Section XXVI of the Astika Parva of Mahabharata mentions the incident of Garud and his mother Vinata carrying snakes and their mother Kadru to an island called Ramaniyaka.

The next section describes it thus:

"Sauti said, 'And then the Nagas drenched by that shower, became exceedingly glad. And borne by that bird of fair feathers, they soon arrived at the island. That island had been fixed by the Creator of the Universe as the abode of the makaras. There they saw the terrible Lavana Samudra (ocean of salt). On arriving there with Garuda, they saw there a beautiful forest washed by the waters of the sea and resounding with the music of winged choirs. And there were clusters of trees all around laden with various fruits and flowers. And there were also fair mansions all around; and many tanks full of lotuses. And it was also adorned with many lakes of pure water. And it was refreshed with pure incense-breathing breezes. And it was adorned with many a tree that grew only on the hills of Malaya, and seemed by their tallness to reach the very heavens.

Given that the salt-ocean is mentioned along with the Malaya hills that form the lower part of the western ghats, is there a way to identify this island?

  • 1
    Ramaniyaka is just a variant spelling of Ramanaka, which is one of the 8 Upadvipas or mini-islands surrounding Jambudvipa. See this picture. People have various theories on the identities of these Upadvipas (as well as theories about the identities of the actual Varshas of Jambudvipa). – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 20 '17 at 15:29
  • Hmmm @KeshavSrinivasan if that is so then according to the image it should be located diametrically opposite to India (Bharat Varsh) on the globe. Perhaps it could be one of the Caribbean islands? – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Sep 20 '17 at 16:46
  • To be clear, that map isn't meant to be geographically accurate, it's just meant to be a simple pictorial representation of Jambudvipa. So it's not necessarily true that Ramanaka is northwest of Jambudvipa. We have to see if any Puranas say exactly where Ramanaka is relative to Jambudvipa. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 20 '17 at 17:34
  • In any case, all of this depends on your view of Hindu geography/cosmology. A lot of people (myself included) believe that the seven Dvipas are the seven continents, Jambudvipa is the continent India is part of, and Bharatavarsha is the Indian subcontinent. Others believe that Jambudvipa is the entire Earth, or even that Bharatavarsha is the entire Earth, and the other Dvipas/Varshas are elsewhere in the Cosmos. If you, like me, think Bharatavarsha is the Indan subcontinent, then Ramanaka would be an island off the coast of Asia, either off the coast of India or elsewhere in Asia. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 20 '17 at 17:35
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    By the way, I found out that Hindus in Fiji believe that Fiji is Ramanaka. That's because the people of Fiji worship a serpent god called Degei, whom Hindus equate with Kaliya. Kaliya returned to Ramanaka after Krishna defeated him; see this chapter and the next chapter of the Bhagavatam: vedabase.com/en/sb/10/16 – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 20 '17 at 20:41

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