Geographical details of Mahabharatha

India during Mahabharatha times
Mahabharatha provides extensive Geographical description that could never not be available anywhere else during it contemporary period.  It provides in depth description about the Indian sub-continent,  Chinese, Arabs, Europeans and many others. The geographical descriptions of the Mahabharatha is very extensive and runs into number of pages.  Therefore I would bring forth a summarized version  of them. First let's have a glimpse of geographical location of the Mahabharatha war called as "Kurukshetra".

According to researchers "Kurukshetra" is the place where the famous war of Mahabharata between Pandavas and Kauravas took place before around 5150 years. Kurukshetra is located between the cities of Ambala and Panipat. The Vedas state that this place was ploughed with solid gold equipment by Kuru, the son of king Savaran before around 6500 years. This ancient battlefield occupies a very large area of around 80 square kilometers. The battle field is mainly divided in seven forests. These forests are named as Kamyavan, Aditivan, Vyasvan, Fulkivan, Suryavan, Madhuvan, and Sitavan. It is said that the war of Mahabharata took place in first three forests, namely Kamyavan, Aditivan, and Vyasvan. As the strength of both Pandavas and Kauravas armies was very big, can it hold this extremely large troops of 1.6 billion ?

But researchers on Kurukshetra indicates that " Pancavimsa Brahmana (25.10, etc.) introduces us to the region Kuruksetra in which Sarasvati, Drishadvati, and Apaya flowed. Another lake, Anyatah-plaksa, is also placed in Kuruksetra. Ancient Kuruksetra appears to have been a vast area which comprises not only the Sarasvati, Drishadvati and Apaya but many lakes and hills and probably other rivers also. Researchers believe the hilly part of the Ghaggar system is very small and devoid of lakes, which would suggest that ancient Kurukshetra is much larger than that which we today call Kuruksetra.

Mahabharatha BHISHMA PARVA SECTION XI (BHUMI PARVA) provides extensive geographic information. Here Sanjaya mentions to Dhirdhrashtra as many as ten thousand geographical entities like Rivers, Islands, Lakes, Valleys, Mountains, Kingdoms, Regions etc. For a researcher in Geography it may almost take his entire lifetime to compare them with the contemporary names and geographical locations. I have brought forward the following three paragraphs which may be extensive in detail just to show how real is Mahabharatha  and how foolish it is for us to call it as a Myth.

"I will now, O chastiser of foes, describe to thee that country as I have heard of it. Listen to me, O king, as I speak of what thou hast asked me. Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Suktimat, Rakshavat, Vindhya, and Paripatra,--these seven are the Kala-mountains[58] (of Bharatvarsha). Besides these, O king, there are thousands of mountains that are unknown, of hard make, huge, and having excellent valleys. Besides these there are many other smaller  mountains inhabited by barbarous tribes. Aryans and Mlecchas, O Kauravya, and many races, O lord, mixed of the two elements, drink the waters of the following rivers, viz., magnificent Ganga, Sindhu, and Saraswati; of Godavari, and Narmada, and the large river called Yamuna; of Dhrishadwati, and Vipapa, and Vipasa and Sthulavaluka; of the river Vetravati, and that other one called Krishna-vena; of Iravati, and Vitasta, and Payosyini, and Devika; of Vedasmrita and Vedavati, and Tridiva, and Ikshumalavi;[59] of Karishini, and Chitravaha, and the river called Chitrasena; of Gomati, and Dhutapada and the large river called Gandaki[60], of Kausiki, and Nischitra, and Kirtya, and Nichita, and Lohatarini;[61] of Rashasi and Satakumbha, and also Sarayu; of Charmanwati, and Vetravati,[62] and Hastisoma, and Disa; of the river called Saravati, and Venna, and Bhimarathi; of Kaveri, and Chuluka, and Vina, and Satavala; of Nivara, and Mahila, and Suprayoga, O king; of Pavitra, and Kundala, and Rajani, and Puramalini; of Purvabhirama, and Vira, and Bhima, and Oghavati; of Palasini, and Papahara, and Mahendra, and Patalavati, of Karishini, and Asikni, and the large river Kusachira: of Makari, and Pravara, and Mena, and Hema, and Dhritavati; of Puravati, and Anushna, and Saivya, and Kapi, O Bharata; of Sadanira, and Adhrishya, and the mighty stream Kusadhara; of Sadakanta, and Siva, and Viravati; of Vatsu, and Suvastu, and Kampana with Hiranwati; of Vara, and the mighty river Panchami, of Rathachitra, and Jyotiratha, and Viswamitra, and Kapinjala; of Upendra, and Vahula, and Kuchira, and Madhuvahini: of Vinadi, and Pinjala, and Vena, and the great river Pungavena; of Vidisa and Krishna-vena, and Tamra, and Kapila, of Salu, and Suvama, the Vedaswa, and the mighty river Harisrava; of Sighra, and Pischala, and the river Bharadwaji, of the river Kausiki, and Sona, and Chandrama; of Durgamantrasila, and Brahma-vodhya, and Vrihadvati; of Yaksha, and Rohi, and Yamvunadi; of Sunasa and Tamasa, and Dasi, and Vasa, and Varuna, and Asi; of Nila, and Dhrimati, and the mighty river Parnasa; of Pomasi, and Vrishabha, and Brahma-meddhya, and Vrihaddhani. These and many other large rivers, O king, such as Sadonirmaya and Krishna, and Mandaga, and Mandavahini; and Mahagouri, and Durga, O Bharata; and Chitropala. Chitraratha, and Manjula, and Vahini; and Mandakini, and Vaitarani, and Kosa, and Mahanadi; and Suktimati, and Ananga, and Pushpaveni, and Utpalavati; and Lohitya, Karatoya, and Vrishasabhya; and Kumari, and Rishikullya and Marisha, and Saraswati; and Mandakini, and Supunya, Sarvasanga, O Bharata, are all mothers of the universe and productive of great merit. Besides these, there are rivers, by hundreds and thousands, that are not known (by names), I have now recounted to thee, O king, all the rivers as far as I remember".
"After this, listen to the names of the provinces as I mention them. They are the Kuru-Panchalas, the Salwas, the Madreyas, the Jangalas, the Surasena, the Kalingas, the Vodhas, the Malas, the Matsyas, the Sauvalyas, the Kuntalas, the Kasi-kosalas, the Chedis, the Karushas, the Bhojas, the Sindhus, the Pulindakas, the Uttamas, the Dasarnas, the Mekalas, the Utkalas; the Panchalas, the Kausijas, the Nikarprishthas, Dhurandharas; the Sodhas, the Madrabhujingas, the Kasis, and the further-Kasis; the Jatharas, the Kukuras, O Bharata; the Kuntis, the Avantis, and the further-Kuntis; the Gomantas, the Mandakas, the Shandas, the Vidarbhas, the Rupavahikas; the Aswakas, the Pansurashtras, the Goparashtras, and the Karityas; the Adhirjayas, the Kuladyas, the Mallarashtras, the Keralas, the Varatrasyas, the Apavahas, the Chakras, the Vakratapas, the Sakas; the Videhas, the Magadhas, the Swakshas, the Malayas, the Vijayas, the Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Yakrillomans; the Mallas, the Suddellas, the Pranradas, the Mahikas, the Sasikas; the Valhikas, the Vatadhanas, the Abhiras, the Kalajoshakas; the Aparantas, the Parantas, the Pahnabhas, the Charmamandalas; the Atavisikharas, the Mahabhutas, O sire; the Upavrittas, the Anupavrittas, the Surashatras, Kekayas; the Kutas, the Maheyas, the Kakshas, the Samudranishkutas; the Andhras, and, O king, many hilly tribes, and many tribes residing on lands laying at the foot of the hills, and the Angamalajas, and the Manavanjakas; the Pravisheyas, and the Bhargavas, O king; the Pundras, the Bhargas, the Kiratas, the Sudeshnas, and the Yamunas, the Sakas, the Nishadhas, the Anartas, the Nairitas, the Durgalas, the Pratimasyas, the Kuntalas, and the Kusalas; the Tiragrahas, the Ijakas, the Kanyakagunas, the Tilabharas, the Samiras, the Madhumattas, the Sukandakas; the Kasmiras, the Sindhusauviras, the Gandharvas, and the Darsakas; the Abhisaras, the Utulas, the Saivalas, and the Valhikas; the Darvis, the Vanavadarvas, the Vatagas, the Amarathas, and the Uragas; the Vahuvadhas, the Kauravyas, the Sudamanas, the Sumalikas; the Vadhras, the Karishakas, the Kalindas, and the Upatyakas; the Vatayanas, the Romanas, and the Kusavindas; the Kacchas, the Gopalkacchas, the Kuruvarnakas; the Kiratas, the Varvasas, the Siddhas, the Vaidehas, and the Tamraliptas; the Aundras, the Paundras, the Saisikatas, and the Parvatiyas",
"O sire. 'There are other kingdoms, O bull of Bharata's race, in the south. They are the Dravidas, the Keralas, the Prachyas, the Mushikas, and the Vanavashikas; the Karanatakas, the Mahishakas, the Vikalpas, and also the Mushakas; the Jhillikas, the Kuntalas, the Saunridas, and the Nalakananas; the Kankutakas, the Cholas, and the Malavayakas; the Samangas, the Kanakas, the Kukkuras, and the Angara-marishas; the Samangas, the Karakas, the Kukuras, the Angaras, the Marishas: the Dhwajinis, the Utsavas, the Sanketas, the Trigartas, and the Salwasena; the Vakas, the Kokarakas, the Pashtris, and the Lamavegavasas; the Vindhyachulakas, the Pulindas, and the Valkalas; the Malavas, the Vallavas, the further-Vallavas, the Kulindas, the Kalavas, the Kuntaukas, and the Karatas; the Mrishakas, the Tanavalas, the Saniyas; the Alidas, the Pasivatas, the Tanayas, and the Sulanyas; the Rishikas, the Vidarbhas, the Kakas, the Tanganas, and the further-Tanganas. Among the tribes of the north are the Mlecchas, and the Kruras, O best of the Bharatas; the Yavanas, the Chinas, the Kamvojas, the Darunas, and many Mleccha tribes; the Sukritvahas, the Kulatthas, the Hunas, and the Parasikas; the Ramanas, and the Dasamalikas. These countries are, besides, the abodes of many Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra tribes. Then again there are the Sudra-abhiras, the Dardas, the Kasmiras, and the Pattis; the Khasiras; the Atreyas, the Bharadwajas, the Stanaposhikas, the Poshakas, the Kalingas, and diverse tribes of Kiratas; the Tomaras, the Hansamargas, and the Karamanjakas. These and other kingdoms are on the east and on the north".

VANA PARVA SECTION LI describes about various kings who were present on the Invitation of the Pandavas for the Rajasuya sacrifice.

'That prosperity which the sons of Pritha had acquired at Indraprastha, and which, unobtainable by other kings, was beheld by me at the Rajasuya sacrifice, at which, besides, I saw all kings, even those of the Vangas and Angas and Paundras and Odras and Cholas and Dravidas and Andhakas, and the chiefs of many islands and countries on the sea-board as also of frontier states, including the rulers of the Sinhalas, the barbarous mlecchas, the natives of Lanka, and all the kings of the West by hundreds, and all the chiefs of the sea-coast, and the kings of the Pahlavas and the Daradas and the various tribes of the Kiratas and Yavanas and Sakras and the Harahunas and Chinas and Tukharas and the Sindhavas and the Jagudas and the Ramathas and the Mundas and the inhabitants of the kingdom of women and the Tanganas and the Kekayas and the Malavas and the inhabitants of Kasmira, afraid of the prowess of your weapons, present in obedience to your invitation, performing various offices"

The earliest reference to the word "China" for people who lived across the Himalayas north of India is found in the Mahabharata. This may have been referring to either the Qin state which later became the Qin Dynasty, or a Chinese tribe that inhabited the Tibet region.

China is mentioned in the travel-descriptions of the Pandavas. The passage in Mahabharata, describes these Chinas, to be located somewhere in the high Himalayas:

Mahabharata VANA PARVA,  SECTION CLXXVI  Describes the Pandavas leaving the place called Badari (Badrinath in Uttarakhand) and crossing the difficult Himalayan regions, and leaving behind them, the countries of China, Tukhara, Darada and all the climes of Kulinda (Kiratas)

"Then all those warriors having in due course happily lived at  Badari for one month, proceeded towards the realm of Suvahu, king of the Kiratas, by following the same track by which they had come. And crossing the difficult Himalayan regions, and the countries of China, Tukhara, Darada and all the climes of Kulinda".

In UDYOGA PARVA SECTION LXXXVI  King Dhritarashtra says I will also give him (Krishna) a thousand deer-skins brought from China and other things of the kind that may be worthy of Kesava. I will also give him this serene gem of the purest rays that shines day and night, for Kesava alone deserves it.
It is to be noted that during the Han Dynasty, deer skins were used to make token money notes representing 400,000 coins. [Ref : in the Mahabharatha ]

Alien tribes mentioned in Mahabharata

The tribes of Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, Pisachas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Vanaras, Nagas, Suparnas, Vidyadharas, Valkhilyas, Siddhas and Charanas all became non-human and aliens. Devas were further classified into Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, Sadhyas and Adityas. Asuras were similarly divided into Daityas, Danavas, Kalakeyas etc. Among the Daityas were a group called the Nivata Kavachas. However today, we can find the remnants of most of these tribes. Yakshas are found as Yakkas in Nepal, Tibet and Srilanka. Nagas are found as Nagas of Nagaland in eastern India, Nairs and Nagars in southern India. Gandharvas were ancient Gandharas. Pisachas lived in Kashmir attested by the Paisachi languages. Asura-philosophy of hatred towards Devas like Indra is found in the Iranian Veda named Avesta. Kinnaras are found as Kinnaurs in Himachal Pradesh. We also know that people who were considered as humans had interbred with these tribes. Asura Vrishaparva's daughter became a wife of Yayati and gave birth to sons like Puru. Pandava Bhima had a son named Ghatotkacha upon a Rakshasa women named Hidimba.

If we look at the geographical locations of these tribes, we find that they, at-least for some period of time during their existence, lived in inaccessible regions like mountains and forests and/or lived isolated from the regions of the authors of Mahabharata. Pisachas lived in the mountains of Kashmir. Yakshas, Kinnaras and Kimpurushas lived in high Himalays or in Tibet, cut off from the authors of Mahabharata who lived in the Indo-Gangatic plain to the south of the Himalayas. Gandharvas too lived in the high mountains of Gandhara and only in later stages moved to Saraswati river basin. They also continued to live along with Yakshas in high mountains. Devas lived further north to Yaksha territories, and lied towards the east. The Asuras lived to the west and north of Gandhara. Vanaras lived in the dense forest named Dandaka in the central and south-central India. Rakshasas lived in the mountains of Trikuta (Ravana) and the Himalayas (Ghatotkacha) or in dense forests (Vaka, Kirmira, Hidimba). Thus the attribution that they were non-human or alien was also due to the fact that they were not easily accessible to the writers of Mahabharata and their lives seemed to them to be mysterious [ Ref : ]