Place Names: The Importance Of Place Name

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Place names are normally used as the indicator of places. Place names reflect variety of objects, both natural and man-made, such as huts, fields, streets, temples, villages, towns, rivers, tanks, hills, mountains, forests, regions, countries, and others which come under purview of human knowledge. Place names of a region speak about the geographical peculiarities and historical or cultural endowments of a people. It has been aptly remarked that “place names do speak when history becomes silent. Place names disclose the pages of vast knowledge, interest and wonder not only for a keen observer of nature but to the laymen also. This has no barrier of dialect, region and time.” Toponymy is taxonomic study of place names based on etymological,…show more content…
A verse in Rig Veda suggests that name constitutes the basic structure of language– prathamamang vachoagramang yat – prairta namadheyam dadhanah (x.71.1.) i.e. “that is the primary speech which those who were bearing the name initially motivated”. In some of the early puranas (e.g. Matsya, Brahmanda, Markandeya and Vayu Puranas) references to the ruling dynasties of the Andhras, the Mitras, the Nagas and the Maghas and the extent of their kingdoms are found. Apart from Rig Veda and Puranas, various classical works also deal with place names, such as, Satapatha Brahmana; Aitareya Brahmana; Manusmriti; Ramayana; Mahabharata’s Bhisma Parvan, Vanaparvan, Sabha Parvan; Patanjali’s Mahabhasya. These refer to many places which are very important for topographical understanding. The renowned Indian grammarian Panini in his Ashtadhyayi analyses the study of place names. Kalidasa in his various writings selected the references of toponymy. Several eminent writers after Kalidasa, such as, Banabhatta, Bhavabhuti and Bharavi give insightful accounts of place names in their writings. The ancient inscriptions contain useful accounts not only with regard to various place names, but also throw light on the internal and external routes and on various facts of cultural geography. Names of important towns such as Pushkalavati, Sravasti, Pratishthana, Kanchi, Vahlika, Takshasila, Ujjaini, Vidisha, Mathura, Kausambi, among others are mentioned in several inscriptions, seals and

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