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The geographic region of Bharatavarsha

Bhāratavarṣa (भारतवर्ष), lit. country of Bharata, was the name of India during Mahabharata period.

Origin of name

The name is derived from the ancient Hindu Puranas, which refer to the land that comprises India as and uses this term to distinguish it from other varṣas or continents.[1]

The Bhāratas were vedic tribe mentioned in the Rigveda, notably participating in the Battle of the Ten Kings.

The realm of Bharata is known as Bharātavarṣa in the Mahabhārata (the core portion of which is itself known as Bhārata) and later texts. According to the text, the term Bharata is from the king Bharata, who was the son of Dushyanta and Shakuntala and the term varsa means a division of the earth, or a continent. [2]

The term in Classical Sanskrit literature is taken to comprise the present day territories of Indian subcontinent. This corresponds to the approximate extent of the historical Mauryan Empire under Emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Emperor Ashoka (4th to 3rd centuries BC). Later, political entities unifying approximately the same region are the Mughal Empire (17th century), the Maratha Empire (18th century) and the British Raj (19th to 20th centuries).

Geography in Mahabharata

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. It gives list of The Mountains, The Rivers, The Provinces and Other Kingdoms in the south. ...Dhritarashtra said,--Tell me truly (O Sanjaya) of this Varsha that is called after Bharata,....

External links


  1. Pargiter, F. F. (1922), Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p. 131
  2. "Was the Ramayana actually set in and around today's Afghanistan?"