Ancient Geography (+transcription)

Petr Mares erpet at COMP.CZ
Mon May 25 17:59:41 UTC 1998

Dear Mr. Jayabarathi

I once more apologize for my transcription but I am used to different
standard and cannot find out what is being used here. (Since the places I am
looking for I transcribed from Chinese language of almost 1600 years ago it
is not that important in this case).

The place you mentioned as fourth is very interesting to me. I have been
thinking about Campa, the ancient capital of Anga that was joined with
Magada and which is described by Fa Xien in his fourth century travel book.
But I could not find any Lanka or Malaya close to it.

The first place you mention is possible, since although no lankagiri is in
Western Ghats, I read that in some ancient languages of this area lanka
simply means island, but I do not know aout any place called Malaya, whether
city, country or mountain there.

For the second possibility I think speaks that the aldest surviving Sanskrit
(much younger than any Chinese) are in Malayalam script. But there is no
mountain called lanka on the island and actually the oldest surviving
Chinese translation does not at all mention Ravana, and the only places
mentioned are lanka and malaya.

The third possibility is not including lanka and I would not vote for it.

The most interesting is the "langka suka" and island langkawi. I will have
to check some of the oldest buddhist travellers to see what they say about
the place. But it is the most promising of all.

Thank you again for your notes and please, if you come accross anything
related to lankAvatAra and its ancient origin, please let me know.


Petr Mares
lengqie at

>        Dear Sir,
>                The Malaya mountains might mean the Podhiyil
>        Mountains of the tail end of the Western Ghats in India.
>        But there is no Lankagiri thereabout.
>                The second possibility may be SriLanka itself,
>        because  there is a place called Malainadu. Ramani
>        Kandiah and Sivalingam Ramalingam in this list are
>        from the island. May be they can throw some light.
>                The third possibilty is Cambodia, since Campa
>        is mentioned as his birth place. Malaya name is
>        also associated with Cambodia.
>                The fourth possibility and the one with a
>        greater likelihood is the east coast of the Malay
>        Peninsula itself. The name of the peninsula is known
>        as Malaya. This is actually derived form the word
>        "malaya" of Tamil origin.
>        There is still an island called Langkawi which is said
>        to have been the site of Asoka Vana where Ravana hid
>        Sita. But there was an ancient kingdom which sprawled
>        across the northern part of the peninsula and this
>        was called the kingdom of "Langka Suka". Champa was
>        just three hundred miles away across the Gulf of
>        Thailand. In those days five day's journey.
>                It should be noted that Lanka Suka was a
>        Buddhist kingdom for most part of its existence.
>        Parts of it are now in Buddhist Thailand.
>                It is a mountainous place, and the funny thing
>        is that while other mountains have Malay names,
>        the mountains in the earstwhile Lanka Suka still
>        have Sanskrit names.
>                Lanka Suka was a port of call for the Chinese
>        and was of great importance to them.
>                Must check up whether Yuen Chwang mentions this
>        place. It Sing has mentioned it.
>                This seems to be a likely place since both
>        Malaya and Lanka are found in combination.
>        Regards
>        Jayabarathi
>>Thank you very much for kind attention
>>Petr Mares

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list