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Dakkhiṇāpatha

v.l. Dakkhiṇapatha.– In the old Pāḷi literature the name Dakkhiṇāpatha would seem to indicate only a remote settlement or colony on the banks of the upper Godhāvarī. Thus, we are told that Bāvarī had his hermitage in Dakkhṇāpatha territory, midway between the kingdoms of Assaka and Aḷaka (SN. vs.976). Elsewhere the name is coupled with Avanti as Avantidakkhiṇāpatha and seems to refer, but more vaguely, to the same limited district. Vin.i.195, 196; ii.298. In J.v.133, however, Avanti is spoken of as a part of Dakkhiṇāpatha (Dakkhiṇūpathe Avantiraṭṭha), but see J.iii.463, where Avantidakkhiṇāpatha is spoken of.

The Suttanipāta Commentary (ii.580) seems to explain Dakkhiṇāpatha as the road leading to the Dakkhinajanapada, while the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī (DA.i.265) takes Dakkhiṇāpatha to be synonymous with Dakkhiṇajanapada and says that it was the district (janapada) south of the Gaṅgā (Gaṅgāya dakkhiṇato pākatajanapadam).

It is clear that, in the earlier literature at any rate, the word did not mean the whole country comprised in the modern word Dekkhan. It is possible that Dakkhiṇāpatha was originally the name of the road which led southwards — the Aryan settlement at the end of the road, on the banks of the Godhāvarī being also called by the same name — and that later the road lent its name to the whole region through which it passed. (For a detailed description see Law: Geog. of Early Buddhism, pp.60 ff). In the Petavatthu Commentary (PvA., p.133) the Damiḷa country (Damiḷavisaya) is included in the Dakkhiṇāpatha.

The Dakkhiṇāpatha is famous in literature as the birthplace of strong bullocks (DhSA.141; NidA.16; DhA.iii.248, etc.) It held also a large number of ascetics (DA.i.265), and in the “southern districts” (Dakkhiṇesu janapadesu) people celebrated a feast called Dhovana. See the Dhovaṇa Sutta. (A.v.216)

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