INTERESTING FACTS: DAKSHINAPATHA

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    Dakshinapatha is an important historical region, an equivalent of present day South India, an area, encompassing, the present day Indian states of, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, as well as, the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry, or a road in ancient India, which may mean the ‘Ancient South of the Indian subcontinent’ below Uttarapatha. The term can encompass, Dravida, Simhala, the Kollam region, and the Maldives. In the southern region the ‘great southern highway’ in India, travelling from Magadha to Pratishthana or a kingdom on the Godavari River in southern India.

    Panini (500 BCE) an ancient Sanskrit philologist, grammarian, and a revered scholar in ancient India, in his Astadhyayi mentions Asmaka Kingdom, or Assaka (Pali) was a Mahajanapada in ancient India in connection with Dakshinatya and Kalinga. Dakshinapatha also finds mention in Junagarh rock inscription of Indo-Scythian king Rudrasharman from 150 CE which is as follows:

    … who by force destroyed the Yaudheyas who were loath to submit, rendered proud as they were by having manifested their ‘title of’ heroes among all Kshatriyas; who obtained good report because he, in spite of having twice in fair fight completely defeated Satakarni, the lord of Dakshinapatha, on account of the nearness of their connection did not destroy him; who (obtained) victory ……; who reinstates deposed kings;

  • — Rudradaman I, Junagadh rock inscription

    The Dakshinapatha trade route was one of two great highways that have connected different parts of the sub-continent since the Iron Age. The other highway was the Uttarapatha or the great northern road that ran from Taxila in Pakistan, through the modern Punjab up to the western coast of Yamuna. Following the course of Yamuna it went southwards up to Mathura, from there it passed on to Ujjain in Malwa, and to Broach on western coast. According to, “Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography” by Sanjeev Sanyal, the trajectory of the northern road has remained roughly the same from pre-Mauryan times and is now National Highway—2 (NH2). However, the southern road appears to have drifted. Rama’s route into exile in the epic Ramayana may have been an early version of the road, but by the time of Buddha, it started at Varanasi and ran through Vidisha in central India, to Pratishthana (Paithan) in present day Aurangabad in Maharashtra. It probably extended all the way to Chola, Chera and Pandya kingdoms of the extreme south. By the Mauryan period there would have been a branch from Ujjain to the ports of Gujarat. This made Ujjain a major city by Gupta times. Today Dakshinapatha is known as National Highway—7 (NH7), which runs much further east of the old road but still meets National Highway—2 (NH2) at Varanasi.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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