Mahakantara, Mahākāntāra: 4 definitions



Mahakantara means something in the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

India history and geography

Source: Wisdom Library: India History

Mahākāntāra (महाकान्तार) refers to one of the kingdoms of the south (see Dakṣiṇāpatha) mentioned in Gupta inscription No. 1. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. According to this inscription, all the kings of the region of the north were who attained great fame by liberating them. One of the regions mentioned as situated in the south is Mahākāntāra.

Source: Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions

Mahākāntāra (महाकान्तार) or Mahākāntāravana is a place-name classified as a vana (forest) and mentioned in the Gupta inscriptions. The Gupta empire (r. 3rd-century CE), founded by Śrī Gupta, covered much of ancient India and embraced the Dharmic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Mahākāntāra is one of the southern countries subdued by Samudragupta. Its ruler was Vyāghararāja. Literally Mahākāntāra means ‘a great forest’. It has to be distinguished from Sarvāṭavi referred to later on in this inscription.

According to Krishnaswami Aiyangar, it must have included the Saugar division of C.P. extending northwards to the Ajaigadh State in Bundelkhanda. But G. Ramdas differs from this view on the ground that Mahākāntāra must be sought in Southern India as it is specifically mentioned as one of the kingdoms of the South conquered by Samudragupta. He suggests that Mahākāntāra must be the same as Mahāvana, a forest region extending northwards into Ganjam Agency and westwards into the tract formerly known as the Chatisgarh States of C.P. This very region has been mentioned by the same name in the Ganj and Nachna inscriptions.

Source: What is India: Inscriptions of the Early Gupta Kings

Mahākāntāra (महाकान्तार).—Name of a country conquered by Samudragupta.—Mahākāntāra, therefore, in all likelihood, denotes the forests ranging between Kōsala and Kaliṅga. It no doubt denotes the area of Viśākhapattanam and Ganjam, which in a copper plate grant of Narasiṃhadēva II is called dakṣiṇa-Jhāḍa-khaṇḍa. Jhāḍakhaṇḍa in Oriya signifies ‘a forest region’, and the Northern Jhāḍakhaṇḍa probably denoted the forest range which separates Bihar from Bengal. This easily explains how Samudragupta after passing through Mahākāntāra proceeded immediately south-wards to defeat the rulers of Kurāḷa and Piṣṭapura.

Source: What is India: Inscriptions of the Vākāṭakas

Mahākāntāra (महाकान्तार) corresponds to modern Bastar District of Madhya Pradesh and the adjoining territory.—The rulers of Mahākāntāra claimed descent from the famous king Nala. They also must have been regarded as Kṣatriyas.

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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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