Bhāratavarṣa

Bhāratavarṣa, Bharatavarsham or Akhanda Bharatam (Sanskrit: "Indian subcontinent") literally means the varsha (continent) that is rata (dedicated) to bha (light, wisdom) — is encompassed from north to south by sagarmatha (forehead of the ocean), and extending into the mahasagar (Indian Ocean). The region where Bharatiya (Hindu) Civilization developed and was in force which includes the country we call today as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sri Langka and even parts of Tibet. Bharata is a legendary king in Hindu history. He was the first to conquer all of Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named after him as Bhāratavarṣa. According to some Puranas, the term Bhāratavarṣa applies to the whole Earth and not just to India. According to the Mahābhārata, Bharata's empire covered all of the Indian subcontinent, Bactria, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgistan, Turkmenistan, and Persia.

The Republic of India is officially known as Bhārat (in Hindi) Bhārata (in Sanskrit).1

Literary Accounts

Bhāratavarṣa refers to the whole of Bhārat. Emperor Bharat was one of the few emperors to rule all of India.

The Vishnu Puranam accounts the extent of Bharatavarsham,

uttaraṃ yatsamudrasya himādreścaiva dakṣiṇam
varṣaṃ tadbhārataṃ nāma bhāratī yatra santatiḥ

उत्तरं यत्समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम् ।
वर्षं तद् भारतं नाम भारती यत्र संततिः ।।

"The country (varṣam) that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains is called Bhāratam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata."

Bharatakantham is the region which is contained in Bharatavarsha, comprising of modern South Asia. In the Hindu prayer invocations (Sankalpam), the normal order of geography is

Bharatavarshe (Akhanda Bharatam), Bharatakante (Bharatam),..

(In the land of Bharatavarsha, in Bharatakantha and so on)

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