Oldest Highway Dakshinapada Road Now NH 7, 2000 BC


How did the ancient people get connected by road in the subcontinent of India?

We have records of Kings and people of various kingdoms,they were fifty six,spread in the North,East,South and West .

That too in a vast stretch of land.

Tamil kings of yore,from Udiyan Cheralaathan,who provided food both for Pandava and Kaurava armies,traveled from the Chera Kingdom,present Kerala ,at the bottom of Indian subcontinent,to Kurukshetra,near New Delhi in the North India.

So did Malayathwaja Pandya from Madurai, Tamil Nadu to New Delhi to take part in the Epic battle of Mahabharata.

Senguttuvan, A Chera king traveled to Himalayas.

Lord Rama,Krishna,Bhima,Arjuna,Sahadeva and a host of ancient Indians traveled throughout India either as Pilgrimage or a part of their assertion of their Suzerainty .

Then we have Chandragupta who traveled to South.

How did they travel?

Were there roads?

Yes.

There were two highways.

Ancient India, according to Mahajanapadas, Footprints of People or Kingdoms,was divided into Five parts.

Vedic divisions of India.

  • Udichya (Northern region)
  • Prachya (Eastern region)
  • Dakshina (Southern region)
  • Pratichya (Western region)
  • Madhya-desha (Central region)

Puranic Divisions of India.

  • Udichya (Northern region)
  • Prachya (Eastern region)
  • Dakshinapatha (Southern region)
  • Aparanta (Western region)
  • Madhya-desha (Central region)
  • Parvata-shrayin (Himalayan region)
  • Vindhya-prashtha (Vindhyan region)

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 Afganisthan, 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 NH2.However, the southern road appears to have drifted. Rama’s route into exile in the epic 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). 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 NH7, which runs much further east of the old road but still meets NH2 at Varanasi.

This period is tentatively dated between 1200 to 600 BC( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Age_in_India )

Taking into consideration that metallurgy was present in these period,the civilization could have been older with infrastructure like roads.

So the highway may be dated conservatively around 2000 BC.

Sources.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janapada

Source.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakshinapatha



Categories: Hinduism

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