This excerpt (conversation between Vyasa and Yudhishtira after Ghatotkach's death) is from Drona Parva of Mahabharata:

then the valiant son of Jamadagni, proceeding against the Kashmiras, the Daradas, the Kuntis, the Kshudrakas, the Malavas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Videhas, the Tamraliptakas, the Rakshovahas, the Vitahotras, the Trigartas, the Martikavatas, counting by thousand, slew them all by means of his whetted shafts. Proceeding from province to province, fie thus slew thousands of crores of Kshatriyas.

Creating a deluge of blood and filling many lakes also with blood as red as Indrajopakas or the wild fruit called Vandujiva, and bringing all the eighteen islands (of which the earth is composed) under his subjection, that son of Bhrigu's race performed a hundred sacrifices of great merit, all of which he completed and in all of which the presents he made unto the Brahmanas were profuse.

It mentions that Earth is made up of 18 islands in 28th Dwapara.

What are those islands on the current world map and why can't we see them today(I want answer supported/cited from Scriptures please no scientific speculation). (i.e., 28th Kaliyuga of Vaivasvatha Manvantar) as it was back then (made up of 18 islands)?

  • what i feel i will tell...even puranas agree on 7 continents but even in India's regions depiction they say 9 khandas...in that they mean 9 regions of India...& 18 islands i feel must be 14 bhuvanas & other 4 lokas like golden land surrounding the universe & hell..& 2 i m confused in...but those places where some 1 lives in which 14 bhuvanas too must be including!:)
    – Shivam Ner
    Jun 16, 2016 at 13:48
  • I assume may be those 18 Islands represents the 18days of Kurukshetra War, because more number of warriors and soldiers in both armies died with spilling blood in lands and it may make Islands. I think instead of mention violent acts our scriptures wrote it as 18 islands on earth (which is filled with blood while Kurukshetra War), approximately 3.94 million (18 akshauhinis) people from both sides involved in war.
    – CR241
    May 25, 2017 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


Considering the geography relevant to Lord Parshu-Raam's time, the 18 islands referred to in the above verse may refer to the following:

  1. 9 Divisions of Jambudweep out of which BHARAT is one:

"Jambudweep is a very large island. It is sub-divided into nine parts. Ilavritvarsh is situated in its central part while Bhadraashvavarsh is situated towards its eastern side...... All these nine Varshas are full of natural beauty.


  1. 9 divisions of BHARAT:

Bharatvarsh has nine sub-islands. All these islands are surrounded by oceans on all sides and it is difficult to go from one island to another. These sub-islands are Indradweep, Kaserumaan, Taamravarna, Gabhastimaan, Naagdweep, Karaaha, Sinhal, Vaarun and Kumar."

Sharing the snapshot of the verses from Vaman Puran:

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These 9 + 9 = 18 divisions may be what is being mentioned in the Mahabharat verse you have quoted.

  • Nice try Vineet but I think this should be in a comment form because this is just a speculated answer not an exact one with scriptural backup +1 for opening up a new way of thinking about that island division. One more reason for not accepting this as an answer would be that those dweepas don't have a location of Shewtadweepa, residece of Vuyha vasudeva aka Shriman Narayana.
    – Yogi
    Aug 16, 2017 at 18:27
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    @yogi Well you cant share images in comments and there is scriptural evidence shared in the answer. Its okay if you dont agree with that evidence though :) BTW Shwetadweep can not be a part of the 18 since it is the abode of Vishnu not a place where humans live! Aug 17, 2017 at 4:58
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    Yes but Parshu-Raam's purpose was to kill the corrupt kings so a place that is not inhabited by humans would not make sense in that list of 18 right. BTW as per Bhagvatam, isn't Shwet-dweep supposed to be a transcendental realm? Aug 17, 2017 at 11:09
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    No what I meant was isn't it outside the boundary of earth? Check this link from Bhagavatam - vedabase.com/en/sb/10/89/chapter-view And even if it was on earth there would be no corrupt kings since it is the abode of Lord Vishnu where only enlightened beings reside so why would Parshu-Raam go there? Aug 17, 2017 at 17:45
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    Very interesting answer @Dr.VineetAggarwal I am checking out your blog on Lokas as well. Fascinating stuff! Sep 4, 2018 at 14:39

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