bhikkhus who dwelt among the Cedis in the Sahañcanika.

Vaṁsa or Vatsa:

The kingdom of the Vaṁsas or Vatsas is mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as one of the sixteen great countries of India. The capital of the country was Kausāmbī identical with modern Kosam near Allahabad.

The Bhagga (i.e. Bharga) state of Suṁsumāragiri was a dependency of the Vatsa kingdom (Jātaka No. 353; Bhandarkar, Carmichael lectures, p. 63). This is confirmed by the Mahābhārata (II, 30, 10–11) and the Harivaṁśa (29, 73) which testify to the close association of these two realms. 36

In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. II, pp. 146, 169) we find that Kosambī was suggested as one of the great cities where [17] the Blessed one should attain Mahāparinibbāna.

In the Sutta Nipāta Commentary (Vol. II, p. 584) we are told that the city of Kosambī was visited by the followers of Bāvarī, a leader of the Jaṭilas.

Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja dwelt at Ghositārāma at Kosambī. From the Psalms of the Brethren (pp. 110–111) we know that he was the son of the Chaplain to King Udena of Kosambī. He went to Rājagaha, entered the Order and in due time attained the sixfold abhiññā (supernatural knowledge).

In the Saṁyutta (Vol. IV, pp. 110–112) a conversation on religious subjects which took place between King Udena of Kosambī and Piṇḍola Bhāradvāja is related.

While the Buddha was staying at Ghositārāma at Kosambī, he held discourses on Dhamma, Vinaya, etc. (VT., pt. III, p. 233).


In the ancient literature mention is made of two Kuru countries, Uttarākuru and Dakkhiṇakuru. The Kuru country mentioned in the Ṛg-veda is probably the Uttarākuru of later times which is alluded to in Pāli literature as a mythical region. Its extent is, however, given as 8,000 yojanas (Smv., II, p. 623).

References to the southern Kuru country are frequent in Buddhist literature. The Papañcasūdanī says (Vol. I, p. 225) that there was a Janapada named Kuru and its kings used to be called Kurus.

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252, 256, 260) Kuru is mentioned as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas.

At Kammāssadhamma, one of the Kuru towns, the Buddha delivered some profound discourses to the Kurus: the Mahānidāna and the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Suttantas of the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. II).

The thera Raṭṭhapāla, whose verses are still preserved in the Therīgāthā, was a Kuru noble and was born in the town of Thullakoṭṭhika in the country of the Kurus (Pss. B., pp. 302 – 307). He is also mentioned in the Majjhima Nikāya (Il, pp. 65 foll.) as holding a religious discussion with King Koravya.

From the Dhammapada Commentary (III, pp. 241–47) we learn that Aggidatta, a chaplain of the King Mahākosala of Kosala, after renouncing the world, lived in a place between the eastern dominion of Aṅga-Magadha and the Kuru country.

Of smaller towns mention is made in the Pāli texts of Thullakoṭṭhika and Kammāssadhamma.

The Papañcasūdanī (Vol. I, pp. 225–226) gives us a story of the origin of the Kurus. It is stated that King Mandhātā, a Cakkavattī king of Jambudīpa, conquered Pubbavideha, Aparagoyāna, and Uttarākuru besides the devalokas. While returning from Uttarākuru a large number of the inhabitants of that country followed Mandhātā to Jambudīpa, and the place in Jambudīpa where they settled became known as Kururaṭṭham including provinces, villages, towns, etc. This explains the word ‘Kurusu’ occurring in Pāli Buddhist literature. The Buddha is said to have delivered a number of religious discourses in the Kuru country and a large number of people [18] embraced Buddhism (AN., V, pp. 29–32; SN., II, pp. 92–93 and pp. 107 ff.; MN., I, pp. 55 foll.; pp. 501 ff.; Ibid., II, pp. 261 ff.; DN., II, pp. 55 ff.).

The ancient Kuru country may be said to have comprised the Kurukshetra or Thaneswar. The district included Sonapat, Amin, Karnal, and Pānipat, and was situated between the Saraswatī on the north and Drishadvatī on the south.

According to the Mahā-sutasoma Jātaka (No. 537), the Kuru country was three hundred leagues in extent (‘tiyojana-sate Kururaṭṭhe’), and the capital city of Indapatta extended over seven leagues (sattayojake Indapattanagare Jāt, No. 537).

It is stated in the Jātakas (Nos. 413 and 495) that the ruling dynasty belonged to the Yudhiṭṭhila gotta (i.e., the famity of Yudhiṣṭhira).

Of kings and princes’ of the Kurus mention is made of the following in the Jātakas: Dhanañjaya Koravya (Kurudhamma Jātaka, No. 276; Dhūmakāri Jātaka, No. 413; Sambhava Jātaka, No. 515; Vidhurapaṇḍita Jātaka, No. 545), Koravya (Dasabrāhmaṇa Jātaka, No. 495; Mahāsutasoma Jātaka, No. 537), and Sutasoma (Mahāsutasorna Jātaka).


Like the Kuru country, the Pañcāla country too, which, by the way, is also mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas of Jambudīpa, was divided into two divisions: the northern or Uttarā Pañcāla and the southern or Dakṣiṇa Pañcāla, the Bhagirathi forming the dividing line.

In the Divyāvadāna we read of two Pañcālavishayas: Uttarā Pañcāla and Dakṣiṇa Pañcāla. The Jātakas as well as the Mahābhārata also refer to these two divisions of the country. 37

According to the Divyāvadāna (p. 435) the capital of Uttarā Pañcāla was Hastināpura, but the Kumbhakāra Jātaka (Cowell’s Jāt, III, p. 230) states that the capital of Uttarā Pañcāla was Kampillanagara and that a king named Dummukha ruled there. But according to the Mahābhārata, Northern Pañcāla had its capital at Ahicchatra or Chatravatī 38 (identical with modern Ramnagar in the Bareillay district) while southern Pañcāla had its capital at Kāmpilya (Mbh. 138, 7 3–74), identical with modern Kampil in the Farokhabad district, U.P. This apparent discrepancy in the two evidences is reconciled when we take into account that ‘a great struggle raged in ancient [19] times between the Kurus and the Pañcālas for the possession of Uttarā Pañcāla. Sometimes Uttarā Pañcāla was included in Kururaṭṭha (Somanassa Jātaka, No. 505; Mbh. I, 138) and had its capital at Hastināpura (Dvd., p. 435), at other times it formed a part of Kampillaraṭṭha (Brahmadatta Jātaka, No. 323; Jayaddisa Jātaka, No. 513; and Gaṇḍatindu Jātaka, No. 520).

Sometimes Kings of Kampillaraṭṭha held court at Uttarā Pañcālanagara; at other times Kings of Uttarā Pañcālaraṭṭha held court at Kampilla (Kumbhakāra Jātaka, No. 4.08). 39 This is the reason way King Dummukha of Uttarā Pañcāla had his capital not at Ahicchatra but at Kampillanagara.

The Saṁyutta Nikāya tells us of Visākhā of the Pañcālas who inspired the Bhikkhus with pious discourse delivered nicely in the meeting hall (Book of the Kindred Sayings, Vol. II, p. 190).

From the Psalms of the Brethren (pp. 152–153) we learn that Visākha was the son of the daughter of the King of the Pañcālas. On the death of his father, he succeeded to his title. But when he heard the Buddha preaching the Norm, he left the world. He followed the Blessed One to Sāvatthī and won insight and sixfold abhiññā.

Another Pañcāla King named Cūḷani Brahmadatta is mentioned in the Mahā-Ummagga Jātaka (No. 546) as well as in the Uttarādhyayana Sūtra (S.B.E., XLV, 57–6l), the Svapnavāsavadatta (Act V) and the Rāmāyaṇa (I, 32).

Pañcāla was originally the country north and west of Delhi from the foot of the Himalaya to the river Chambal, but it was divided into North and South Pañcāla, separated by the Ganges. It roughly corresponds to modern Budaon, Furrukhabad and the adjoining districts of the United Provinces.


The Matsya country comprises the modern territory of Jaipur; it included the whole of the present territory of Alwar with a portion of Bharatpur. From the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252, 256, 260) we know that the Matsya country was included in the traditional list of the sixteen Mahājanapadas.

The Janavasabha Suttanta (DN., II, p. 200) tells us of the Matsyas or Macchas in connection with the account of the Buddha’s stay at Nādika.

In the Vidhura Paṇḍita Jātaka (Cowell’s Jātaka, VI, p. 137) we read that the Macchas witnessed the dice-play of the King of the Kurus with the Yakkha Puṇṇaka.

The country of the Matsyas (RV., VII, 18, 6; Gopatha Br., I, 2, 9, Bibliotheca Indica Series) lay to the south or south west of Indraprastha and to the south of Sūrasena. The capital of the Matsya country was Virāṭanagara or Vairat, so called because it was the capital of Virāṭa, King of the Matsyas.


[20] In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Sūrasena country is mentioned as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas.

In one of the Jātakas (Cowell’s Jāt., Vol. VI, p. 137) we are told that the Sūrasenas along with the Pañcālas, Matsyas and Maddas witnessed a dice-play between Dhanañjaya Korabba and Puṇṇaka Yakkha. The country had its capital at Madhurā or Mathurā, which like Kausāmbī stood on the river Yamunā.

The ancient Greek writers refer to the Sūrasena country 40 as Sourasenoi and its capital as Methora.

From Saṅkissa, the place of the Buddha’s descent from heaven, to Mathurā it was a distance of 4 yojanas (Kaccāyana’s Pāli Grammar, S. C. Vidyābhūṣaṇ’s Ed., Book III, Chap. I, p. 157).

Buddhism was predominant in Mathurā for several centuries. The Vimānavatthu Commentary (pp. 118–119) tells us of a woman of Uttarā Madhurā who by offering alms to the Buddha was reborn in the Tāvatiṁsa heaven.

One of the most important suttas on the subject of caste was delivered by Mahākaccāyana in Madhurā (MN., Vol. II, pp. 83 ff.).

From the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 57) we know that when the Buddha was once proceeding from Mathurā to Verañji, he halted under a tree and there he was worshipped by many householders of either sex.

In the Ghata Jātaka (Cowell’s Jātaka, Vol. IV, pp. 50–52) we read that Mahāsāgara was the King of Upper Madhurā and that he had two sons whose accounts are recorded there well as in the Petavatthu Commentany (pp. 111 ff.).

The epic and pauranic story of Kamsa’s attempt to make himself a tyrant at Mathurā by overpowering the Yādavas, and his consequent death at the hands of Kriṣṇa is not only referred to by Patañjali but also by the Ghata Jātaka (No. 454). The Ghata Jātaka also confirms the brahmanical tradition about the association of Kriṣṇa Vāsudeva’s famity with Mathurā (PHAI., p. 89). ‘The Buddhist texts refer to Avantiputta, King of the Sūrasenas, in the time of Mahākaccāna who was the first among the chief disciples of Śākyamuni through whose agency Buddhism gained ground in the Mathurā region’ (Ibid., p. 90).

When Megasthenes wrote about the Sūrasenas, Mathurā must have formed a part of the Maurya Empire. During the Kushana supremacy, Mathurā again became important as a centre of Buddhist religion and culture. Numerous dated and undated images of Buddhas and Bodhisattwas as well as inscriptions have been unearthed here.

[21] Mathurā or Madhurā is generally identified with Maholi, 5 miles to the south-west of the present town of Mathurā or Muttra.

There was a second Mathurā or Madhurā in ancient India. It was the second capital of the Pāṇḍya kingdom on the river Vaigi, in the province of Madras. It was called Dakṣiṇa Mathurā to distinguish

it from Mathurā of the north.


In the Aṅguttara Nikāya Assaka [it] is mentioned as one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas of Jambudīpa (AN., I, p. 213; IV, pp. 252, 256, 260).

From the Mahāgovinda Suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 235) we learn that Potana was the capital city of the Assakas.

In the Sutta-Nipāta (verse 977) we find, however, mention of another Assaka country in the Dakkhiṇāpatha. We are told that the brahmin Bāvarī lived on the banks of the Godāvarī in the Assaka territory in close proximity to Aḷaka or Muḷaka (the district round Paithan).

In a Jātaka story (Jāt., III, pp. 3–5) we find that the relationship between King Kaliṅga of Dantapura and King Assaka of Potana, was at first hostile. But afterwards the two kings lived amicably.

In the Vimānavatthu Com mentary (pp. 259 ii.) we find the story of an Assaka king who was ordained by Mahākaccāyana. In the Commentary the capital city is named Potanagara.

It should be noticed that the name of the capital city of the Assaka country is given both as Potali and Potana. It may seriously be asked if the two names are identical though their identity has always been accepted without doubt. At one time the city of Potali was included in the kingdom of Kāsī, for in the Assaka Jātaka (Jāt., II, p. 155) we are told that there was once a King named Assaka who reigned in Potali which is stated to be a city in the kingdom of Kāsī.

The Cullakāliṅga Jātaka (Jāt., III, p. 3) mentions another King of Assaka named Aruṇa and refers to a victory which he won over the King of Kāliṅga.

In the Hāthigumphā inscription of King Khāravela, it is stated that King Khāravela, without taking into account King Sātakarṇī, caused a large army to move towards the western quarter (Pachima disam) and strike terror into Asaka (or Asika) nagara.

The Assaka of the Cullakāliṅga Jātaka and the Asikanagara of the Hāthigumphā inscription are probably identical with the Assaka of the Suttanipāta which is stated to be located on the Godāvarī.

Assaka represents the Sanskrit Aśmaka (or Aśvaka) which has been mentioned by Asaṅga in his Sūtrālaṅkāra as a country in the basis of the Indus. Asaṅga’s Aśmaka seems, therefore, to be identical with the Kingdom of Assakenus of the Greek writers which lay to the east of the Saraswatī at a distance of about 25 miles from the sea on the Swat Valley.

The Aśmakas are also mentioned by Pāṇini (IV, I, 173). They are placed in the north-west by the authors of the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa [22] and the Brihat-saṁhita.

It was a branch of this people of the north-west that probably settled in the territory known in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as Assaka Mahājanapada whose capital was Potana or Potali, the Paudanya of the Mahābhārata (1, 77, 47).

In early Pāli literature Assaka has been distinguished from Muḷaka which lay to its north, but has always been associated with Avanti which lay immediately to the north-east.

At the time of the Buddha, the Assakas had another settlement on the Godāvarī (S. Nip., V, 977) as already mentioned. This is probably referred to in the Cullakāliṅga Jātaka and in the Hāthigumphā inscription.

Bhaṭṭaswāmi, the commentator of Kauṭilya’s Arthaśāstra identifies Aśmaka, the contiguous territory of Avanti, with Mahārāṣṭra.

Practically speaking, therefore, the Assaka country of the Buddhists, whether it be identical with Mahārāshtra or located on the Godāvarī, lay outside the pale of the Madhyadeśa.


Avanti is mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya as one of the sixteen great Janapadas.

From the Dīpavaṁsa (Oldenberg’s ed., p. 57) we know that Ujjenī, the capital of Avanti, was built by Accutagāmī.

Ujjenī is also referred to in Minor Rock Edict No. 2 of Asoka. A Kumāra was in charge of a province with his headquarters at Ujjenī.

Avanti roughly corresponds to modern Mālwa Nimār and adjoining parts of the Central Provinces. Prof. Bhandarkar has rightly pointed out that ancient Avanti was divided into two parts; the northern part had its capital at Ujjenī and the southern part called Avanti Dakṣiṇāpatha had its capital at Māhissatī or Māhiśmatī (CL., p. 54).

The Mahāgovinda suttanta of the Dīgha Nikāya states that Māhissatī was the capital of the Avantis whose King was Vessabhu. This apparently refers to the Avanti country in the Dakṣiṇāpatha. The distinction is however noticed in the Mahābhārata where Avanti and Māhiṣmatī are said to be two different countries (II, 31, 10).

Among other cities of Avanti referred to in Buddhist and Jain works, mention may be made of Kuraraghara and Sudarsanapura (B. C. Law, Ancient Mid-Indian Kṣatriya Tribes, p. 148; Kathakosa, 18).

Avanti was an important centre of Buddhism. Some of the leading theras and therīs were either born or resided there, e.g., Abhayakumāra (Th. G.C., 39), Isidāsī (Therī G.C., 261 – 64), Isidatta (Th. G., 120), Soṇakuṭikaṇṇa (VT., pt. II, p. 32; Th. G., 369; Udana, V, 6), and Mahākaccāna (SN., III, p. 9; Ibid., IV, p. 117; AN., I, p. 23, Vol. V, 46; MN., III, pp. 194, 223).

From the Psalms of the Brethren (pp. 238–239) we learn that Kaccāyana the Great was born at Ujjenī in the famity of the Chaplain of King Caṇḍapajjota. It is expressly stated that Mahākaccāna converted the King to the Buddhist faith.

The Dhammapada Commentary (Vol. V, p. 101) tells us that when [23] Mahākaccāna was living at the city of Kuraraghara in Avanti, he ordained an upasāka named Sonakuṭikaṇṇa.

The Psalms of the Brethren (p. 107) tells us that the Thera Isidatta was one of the converts of Mahākaccāyana. He was born in the kingdom of Avanti at Veḷugāma.

The Commentary on verses 21–23 of the Dhammapada gives a romantic story of the way in which a matrimonial alliance was established between the royal families of Kosambī and Avanti.

At the time of the Buddha, India was divided into small independent kingdoms. Of these kingdoms Magadha under Bimbisāra and Ajātasattu, Kosala under Pasenadi, Avanti under Pajjota, and Kosambī under Udena, played important roles in the political drama of India in the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. There was rivalry among these powers, each trying to extend its supremany at the cost of another. Accordingly we find Pajjota trying to extend his supremany over Udena. Pajjota, however, could not achieve his object. In the end Pajjota gave his daughter Vāsavadattā in marriage to Udena. This matrimonial alliance saved Kosambī from being conquered by Pajjota. Udena also established a matrimonial alliance with the King of Magadha. These two royal marriages were essentially necessary for the maintenance of the political independence of Kosambī which, however, served as a buffer state between Avanti and Magadha. Had not Udena contracted these alliances, Kosambī would have fallen an easy prey to the over growing powers of Magadha and Avanti.

Janapadas, Nigamas, Nagaras, Gāmas, etc.


In the Mahāvastu (A Study of the Mahāvastu, pp. 156–57) we read that the Buddha, desirous of preaching the Dhamma to the Pañcavaggiya bhikkhus who were then in Benares, set out from Uruvilva. From Uruvilva the Buddha came to Gayā, from Gayā to Apara-Gayā where he was invited by Sudarsana, King of Snakes. He then came to Vesālī whence he went to a city named Cundadvīla, where he announced to the Ājīvika named Upaka that without a master he had become ‘Buddha’.

Ambasaṇḍa, Andhakavinda:

To the east of Rājagaha was the brahmin village of Ambasaṇḍa (DN., II, p. 263). Once the Buddha dwelt at Andhakavinda in Magadha. It is said that the Brahmā Sahampati saw the Blessed One there and uttered some verses in his presence (SN., I, p. 154).


There are references to Ayojjhā in Pāli literature. In the Saṁyutta (Vol. III, p. 140) we are told that the Buddha once dwelt in Ayojjhā on the bank of the Ganges. During the Buddhist period, Ayojjhā on the Sarayū was the capital of Dakṣiṇa Kosala, while that of Uttarā Kosala was Sāvatthī on the Rāpti.

Ayojjhā represents Sanskrit Ayodhyā of the Rāmāyaṇa and [24] A-yu-te of Yuan Chwang who places it 600 li to the south-east of the neighbourhood of Navadevakula city identified with Newal in Unao district, U.P. Ayodhyā is only a mile from Fyzabad. The Janapada roughly corresponds to modern Oudh.


Andhapura is mentioned in the Serivānija Jātaka (Jāt, Vol. I,. 111). It is said that two dealers in pots and pans, who were inhabitants of the kingdom of Seri, came across the river Teḷavāha and entered the city of Andhapura and set about hawking the wares round the streets.


In the Tipallatthamiga Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. I, p. 160) it is said that hard by the town of Āḷavī was the Aggāḷava Cetiya. The Buddha while dwelling in Aggāḷava shrine near Āḷavī told a story concerning the regulation to be observed in the building of cells.

Āḷavī has been identified by General Cunningham and Dr. Hoernle with Newal or Nawal in Unao district in U.P. According to Mr. Nandalal Dey, Āḷavī is Aviwa, 27 miles north east of Etwah.


Near the town of Anūpiya was the Anūpiya mango grove. While dwelling once in this grove, the Blessed One told a story about the Elder Bhaddiya who joined the ‘Brotherhood’ in the company of the six young nobles with whom was Upāli (Sukhavihari Jātaka, Jāt, Vol. I, p. 140).


In the Cetiya Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. III, p. 460) we are told that four sons of the King of Ceti built five cities: Hatthipura, Assapura, Sīhapura, Uttarā Pañcāla, and Daddarapura. Hatthipura was built on the spot where the king’s son saw a white royal elephant. Assapura was named as such as the king’s son laid out the city in the very place where he saw a royal horse which was white.

Sīhapura was named from a maned lion. Daddarapura was named from the two mountains striking against each other and making the sound of ‘Daddara’. It is difficult to identity the cities named in this Jātaka. Sīhapura, however, may be taken to represent Yuan Chwang’s Seng-ho-pu-lo, or Singhapura situated at 700 li or 117 miles to the east of Taxila. But this is a mere conjecture and the Jātaka story cannot possibly be surmised to relate to the Gandhāra region. Hatthipura again, however, may be taken to represent Hastinapura, traditionally identified with an old town in Mawāna tahsil, Merat (CAGI., p. 702).


In the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta (DN., II) we are told that the Bulis of Allakappa obtained the possession of a portion of the relics of the Buddha and built a stūpa over them. The Bulis, like the Licchavis of Vesālī, the Videhas of Mithilā, the Sākiyas of Kapilavatthu, the Koliyas of Rāmagāma, the Bhaggas of [25] Suṁsumāra hill and the Moriyas of Pipphalivana, had a republican form of government. But their importance as a republican state was not very great.

Materials regarding the Bulis in Pāli literature are very meagre. The Dhammapada Commentary (Harvard Oriental Series 28, p. 247), however, refers to the kingdom of Allakappa. It was ten leagues in extent and its king was in intimate relationship with King Veṭhadīpaka of Veṭhadīpa.

In Beal’s Si-yu-ki, Veṭhadīpa, the native land of Brāhmaṇa Droṇa, has been stated to be situated on the way from Masār in the Shāhābād district to Vaisali. It may, therefore, be assumed that Allakappa lay not very far from Veṭhadīpa.

Bhaddiya, Beluvagāma:

Visākhā was born in the city of Bhaddiya in the Aṅga kingdom (Dh.C., Vol. I, p. 384). The village of Beluva was in Vesālī (SN., Vol. V, p. 152).


Bhaṇḍagāma was situated in the country of the Vajjis (AN., II, p. 1).


In the Bharu Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. II, p. 171) we find a reference to the kingdom of Bharu ruled over by a king named Bharu. It is difficult to locate the kingdom.


Bahaḍagojaṭira is mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions. The location of the place is unknown. The name, however, implies that the place was on the bank of a river crossed by bullocks, cows, and goats (Barhut Inscriptions by Barua and Sinha, p. 7).


Bibikānadikaṭa is referred to in the Barhut inscriptions. This, as its name implies, was a place in the region of the Bimbikā river. But a river or a country of this name has not as yet been traced in any known list of geographical names (Ibid., p. 8).


Bodhicaka, mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions, is Sanskrit Bodhicakra. It is doubtful if this was the name of a locality though a similar name Ekacakra is met with in the Pauranic list of places (Ibid., p. 28).


In the Mahādhammapāla Jātaka (J at., IV, p. 50) we read that Dhammapālagāma was included in the kingdom of Kāsī.


Dabha is probably identical with Sanskrit Darbha mentioned in the Brahmāṇḍa and a few other Purāṇas as a country located on the hills. It is mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions.


In the Mahāvastu the traditional list of the sixteen Mahājanapadas is referred to, but the names of the countries are not given. But a long list of countries is given in connection with the [26] distribution of knowledge by the Buddha in various countries (A Study of the Mahāvastu, p. 9). The list, however, slightly differs from the traditional list of the sixteen Mahājanapadas found in the Aṅguttara Nikāya. The Mahāvastu list agrees with the Aṅguttara list except in this that the former omits Gandhāra and Kamboja and mentions Sivi and Dasārṇa countries instead.

Dasārṇa has been mentioned in the Mahābhārata (II, 5–10) as well as in the Meghadūtam of Kalidāsa (24–25), and is generally identified with Vidisā or Bhilsa region in the Central Provinces.

Ekasālā, Ekanālā:

From the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 111) we know that the Buddha once stayed among the Kosalans at the brahmin vlllage of Ekasālā.

In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. I, p.172) we find a reference to the brahmin village of Ekanālā. It was in Magadha. we are told that the Blessed One once stayed on the Dakkhiṇagiri at Ekanālā.


In the Petavatthu (p. 20) there is a reference to the city Erakaccha of the Dasaṇṇas. It is difficult to identify the Dasaṇṇā country or to ascertain in which division it was located.


It was at Isipatana Migadāya 41 that the Buddha for the first time delivered the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta and converted the Pañcavaggiya bhikkhus (MN., I, pp. 170 ff.; cf. SN., V, pp. 420 ff.). The Migadāya was situated in Isipatana. It is Sarnath, six miles from Benares.


In the Sutta Nipāta (p. 47) we are told that once the Buddha dwelt at Gayā. The Yakkha Suciloma, it is said, threatened to harm the Blessed One, if he could not answer his questions. The Buddha said, in repay to the questions asked, that all passions proceeded from the body.

Gayā comprises the modern town of Shahebganj on the northern side and the ancient town of Gayā on the southern side. Buddhagayā is six miles to the south of Gayā.


[27] ln the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta (DN., II, p. 123) and in the Saṁyutta Nikāya (IV, p. l09) mention is mada of Hatthigāma. It was in the Vajji country. From the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta we know that the Buddha in course of his journey from Rājagaha to Kusīnārā passed through Hatthigāma.


Haliddavasana, a village in the Koliya country was visited by the Buddha (SN., V, p. 115). The Koliya country lay to the east of the Śākya territory. They had their capital at Kāmagāma.

The introduction to the Kunāla Jātaka says that the Śākya and Koliya tribes had the river Rohiṇī which flowed between Kapilavastu and Rāmagāma. Both the tribes had the river confined by a single dam and they cultivated their crops by means of water of this river (Cowell’s edition, Vol. V, pp. 219 foll.).

From the Theragāthā (Verse 529, p. 56) it appears that the territories of the Śākyas and the Koliyas lay side by side and the river Rohiṇī formed the boundary between the two clans.


Majjhima propagated the Buddhist faith in the Himavantapadesa (Mv., Chap. XII). It has been identified by some with Tibet but Fergusson identifies it with Nepal.

What is Himavantapadesa in the Mahāvaṁsa is, however, stated to be Cīnaraṭṭha mentioned in the Sāsanavaṁsa (p.13). Prof. Rhys Davids identifies Himavantapadesa with the Central Himalayas. It is 3,000 yojanas in extent (Papañcasūdanī, II, p. 6).


Icchānaṅgala was a Brāhmaṇagāma in Kosala. Once the Buddha stayed at that village in the Icchānaṅgalavanasaṇḍa (AN., III, pp. 30, 341; Ibid., IV, p. 340). In the Suttanipāta (p.115) the name of the village is given as Icchānaṁkala.


In the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. IV, p. 354) it is said that once the Buddha was staying at the Cālikā-pabbata in Cālikā. The venerable Meghiya approached the Master and requested the Lord to permit him to go about for alms in Jantugāma. The Blessed One gave his permission and the latter went about for alms and in due course came up to the bank of the river Kimikālā.


Kākaṁdi is mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions. The location of the place is unknown.


Khujatimduka is mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions. The location of the place is unknown.

The Purāṇas mention Kubjaka and Kubjāmra among the holy places of India, but they do not seem to have any connection whatsoever with Khujatimduka.


From the Dhammapada Commentary (Vol. I, p. 96) we know that the village of Kalavāḷa was in the Magadharaṭṭha. We are told that [28] while residing near this village Moggallāna fell into sloth on the 7th day after the day of his reception into the Order. Aroused by the Master, Moggallāna shook off sloth and completed meditation leading to the three higher paths and attained the goal of Perfection of Knowledge of chief disciples.


In the Mahāvagga (VT., II, p. 38) as well as in the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (II,p. 429), Kajaṅgala is stated to have been the eastern limit of the Majjhimadesa.

It is the Ka-chu-wen-ki-lo of Yuan Chwang who says that it was 2,000 li in circuit (Watters, II, p. 182). It is mentioned as Kajaṅgala in the commentary on the Rāmapālacarita (Anc. Geo. of India, p. 723).

A Jātaka story tells us (Jāt., IV, 3.10) that Kajaṅgala was, even in Buddha’s time, an ancient place where food could easily be got (dabbasambhārā sulabhā).

From the Milinda-pañho (p. 10) we know that it was a brāhmaṇagāma and was the place of Nāgasena’s birth.

The Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. V, p. 54) tells us that the Buddha once dwelt at Veluvana in Kajaṅgala.

In the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. III, p. 298) we read that the Buddha resided at Mukheluvana in Kajaṅgala and delivered the Indriyabhāvanā Sutta.


From the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. V, p. 431) we know that Koṭigāma was a village of the Vajjians.

From the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta (DN.,II, pp. 90–91) we know that the Buddha in course of the journey from Rājagaha to Kusīnārā passed through Koṭigāma.


From the Asātarūpa Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. I, 407) we know that near the city of Kuṇḍiya was the Kuṇḍadhānavana where the Buddha told a story about Suppavāsā, a lay sister, who was a daughter of King Koliya.


Kapilavatthu the capital of the Śākya country, named after the Ṛṣi Kapila.

The Lalitavistara calls it Kapilavastu and sometimes Kapilapura (p. 243) or Kapilāhvayapura (p. 28). These names occur also in the Mahāvastu (Vol. II, p. ] .l, line 3).

The Divyāvadāna (p. 548) also connects Kapilavastu with the sage Kapila.

The Buddhacarita (Book I, V. 2) also mentions it as Kaplasya vastu.

The Mahāvastu says that Kapilavastu was surrounded by seven walls (Vol. II, p. 75).

The importanee of the Śākyas in Indian History is due to the birth of the Buddha among them.

The Mahāvastu (I, pp. 348 foll.) gives a story of the foundation of Kapilavastu and the settlement of the Śākyas there.

According to Yuan Chwang it was about 500 li south-east from the neighbourhood of Srāvastī. B

esides Kapilavastu there were also other Śākya towns: Cātumā, Sāmagāma, Ulumpā, Devadaha, Sakkara, Sīlavatī and Khomadussa.

The episode of Pasenadi’s marriage with Vāsavakhattiyā, [29] one of the daughters of a Śākya chief by a slave girl, proves how proud and aristocratic the Śākyas were.

Some of the Śākya ladies, who became nuns, have left behind them poems and songs that are preserved in the Psalms of the Sisters: Tissā (Pss.S., pp. 12–13), Abhirūpanandā (Ibid., pp. 22–23), Mittā (1bid., p. 29) and Sundarīnandā (Ibid., pp. 55-I57).

The administrative and judicial business of the Śākya clan was carried out in their Saṅthāgāra or Mote hall at Kapilavatthu (Buddhist India, p. 19).

The Lalitavistara gives 500 as the number of the members of the Śākya Council (pp. 136–137).

In the Dhammapada Commentary (III, p. 254) we are told that the Śākyas and the Koliyas caused the waters of the river Rohiṇī to be confined by a single dam between the city of Kapilavatthu and the city of Koliya, and cultivated the fields on both sides of the river. Once a quarrel broke out between the Sākiyas and the Koliyas regarding the possession of the river. The Buddha knowing that the quarrel would result in the destruction of both went to the place of the scene and brought about conciliation.

In one of the Jātakas (Jāt., IV, pp. 144 ff.) we are told that Viḍūḍabha, in order to crush the Sākiyas who deceived his father by giving him a daughter of a slave girl to marry, deposed his father and became king. He marched out with a large army and succeeded in annihilating the Sākiyas. But he with his army met with destruction.

In the Mahāvaṁsa Ṭīkā (pp. 119–121) we are told that some Sākiyas being oppressed by King Viḍūḍabha fled to the Himalayas where they built the Moriyanagara.

It is now generally accepted that Candagutta, grandfather of Asoka the Great, belonged to the Moriya clan which had its seat of government at Pipphalivana.

Kapilavatthu is referred to in both the Ceylonese chronicles, the Dīpavaṁsa and the Mahāvaṁsa.

Yuan Chwang visited Kapilavastu, the towns of Krakucandra and Konāgamana and Lumbini or La-fa-ni grove, the birth place of Lord Buddha.

The Rummindeī pillar inscription of Asoka locates beyond doubt the Lumbinī grove. The inscription on the Niglīva pillar (now situated 38 miles north-west of the Uskabazar station of B.N.W. Ry.) shows that it was erected near the stūpa of Konāgamana; but it is not in situ.

The village of Piprāwā (Birdpur Estate, Basti District) – the findspot of the famous Piprāwā Vase – marks, according to Dr. Fleet, the site of Kapilavastu (J.R.A.S., 1906, p. 180; CAGI, pp. 711–712). Dr. Rhys Davids, however, takes Tilaura Kot to be the old Kapilavastu and Piprāwā to be the new city built after the destruction of the old city by Viḍūḍabha. Mr. P. O. Mukherjee concurs with Dr. Rhys Davids and identifies Kapilavatthu with Tilaura, 2 miles north of Tauliva which is the headquarters of the provincial government [30] of the Tarai, and 3½ miles to the south-west of the Nepalese village of Nigliva, north of Gorakhpur, situated in the Nepalese Tarai. Rumminedeī is only 10 miles to the east of Kapilavatthu, and 2 miles north of Bhagavanpur.


The Kālāmas of Kesaputta were a small republican clan during the age of Bimbisāra, and have been mentioned along with other contemporary republican clans such as the Śākyas of Kapilavastu, the Koliyas of Rāmagāma, the Bhaggas of Suṁsumāra hill, the Bulis of Allakappa, and the Moriyas of Pipphalivana.

According to the Buddhacarita (XII, 2) they were the clans to which the philosopher Āḷāra belonged.

The Aṅguttara Nikāya (I, 188) seems to place Kesaputta in Kosala. 42


It was the capital of King Khema’s kingdom (DN., II, p. 7). The exact identity of the place is not known.


Mithilā was the capital of the Videhas and is celebrated in the Epics as the land of King Janaka. At the time of the Buddha the Videha country was one of the eight constituent principalities of the Vajjian confederacy. Of these eight principalities the Licchavis of Vesālī and the Videhas of Mithilā were, however, the most important.

It is stated in one of the Jātakas (Cwell’s Jāt., III, p. 222) that the city of Mithilā, the capital of the Videhas, was seven leagues and the kingdom of Videha, three hundred leagues in extent.

In the Mahājanaka Jātaka (Cowell’s Jātaka, IV, p. 204) the distance between Mithilā and Campā is given as sixty leagues.

In one of the Jātakas (Cowell’s Jātaka, III, p. 222) we read that the kingdom of Videha had 15,000 villages, 16,000 storehouses filled, and 16,000 dancing girls.

It is clear from Dhammapāla’s Paramatthadīpanī on the Theragāthā (pp. 277 278) that at the time of the Buddha, Videha was a centre of trade. We are told of people coming from Sāvatthī to Videha to sell their wares. It is also stated that the route passed through a desert.

Videha is identical with ancient Tīrabhukti, that is modern Tirhut. According to the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (I, IV, 1) Videha was so named after Māthava the Videgha who colonized it. It was bounded by the Kausikī (Kosi) in the east, the Ganges in the south, the Sadānīrā (the Gandak or the Rāpti) in the west [31] and the Himalayas in the north.

According to the Rāmāyaṇa (Ādikāṇḍa, XLIX, 9–16; cf. Śānti Parva of the Mahābhārata, CCCXXVII, 12233–8), Mithilā was the name of the capital as well as of the country itself.

Cunningham identifies the capital with Janakapura, a small town within the Nepal border, north of which the Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga districts meet (CAGI., p. 718).


In one of the Jātakas (Jāt., I, 199) reference is made to a village named Macala in Magadha.


It is mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions. The location of the place is unknown. If it be the same as Nandigrāma of the Rāmāyaṇa, then it may be identical with Nandgaon in Oudh.

Nagara or Nagari:

The place is mentioned in the Barhut inscriptions. The location of the place is unknown. Is it identical with Nagarahāra mentioned in the Parāsaratantra, the Nang-go-lo-ho-lo of the Chinese, the Nagara or Dionysopolis of Ptolemy and identified with Jelalabad? If so, then it should be located in the Uttarāpatha division. But it may also be held to he identical with Nagarī or Nagara, 8 miles north of Chitorgadh State in Udaipur in Rajputana.


Nālandā is frequently referred to in early Pāli literature. The Buddha is said to have started once from Rājagaha for Nālandā (DN., I, pp. 1 foll.).

In the Saṁyutta Nikāya it is stated that the Buddha once visited Nālandā from Kosala (Ibid., IV, p. 323).

In the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 371) we read that once the Buddha dwelt in the Pāvārikambavana at Nālandā where he had a discussion with Dīgha Tapassi, a Nigaṇṭha, relating to the Nigaṇṭha doctrines and delivered the Upālisutta.

In the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (Vol. I, p. 35) we find that the distance from Rājagaha to Nālandā was one yojana.

Nālandā is identified with modern Bargaon, 7 miles to the north-west of Rājgir in the district of Patna.

Nālandā acquired an orient-wide celebrity as the most important seat of Buddhist learning and culture in the days of the Guptas from the sixth and seventh centuries onwards.

The famous Indrasilā cave may be located in the rugged hill rising immediatety to the west of the Badgaon village.


Nālaka, a village in Magadha, was visited by Sāriputta (SN., IV, p. 251). We know that Sāriputta stayed among the Magadhans at Nalagāmaka which was not far from Rājagaha (Ibid., V, 161). This Nalagāmaka may be said to be identical with Nālaka.

In the Mahāsudassana Jātaka (Jāt., I, p. 391) the name of the village where the Elder Sāriputta was born is given as Nāla. In the same Jātaka we read that Sāriputta died at Varaka (Ibid.).


[32] In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (II, p. 74) we are told that the Buddha stayed at Nātika. It is called Nādika (of the Nādikas). The identification of the place is not known.


In the Cariyāpiṭaka (Dr. B. C. Law’s Ed., p. 7) we read that Canda-Kumāra was the son of Ekarāja of Pupphavatī. He offered charities whole-heartedly and he never ate anything without first giving it to a beggar. Pupphavatī was only another name for Bārāṇasī, the capital of the Kāsī kingdom (CL, pp. 50–51). Other names of Bārāṇasī were Surundhana, Sudassana, Brahmavaddhana, Rammanagara and Molini.


The Moriyas of Pipphalivana are included in the list of the republican clans that existed in the time of the Buddha (Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta - DN., Vol. II, p. 167). There is little information about the Moriyas in Buddhist literature. From the Suttanta referred to above we come to know that they got a portion of the relics of the Buddha and erected a stupa over the same. In the Mahāvaṁsa we are told that Candagutta, grandfather of Asoka, belonged to the Moriya clan. The Moriyas are, therefore, the same as the Mauryas.


The Koliyas, one of the republican clans of the time of the Buddha, had two settlements, one at Rāmagāma and the other at Devadaha.

The Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (pp. 260–262) tells us of the origin of the Koliyas. It is stated that a sage named Rāma, an ex-king of Benares who left his kingdom and retired to a forest as he was detested by his wives and relatives, married the eldest of the five daughters of King Okkāka, who had been forsaken by her relatives and forced to live in forest, and built a town in the forest removing a big Kola tree. The city henceforth came to be known as Kolanagara and the descendants of the king came to be known as Koliyas.

According to the Mahāvastu (Vol. I, pp. 352--55) the Koliyas were, however, descendants of the sage Kola.

The Kunāla Jātaka (Jāt., V, p. 413) says that the Koliyas used to dwell in the Kola tree. Hence they came to be called the Koliyas.

In the Theragāthā (V, 529, p. 56) and in one of the Jātakas (Cowell’s Jātaka, V, p. 219) we are told of a quarrel between the Śākyas and the Koliyas. The Buddha, however, brought about a conciliation between the two clans.

Rāmagāma is Rampur Deoriya in the district of Basti in Oudh.


The Buddha once dwelt in the Sakka country in Sāmagāma and delivered the Sāmagāma Sutta (MN., II, p. 243). The Aṅguttara Nikāya (III, p. 309) also tells us that the Buddha once dwelt at Sāmagāmaka in the country of the Śākyas on the bank of a tank.


[33] Ānanda once stayed at Sāpūgan township of the Koliyas (AN., II, p. 19–1).


It was the capital of King Sobha’s kingdom (DN., II, p. 7).


Setavya was a city of the Kosala country. In the Anguttara Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 37) we find that it is near Ukkaṭṭha, and that there was a road from Ukkaṭṭha to Setavya.


After the Buddha had performed the ‘Double Miracle’ and had made a stay in heaven, he descended at the city of Saṁkassa on the day of the great Pavāraṇā festival, and thence passed with a large following to Jetavana (Kaṇha Jātaka, Jāt., Vol. I, p. 193).

Saṁkassa is Saṅkissa or Sankisa-Basantapura, situated on the north bank of the river Ikkhumatī; now called Kālīnadī, between Atranji and Kanoj, and 23 miles west of Fatehgarh in the district of Etah and 45 miles north-west of Kanoj.


Sālindiya was a brāhman village on the east side of Rājagaha (Suvaṇṇa-Kakkhaka Jātaka, Jāt., Vol. III, p. 293).


The Bhaggas of Suṁsumāra Hill have frequently been referred to in Pāli literature. Suṁsumāra Hill was doubtless the capital of the Bhagga country. There can also be no doubt about the fact that it was used as a fort. We know that in the lifetime of the Buddha, Prince Bodhi, son of King Udena of Kosambī, ruled over the Bhaggas as his father’s viceroy. Bodhi became one of the followers of the Buddha (MN., II, p. 91; Jāt., III, p. 157). But the Bhagga country was really a republican country, for it is mentioned in the list of the republican clans in the Mahāparinibbāna Suttanta (DN., II, p. 167). It may be that the Bhaggas were temporarily under the sway of Kosambī.


It is said that while the Buddha was engaged in deep meditation for six years at the Senāpatigāma in Uruvilva, a public woman named Gāva, kept a coarse cloth on the branch of a tree for the Buddha’s use after meditation. By virtue of this noble deed, she was reborn in heaven as a nymph (A Study of the Mahāvastu, p. 154).


The Paundras or Paundrakas are mentioned several times in the Great Epic. They are once linked with the Vaṅgas and Kiratas (Sabhā, XIII, 584) while on another occasion are mentioned in connection with the Udras, Utkalas, Mekalas, Kaliṅgas, and Andhras (Vana P., LI, 1988; Bhīsma P., IX, 365; Droṇa, IV, 122). Pargiter therefore thinks that the Pauṇḍras once occupied the countries that are at present represented by the [34] modern districts of Santal Parganas, Birbhum and northern portion of Hazaribagh.

Puṇḍravardhana, according to the Divyāvadāna (J.R.A.S., 1904, p. 86), was the eastern boundary of the Majjhimadesa and is identical with the Pun-na-fa-tan-na of Yuan Chwang.

Tanasuliya or Tanasuli:

It is evident from the record of Khāravela’s fifth regnal year (Hāthigumphā inscription) that Kaliṅganagara the capital of Khāravela’s kingdom of Kaliṅga was not far from Tanasuliya or Tanasuli road wherefrom a canal opened by King Nanda was led by extension into the city of Kāliṅga. Dr. Barua says in his book on Old Brāhmī Inscriptions (p. 14) that Tanasuliya or Tanasula is a name which stands in contrast with Mahāsuliya or Mahāsuli, tan or tanu being the opposite form of Mahā or Maha.


Thūna probably represents Sthūna of the Divyāvadāna and was a Brāhmaṇagāma (Jāt., VI, p. 62) that formed the western boundary of the Buddhist Majjhimadesa. Thūna has not been identified by any scholar. As Yuan Chwang’s account makes Thaneswar the westernmost country of the Buddhist Majjhimadesa, Prof. Mazumdar proposes to identify Thūna with Sthāniswara or Thaneswar (Cunningham’s Geography of Ancient India by S. N. Mazumdar, Introduction, p. xliii).


In the Majjhima Nikāya we are told that the Buddha dwelt at Ukkācelā on the bank of the river Ganges in the Vajji country and delivered the Cūḷagopāḷaka Sutta. In the Saṁyutta (Vol. V, p. 163) we find that the Buddha stayed among the Vajjians at Ukkācelā on the river Ganges together with a great company of bhikkhus, not long after the passing away of Sāriputta and Moggallanā.


The village of Upatissa was not far off from Rājagaha (Dh.C., I, p. 88).


In the Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā (Dh.C., III, p. 465) we find a reference to the Ugganagara. It is said that a certain seṭṭhi named Ugga came to Sāvatthī on business purposes from Ugganagara.


There are numerous references to Usīnārā in Pāli literature. In the Divyāvadāna (p. 22) mention is made of Usīragiri. Dr. Roy Chaudhuri rightly points out that Usīnaragiri mentioned in the Kathāsaritsāgara is doubtless identical with Usīragiri of the Divyāvadāna and Usīradhaja of the Vinaya Texts (S.B.E., Pt. II, p. 39) where it has been described as the northern boundary of the Buddhist Majjhimadesa. It was a mountain to the north of Kaṅkhal (Hultzsch in IA., 1905, p. 179).

Verañja City:

[35] Once the Buddha after passing the rainy season at

Verañjā arrived at Sāvatthī in due course (Cullasuka Jātaka, Jāt.,

Vol. III, p. 494).


The city of Vettavatī was on the bank of the river of that name (Mātaṁga Jātaka - Jāt., Vol. IV, p. 388). It is doubtless identical with Sanskrit Vetravatī mentioned in Kālidāsa’s Meghadūtaṁ. The Vettavatī river is identified with the modern Betva, a small tributary of the Ganges.


The Barhut inscriptions mention Venuvagāma as a suburb of Kosambī. Cunningham identifies it with the modern village of Ben-Purwa to the north-east of Kosam.


Vedisa, mentioned in Barhut inscriptions, is Pāli Vidisā and Sanskrit Vaidiśa. It is, according to Cunningham, the old name of Besnagar, a ruined city situated in the fork of the Bes or Vedisa river and the Betwa within 2 miles of Bhisa.

Vaidiśa was, according to the Purāṇas, situated on the bank of the Vidisā river which took its rise from the Pāripātra mountain.

Vidisā came for the first time into prominence in Buddhism in connection with the viceroyalty of Asoka. Asoka, while he was a viceroy at Ujjain, married a Vaiśya girl from Vessanagara or Vaiśyanagara which was evidently the old name of Besnagar. Since the time of Asoka it became an important centre of Buddhism and later on of Vaiṣṇavism.


In the Mahā-Ummaga Jātaka (Jāt., VI, pp. 330–331) Yavamajjhaka occurs as a general name for four market towns distinguished as eastern, southern, western and northern according to their respective positions near the four gateways of the city of Mithilā, the capital of Videha.

Rivers, Lakes, Tanks, etc.


In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 135; Vol. V, pp. 401, as well as in the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. IV,.p. 101; Vol. V, p. 22), Aciravatī is mentioned as one of the five great rivers or Mahānadi. The four other rivers mentioned are: Gaṅga, Yamunā, Sarabhu, and Mahī.

In the Sālittaka Jātaka (Jāt, Vol. I) and in the Kurudhamma Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. II) we find that the river Aciravatī was near Sāvatthī. This is also borne out by a story in the Dhammapada Commentary (Vol. III, p. 449) in which we read that there was a certain village named Paṇḍupura not far off from the city of Sāvatthī, where dwelt a certain fisherman who on his way to Sāvatthī saw some tortoise eggs lying on the bank of Aciravatī.

In the Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. I, pp. 359–360) we are told how Pasenadi’s son Viḍūḍabha met the Śākyas in battle on the bank of the Aciravatī river and competely routed them. In vain did the Buddha try to save the Śākyas. But Viḍūḍabha and his army [36] also met with destruction; the Aciravatī overflowed and carried all into the sea.

In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 235) we read that once the Buddha went to Manasākaṭa, a brahmin village in the Kosala country and dwelt at Ambavana on the bank of the river Aciravatī to the north of Manasākaṭa.

Aciravatī is the river Rapti in Oudh, on which the town of Sāvatthī was situated. It was also called Ajiravatī and its shortened form is Airāvati. It is a tributary of the river Sarayū.


At the time of his great Retirement the Buddha took with him Channa, his courtier, and Kaṇṭhaka, his horse. He left Kapilavatthu and proceeding to the bank of the river Anomā, he retired from the world and adopted the life of a monk (Dh. A., I, p. 85).

According to Cunningham, Anomā is the river Aumi, in the district of Gorakhpur. But Carlleyle identifies the river Anomā with the Kudawa Nadī in the Basti district of Oudh.

Bāhukā and Bāhumatī:

In the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol. I, P. 39) we are told that while Bāhukā, Sundarikā, Sarasvatī and Bahumatī were rivers, Gayā and Payāga were tīrthas only, or ghats on the Ganges. Bāhukā may be the Bāhudā river of the Mahābhārata and Harivaṁśa, identical with the river Dhabala now called Dhumela or Burha Rāpti, a feeder of the Rāpti in Oudh. Pargiter, however, identifies it with Rāmagaṅga which joins the Ganges near the Kanoj.

As regards Bāhumatī, an identification may be suggested with Bāgmatī, a sacred river of the Buddhists in Nepal. Bāgmatī is called Bachmati as it was created by the Buddha Krakucchanda by word of mouth during his visit of Nepal.

Its junction with the rivers Maradārika, Manisrohi, Rājamañjari, Ratnāvalī, Chārumatī, Prabhāvatī, and Triveṇī form the tīrthas called Śānta, Śaṅkara, Rājamañjari, Pramodā, Sulakeshaṇa, Jayā and Gokarṇa respectively (Svayambhū Purāṇa, Chap. V; Varāhapurāṇa, Chap. 215).


The river Campā formed the boundary between Aṅga and Magadha (Campeyya Jātaka – Jāt., IV, p. 454).


It is mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, Vol. IV, p. 101, as a lake, but has not yet been identified.


Eṇī has been referred to in the Baka-Brahma Jātaka (Jāt., III, 361).


The river Gaṅga has been mentioned frequently in ancient Pāli literature, and is identical with the great sacred river on the banks of which the drama of Indian History has so often been enacted – the Ganges which is famous in early, mediaeval and modern history of India. According to the Sigāla Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. I, p. 502) she flowed by the city of Bārāṇasī. There is a confluence [37] between this river and Yamunā (Sumaṅgalavilāsinī, II, p. 652).

Gaggarā pokkharaṇī:

From the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (pt. I, p. 279) we learn that the Buddha taught the people of Campā the dhamma on the bank of Gaggarā tank. We are told that it was dug by the queen Gaggarā, and was not far off from the city of Campā.


The Sālavana of the Mallas of Kusīnārā was on the bank of the river Hiraññavatī (DN., II, p. 137). The Hiraññavatī is the Little Gandak and the same as Ajitavatī near Kusīnārā or Kusīnagara. It flows through the district of Gorakhpur about eight miles west of the Great Gandak and falls into the Gogrā (Sarayū).


It is mentioned in the Samuddavānija Jātaka (Jāt., IV, p. 158) as a tank, but it has not yet been identified.


The Kākāti Jātaka (Jāt., III, p. 91) states Kebuka to be a river; but it is difficult to identify it.


The Kiṁchanda Jātaka (Jāt, Vol. V, p. 2) refers to Kosikī as a branch of the Ganges. It is identical with the river Kusi.


It is stated in the Vessantara Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. VI, p. 518) that the King Vessantara with his wife and children proceeded to Gandhamādana. Then setting his face northward he passed by the foot of Mount Vipula and rested on the bank of the river Ketumatī. He crossed the stream and then went on to the hill called Nālika. Still moving northward he reached the lake Mucalinda.


While going to Kusīnārā from Rājagaha, the Buddha had to cross the river Kakutthā. Having crossed the river he arrived at Amhavana and then proceeded to the Malla’s Sāla grove near Kusīnārā.

Kakutthā is the small stream Barhi which falls into the Chota Gaṇḍak, eight miles below Kasia.

Carlleyle has identified it with the river Ghāgī, one and half miles to the west of Chitiyaon in the Gorakhpur district. Lassen identifies Kakanthis of Arrian with the river Bāgmati of Nepal.


Kaddama-daha, a river on the bank of which Mahākaccāna once took up his residence for some time, has been mentioned in the Aṅguttarā Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 65).


In the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. IV, p. 354) we are told that once while the Buddha was staying at Cālikā on the Cālikā pabbata the venerable Meghiya sought the permission of the Buddha to go to Jantugāma. While returning from the village after his meal he reached Kimikālā.


[38] It has been described as a lake in the Kunāla Jātaka (Jāt., V, p. 419; AN., IV, p. 101) but has not yet been identified.


Kaṇṇamuṇḍā has been described in the Aṅguttara Nikāya (AN., IV, p. 101) as a river, but has not yet been identified.


Khema, a lake that was excavated by the King of Benares named Bahuputtaka (Haṁsa Jātaka, Jāt., IV, p. 424).


A lotus lake near the city of Sakula in the kingdom of Manusiya Mahiṁsaka (Cullahaṁsa Jātaka, Jāt, V, p. 337) which, however, is difficult to be identified.


Maṅgalapokkharaṇī has been described in the Atthasālinī (p. 33) that while he was sitting on the bank of the Maṅgalapokkharaṇī, the Buddha got the news of Rāhula’s death.

Once the Buddha dwelt at Vaisālī in the Kūṭāgārasālā on the bank of the lake Markaṭa (Dvd., p. 200).


Mahī, one of the five great rivers (AN., IV, p. 101; Milindapañha, p. 114; S. Nip., p. 3) mentioned in Pāli literature. The river Mahī is a tributary of the Gaṇḍaka.


The Migasammatā, a river, had its source in the Himavanta and had fallen in the Ganges (cf. ‘Himavantato Gaṅgaṁ pattā, Jāt., VI, p. 72).


Rathakāra has been described as a lake in the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. IV, p. 101).


The Rohanta-Miga-Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. IV, p. 413) describes Rohanta as a lake which however has not been identified.


Rohiṇī has been referred to in the Jātakas (Rukkhadhamma Jātaka, Jāt., Vol. I, p. 327; Phandana Jātaka, Jāt., Vol. IV, p. 207) as a river. Once a quarrel broke out among the Sākiyas and the Koliyas regarding the possession of the river Rohiṇī. But the Buddha succeeded in restoring peace among his kinsfolk. Rohiṇī formed the boundary between the Śākya and the Koliya countries.


Sappinī, a river, in Rājagaha (SN, I, p. 153). In the Aṅguttara Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 29) we are told that the Buddha once went from the Gijjhakūṭa mountain at Rājagaha to the bank of the river Sappinī to meet some wanderers. The Pañchāna river is perhaps the ancient Sappinī.


[39] The Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. V, p. 297) describes Sutanu as a river on whose bank Anuruddha stayed for once.


Mandākinī, a river (AN., IV, p. 101). It is the Kāligaṅgā or the western Kāli or Mandāgni, which rises in the mountains of Kedāra in Gharwal. It is a tributary of Alakānandā.

Cunningham, however, identifies it with Mandākin, a small tributary of Paisundi in Bundelkhand which flows by the side of Mount Chitrakūta.


After the attainment of the Perfect Enlightenment the Buddha dwelt at Uruvelā in the Ajapāla Nigrodha on the bank of the river Nerañjarā. It is the river Phalgu mentioned in Asvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita. Its two branches are the Nilājanā and the Mohanā, and their united stream is called Phalgu. Buddha Gayā is situated at a short distance to the west of the Nilājanā or Nirañjanā which has its source near Simeria in the district of Hazaribagh.


It is said that the Kinnarī Manoharā, wife of Prince Sudhanu who was the son of Suvāhu, King of Hastināpura, while going to the Himalayas, crossed the river Satadru and proceeded to the Mount Kailash (A Study of the Mahāvastu, p. 118). Satadru is modern Sutlej, a tributary of the Ganges.


Sundarikā has been described in the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 167) as a river in Kosala.


A tank near Rājagaha (Saṁyutta, Vol. V; p. 447).


It is mentioned in the Kākāti Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. III, p. 90) as a lake.


The Milindapañho (p. 114) refers to Sarabhū as a river issuing forth from the Himavanta. It is Ghagra or Gogra, a tributary of the Ganges on which stood the city of Ayojjhā.

It is the Sarabos of Ptolemy, and is one of the five great rivers mentioned in early Pāli literature.


Sarassatī is evidently the Sanskrit Sarasvati mentioned in Vedic and Brahmanical literature. According to the Brāhmaṇas, the Kāvyamīmāṁsa and Manu Saṁhitā, it formed the western boundary of the Brahmanical Madhyadeśa. According to the Milindapañho (p. 114) the Sarassatī issued forth from the Himavanta. It rises in the hills of Sirmur in the Himalayan range called the Sewalik and emerges into the plains at Ād Badri in Ambala. Like the Ganges, the river Sarassatī or Sarasvatī is considered as sacred by the Hindus.


[40] The river Ūhā was in the Himavanta (Milindapañho, p. 70).


Vidhavā, a river in the Himavanta (cf. ‘Anto Himavante’; Jāt., Vol. III, p. 467).

Vetravatī or Vettavatī:

Vetravatī, a river, is mentioned in the Milindapañho (p. 114). From the Mātaṅga Jātaka (Jāt, Vol. IV, p. 388) we know that the city of Vettavatī was on the banks of the river of that name. It is the river Betwa in the kingdom of Bhopal, an affluent of the Jumnā, on which stands Bhilsā or the ancient Vidisā.


The river Vetaraṇī is referred to in the Saṁyutta (Vol. I, p. 21) where it is stated to be the river Yama (cf. Yamassa Vetaraṇiṁ). The Buddhist tradition, therefore, seems to support the Brahmanical tradition of the Vaitaraṇī being the Yama’s river.

In this river the hellish creatures suffer (cf. Jāt., V, p. 276). It is the river Vaitaraṇī in Orissa and is mentioned in the Mahābhārata (Vana P. Chap. 113) as being situated in Kāliṅga.

It is again identified with the river Dantura which rises near Nāsik and is in the north of Bassein.

This sacred river is said to have been brought down to the earth by Parasurāma (Padma and Matsya Purāṇas).

According to the Mahābhārata (Vana P. Chap. 83) it is a river in Kurukshetra.

It is further identified with a river in Gharwal on the road between Kedara and Badrinātha.


Yamunā is one of the five great rivers mentioned in early Pāli literature (AN., IV, p. 101; SN., Vol. II, p. 135; Vol. V, pp. 401, 460, 461). It is the modern Jumna.

Mountains, Hills, Caves, etc.

Ahogaṅga Pabbata:

The Ahogaṅga-pabbata is a mountain in India. It is said that the venerable Moggaliputta Tissa Thera, having made over his disciples to the thera Mahinda, went to the Ahogaṅgā mountain near the source of the Ganges (Mv, p. 51).


The Sarabhaṅga Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. V, p. 134) refers to the Arañjara which seems to be a chain of mountains in the Central Provinces.

Anoma and Asoka:

The Anoma and Asoka mountains do not seem from their descrition in the Apadāna (pp. 345 and 342 rgspectively), to have been far off from the Himavanta.


According to the Apadāna (p. 50), the Cittakūṭa mountain was not also very far off from the Himavanta. It has, however, been identified with Kāmptanāth-giri in Bundelkhand. It in an isolated hill on a river called the Paisunī or Mandākinī. [41] It is about four miles from the Chitrakuūṭa station of the G.I.P. Railway.


The Cāvala mountain has been described in the Apadāna to be not far off from the Himavanta (Apadāna, p. 451).


We find mention of the Cittala mountain not only in the Atthasālinī (p. 350), but also in the Visuddhimagga (p. 29:2). In the latter there is also a reference to a vihāra on it.


The Atthasālinī also refers to the Cetiya Pabbata (p. 200) which, however, is dfficult to be identified.


According to the reference in the Dīgha Nikāya, (Vol. ll, p. 116) the Corapapāta seems to have been a hill near Rājagaha.

Daṇḍakahirañña pabbata:

This mountain seerns to have been located in the Himavantapadesa (Jāt., Vol. II, p. 33).


In the Gaṅgamāla Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. III, p. 452) we are told that a certain ascetic came from the mountain Gandhamādana to Benares to see the king. It is a part of the Rudra Himalaya, but according to the epic writers it forms a part of the Kailāsa range.


The Gayāśīrṣa mountain is situated at Gayā from where the Gotama Buddha went to Uruvilva for the attainment of Perfect Enlightenment (A Study of the Mahāvastu, p. 81.)


According to the description given in the Apadāna (p. 162) the Gotama mountain seems to be not far off from the Himavanta.


Gijjhakūṭa is a mountain in Magadha (VV.C., p. 82). It is so called because its peak is like a vulture (Papañcasudanī, II, 63).

According to Cunningham it is a part of the Śailagiri, the vulture peak of Fahien and Indasilāguhā of Yuan Chwang. It lies two miles and a half to the south-east of new Rājgir. It is also called Giriyek hill.


In the Aṅguttara Nikāya the Himavanta is mentioned as the Pabbatarāja (AN, I, p. 152).

We are told in the Kunāla Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. V, pp. 412 foll.) that once there broke out a quarrel between the Koliyas and the Sakiyas regarding the possession of the river Rohiṇī which flows between the Sākiya and Koliya countries. Buddha, however, succeeded in settling the dispute. Many Koliya and Sakiya people were ordained. But spiritual discontent sprang up among them. The Blessed one conducted these brethren to the Himalayas and after illustrating the sins connected with woman-kind by the Kunāla [42] story, and removing their discontent, bestowed upon them the stage of sanctification.

The Master transported them to the Himalayas and standing in the sky pointed out to them in a pleasant tract of the Himalayas various mountains: Golden mount, Jewel mount, Vermillion mount, Collyaium mount, Tableland mount, Crystal mount, and five great rivers, and the seven lakes, Kaṇṇamuṇḍaka, Rathakāra, Sīhappapāta, Chaddanta, Tiyaggala, Anotatta, and Kunāla.

In the Milindapañho (p. 114) it is stated that 500 rivers issued forth from the Himavanta and that of these ten are important. They are: Gaṅga, Yamunā, Aciravatī, Sarabhū, Mahī, Sindhu, Sarassatī, Vetravatī, Vitaṁsā and Candabhāga.

Indasāla Cave:

It is stated in the Dīgha N., (Vol. II, pp. 263–4, 269) that to the east of Rājagaha was the Brahmin village of Ambasaṇḍā. To the north of Ambasaṇḍā the Indasāla Cave in the Vediyakapabbata which however seems to be the same as the Gijjhakūṭapabbata.

In the Barhut inscriptions, the name of the cave is however given as Indasālaguhā which has been identified with the Giriyek hill six miles from Rājgir.


Indakūṭa is near Rājagaha (SN., I, p. 206).


It is near Rājagaha. It is one of the groups of hills above Rājagaha, namely, Gijjhakūṭa, Vebhāra, Pāṇḍava and Vepulla.

Kukkura, Kosika, and Kadamba:

These pabbatas are stated in the Apadāna (pp. 155, 381 and 382 respectively) to be not very far off from the Himavanta.


The Kālāgiri is mentioned in the Vidhura Paṇḍita Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. VI, p. 302). This Kālāgiri is the same as the Kāḷapabbata mentioned in the same Jātaka.


The Kuraraghara pabbata is in Avanti. Mahākaccāna once dwelt in this mountain (AN., V, p. 45).


Kālasilā is at Rājagaha (DN., II, p. 116).


Manosilā, a mountain (Kumbhakāra Jātaka, Jāt, III, p. 319).


It is in the Himavanta (Jāt., Vol. II, p. 92).


It is a mountain in the Himavanta (Jāt.,Vol.V, p. 38).


It is referred to in the Therīgāthā Commentary (p. 150), and is identical with the Rudra Himālaya in Gharwal where the river Ganges takes its rise. It is near the Badarikā Āśram, and is probably the Mount Meros of Arrian.


[43] The Nerupabbata is in the Himavanta (Milindapañho, p. 129). In the Neru Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. III, 247), it is called the Golden mountain.


It is a legendary name of Mount Vepulla (SN., II, pp.190–1).

Pipphaliguhā pabbata:

It is at Rājagaha. According to the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. V, p. 79) thera Mahākassapa resided in the Pipphaliguhā pabbata. Paṇḍavapabbata is mentioned in the Atthasālinī (p. 34).

Phalika, and Rajatapabbata:

All these mountains are in the Himavanta probably meaning thereby that they are names of different parts or peaks of the great Himalaya mountain (Jāt., V, 415 Jāt., II, p. 6 respectively).


The First Buddhist Council was held at Rājagaha in the Sattapaṇṇi cave of the Vebhāra pabbata under the presidency of Mahākassapa and under the patronage of Ajātasattu (Samantapāsādikā, p. 10).


It is in the Cittakūṭapabbata which is in the Himavanta padesa (Jāt., Vol. III, p. 208).

Suvaṇṇapabbata and Sānupabbata:

Both are mentioned in the Jātakas (Jāt., Vol. II, p. 92 and Jāt., Vol. V, p. 415) to be in the Himavantapadesa.


In the Dhammapada Commentary (Vol. I, p. 107) we are told that the Mount Sineru was sixty-eight thousand leagues high. It is described as a mountain in the Kulāvaka Jātaka (Jāt, Vol. I, p. 202) as well.


It is in the Himalayas (SN., I, p. 67) to the east of Tibet.


The Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. III, p. 1) seems to locate it in the Bhagga country.


It is at Rājagaha (DN., 11, p. 116).


This is a mountain in Magadha.


Vebhāra is a mountain in the Magadha country. In the Vimānavatthu Commentary (p. 82) we are told that the city of Giribbaja was encircled by the mountains Isigili, Vepulla, Vebhāra, Paṇḍara and Gijjhakūṭa.


In the Samantapāsādikā (p. 70) we are told that Mahinda who was entrusted with the work of propagating Buddhism in Ceylon, in course of his journey from Pāṭaliputta, halted at the Dakkhiṇagiri janapada (Vedisā), the capital of which was Ujjenī. He stayed at the Vedisagiri Mahāvihāra which was built by his mother and thence he went Tambaṇṇi.

Parks, Forests and Jungles


[44] In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. I, pp. 47, 49) we are told that once the Buddha dwelt at Rājagaha in the Ambavana of Jīvaka, the royal physician. It was here that Ajātasattu, the king of Magadha, came to see the Buddha.

In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 134) we are told in connection with the Buddha’s journey from Rājagaha to Kusīnārā that the Buddha crossed the river Kakutthā and went to the Ambavana.

In the Saṁyutta (Vol. IV, p. 121) we are informed that once the venerable Udāyin stayed at Kāmaṇḍā in the Ambavana of the brahmin Todeyya.

Ambavana is a thicket of mango trees (Sumaṅgalavilāsinī, II, 399).


In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. II, p. 94) we find that the Buddha once went from Nādikā to Vesālī and dwelt in the Ambapālivana in Vesālī. This park was a gift from the courtesan named Ambapāli.


The Ambāṭakavana is mentioned in the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. IV, p. 285). It is stated that many bhikkhus dwelt at Macchikāvanasaṇḍa in the Ambāṭakavana. Citta, the householder, it is said, invited them to his house and had many philosophical discussions with them.


The Anupiya-Ambavana was in the Mallaraṭṭha (Manorathapūranī, p. 274).

Añjanavana (Añcanavana):

The Buddha once dwelt in the Deer Park in the Añjanavana at Sāketa (SN., I, p. 54; V, pp. 219, 73).


The Andhavana is referred to as located in Sāvatthī (SN., V., p. 302).


It is mentioned in the Milindapañho (p. 130). According to Mr. Pargiter, it comprised all the forests from Bundelkhand to the river Kriṣṇā. The Daṇḍakarañña along with the Viñjjhas thus practically separated the Majjhimadesa from the Dakkhiṇāpatha.


The Buddha once stayed at the Brāhmaṇagala in the Icchānaṅgala-vanasaṇḍa. This is in Kosala (AN., III, pp. 30, 341; IV, p. 340). It is also mentioned in the Sutta Nipāta (p. 115).


The Jetavana is frequently mentioned in Pāli literature. In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. I, p. 178) we are told that once the Buddha dwelt at Jetavana in the pleasure garden of Anāthapiṇḍika at Sāvatthī. There the Buddha spoke on the subject of right training to Poṭṭhapāda, the wanderer. The Jetavana is one mile to the south of Sāvatthī which is identified with modern Sahet-Maheth. It was a gift from the merchant named Anāthapiṇḍika to the Buddha and the Order.


[45] It is in the country of the Bhaddiyas (Aṅguttara, Vol. III, p. 36).


In the Manorathapūraṇī (p. 100), we are told that the Buddha converted the Tiṁsa Bhadda vaggiya-bhikkhus at Kappāsiyavanasanda.


The Ketakavana is in Kosala near the village of Naḷakapāna (Naḷapāna Jātaka, Jāt, Vol. I, 170).


It is at Rājagaha (AN., II, pp. 35, 172, 179; III, p. 35; IV, p. 402). In the Majjhima Nikāya (Vol, III, p. 128) we are told that once the Buddha dwelt in the Kalandakanivāpa at Veluvana in Rājagaha.


In the Monorathapūraṇī (p. 100) it is said that at Laṭṭhivana King Bimbisāra was converted by the Buddha. It is about two miles north of Tapovana in the district of Gayā.


The Lumbinivana is referred to in the Buddhacarita (I, Verse 23; XVII, Verse 27) as situated in Kapilavatthu which is the birth place of the Buddha. Lumbinī is Rumminideī in the Nepalese Terai, 2 miles to the north of Bhagavanpur and about a mile to the north of Paderia.

Mejjhāraññaṁ and Mātaṅgaraññaṁ:

These two forests are mentioned in the Milindapañho (p. 130).


It is a forest in Avanti. Mahākaccāna resided there in a leaf-hut (SN., IV, p. 116).


It is at Kapilavatthu (SN., I, p. 26). According to Buddhaghosa, it is a natural forest outside the town of Vaisālī lying in one stretch up to the Himalayas. It is so called on account of the large area covered by it (Smv., I, 309; cf. SN., I, pp. 29–30).


It is at Rājagaha (SN., 1, p. 27).

Mora Nivāpa:

The Buddha once went from the Gijjhakūṭa to the Mora Nivāpa which was on the bank of Sumāgadhā (AN., I, p. 291).


In the Visuddhimagga, the Nandanavana, the Missakavana and the Phārusakavana are all referred to (p. 424).


It is in the Vajji countries and is near Hatthigāma (AN., IV, p. 213).


Once the Buddha lived in the Pāvārikambana at Nālandā. There he spoke on the subject of miracles to Kevaḍḍha, the son of a householder (DN., I, p. 211).


[46] Once the Buddha stayed at Bhesakaḷāvana Migadāya in the Suṁsumāragiri of the Bhaggas (AN., Vol. II, p. 61; III, p. 295; IV, pp. 85, 228, 232 and 268).


Once the venerable Kumāra Kassapa with a company of the bhikkhus went to Setavya in the Kosala country. He dwelt in the Siṁsapāvana to the north of Setavya (DN., II, p. 316). There is a Siṁsapāvana in Kosambī (SN., Vol. V, p. 437).

There is also another Siṁsapāvana near Āḷavī (AN., Vol. I, p. 136).


It is at Rājagaha (SN., I, pp. 210–212).

Upavattana Sālavana:

It is in the Malla territory. It was here that the Buddha attained the Mahāparinibbāna (DN., II, p. 169).


It is at Rājagaha (SN., I, P. 52).


It is in Dakkhiṇagiri (AN., IV, p. 64:).


There is a reference to the Vindhya forest in the Dīpavaṁsa (15, 87). Ariṭṭha, one of the ministers of Devanāmpiyatissa, who had been sent by the Ceylonese King to Asoka, King of Magadha, for a branch of the Bodhi Tree, had to go through the Vindhya forest while going to Pāṭaliputra.

Viñjhāṭavi comprises portions of Khandesh and Auraṅgabad, which lie on the south of the western extremity of the Vindhya range, including Nasik. The forest, therefore, should, strictly speaking, be located in the Dakkhiṇāpatha.

Cetiyas, Ārāmas, Vihāras, etc.


The Aggāḷava temple is referred to in the Tipallattha Miga Jātaka (Jāt., Vol. I, 160).


The third Buddhist Council was held at Pāṭaliputta in the Asokārāma at the time of King Asoka (Samantapāsādikā, p. 48).


It is in Kosambī (Tipallattha Miga Jātaka (Jāt, Vol. I, 160).


Bahuputta, a Cetiya in Vesālī (DN., II, p. 118).

Cāpāla Cetiya:

In the Saṁyutta Nikāya (Vol. V, pp. 259–60) we find the Buddha speaking of three beautiful Cetiyas of Vesālī (AN., IV, p. 309), e.g., the Cāpāla Cetiya (named after a Yakkha of this name), the Sattamba Cetiya. (DN., II, 118) and the Sārandada Cetiya (named after a Yakkha of this name).

Gotama and other Cetiyas of Vesālī:

The Buddha speaks very highly of the Cetiyas of Vesālī. They are: Udena, Gotamaka, Sattamba, Bahuputta, Sārandada and Cāpāla (DN., II, p. 118; AN., Vol. IV, p. 309).

In the Dīgha Nikāya (Vol. III, pp. 9, 10) we are told that to the east of Vesālī was the Udena Cetiya, to the south was the Gotamaka Cetiya, [47] to the west was the Sattamba Cetiya, and to the north was the Bahuputta Cetiya.


It was at Kosambī (DN., I, pp. 157, 159; SN.,1II, p. 115). A monastery built by a banker named Ghosita is called Ghositārāma (Papañcasūdanī, II, p. 390).


It was at Nadikā near Pāṭaliputta (AN., III, pp. 303, 306; IV, p. 316; V, p. 322).


It was at Rājagaha (SN., III, p. 124).


It was at Pāṭaliputta (SN., V, pp. 15, 17, 171, and 173).


It was at Vesālī (SN., I, p. 29).


The Kālakārāma was in Sāketa. We are told that once when the Buddha was dwelling at the Kālakāvana in Sāketa, he spoke of some qualities that were possessed by him.


There is a reference to a Cetiya on the bank of the Markaṭa-hrada where the Buddha once stayed (A Study of the Mahāvastu, p. 44).


It was at Rājagaha (DN., II, p, 116).


Once the Buddha dwelt in the palace of Migāramātā in the Pubbārāma at Sāvatthī. It was here that Aggañña Suttanta was delivered by the Buddha (DN., III, p. 80).


It was at Rājagaha (SN, ll, p. 33).


It was at Sāvatthī. Anuruddha is said to have resided there (SN., V, p. 300).

Tulādhārapabbata Vihāra:

It is referred to in the Visuddhimagga (p. 96); and it was in this Vihāra that the Mahādhammarakkhita thera lived. It was situated in the Rohana Janapada which was on the other side of the Ganges.


In the Samantapāsādikā (pp. 33–34) we find that the Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus of Vesālī declared the ten Indulgences. This led to the inauguration of the Second Buddhist Council which was held during the reign of Kalāsoka at Vesālī in the Vālukārāma.

Mahāvana vihāra:

It was a monastery in the ancient Vajji country (Mv., p. 24). It is also mentioned by Fahien in his travels.

Dakkhiṇagiri vihāra:

It was a vihira in Ujjenī (Mv., p. 228)

Jetavana vihāra:

It was a vihāra near Savatthi in the Kosala country where the Bmldlia lived for some time (Dv., p. 21; Mv., p. 7).