Listening to Jason Hawkes’ lectures, I have a couple of queries for those who know something about Indian geography.
If one were to draw a a map plotting all the locations that the Buddha is reported to have visited in the Suttas and Vinaya, then, setting aside trips to the celestial realms and Uttarakuru…
Which location would be most distant from his birthplace? And what would the distance be?
Which two locations would be furthest from each other? And again, what would the distance be?
“The furthermost east he went which can still be identified is Kajangla (now Kankjol, 18 k south of Rajmahal right on the Indo-Bangladesh border) and the furthermost west he is known to have gone is Mathura, some 180 kilometres south of Delhi. These two locations are nearly a thousand kilometers apart. The Buddha’s movements northwards were of course limited by the then impenetrable jungles of the Himalayan foothills and it is unlikely that he ever went further south than the southern edge of the Ganges watershed. Still, this would mean that his wanderings covered an area roughly equivalent to 200,000 square kilometers, a huge area by any standards.”—Dhammika
If we look at the map of Ancient India (here) with the locations of the places visited. Then it seems that the town called Thūṇa is further away than Mathura.
Other than that, in the Dhaniyasutta the verse attributed to the Buddha says:
by Mahī’s banks I bide this night alone
The Mahi river is quite far southwest.
For those who are interested, Bhante Anandajoti has a wonderful collection of maps and related articles and talks here:
I think the map may have been composed on the basis of commentarial narratives too. The brahmin settlement of Thūṇagāma is mentioned in the Vinaya Piṭaka as marking the westernmost limit of the Middle Region, but afaik the only mention of the Buddha actually going there is in the commentary to the Vimānavatthu.
Here’s the Vinaya’s full description of the boundaries:
In this regard, the following are the outlying countries:
In the eastern direction there is a town called Gajaṅgala, with another town called Mahāsālā on the other side of it. Beyond that are the outlying countries. On the near side are the middle countries.
In the south-eastern direction there is a river called Sallavatī. Beyond that are the outlying countries. On the near side are the middle countries.
In the southern direction there is a town called Setakaṇṇika. Beyond that are the outlying countries. On the near side are the middle countries.
In the western direction there is a brahmin village called Thūṇa. Beyond that are the outlying countries. On the near side are the middle countries.
In the northern direction there is a mountain called Usīraddhaja. Beyond that are the outlying countries. On the near side are the middle countries.
Of the five locations I believe Gajaṅgala / Kajaṅgala in the East - as mentioned by Paul - is the only one that the EBTs report the Buddha visiting.
Indeed. Anyone know of any place further southwest than that?
The road distance from Mathura southwest to Banswara on the Mahi is 690 km. From Mathura east to Kankjol is 1335 km, 2025 km total.