Kishkindha (also known as Kishkindhya), was the kingdom of the Vanara King Sugriva, the younger brother of Vali, in the Ramayana. This was the kingdom where he ruled with the assistance of his minister, Hanuman. This kingdom is identified to be the regions around the Tungabhadra lake (then known as Pampa Saras) near Hampi in Karnataka. The mountain near to the lake with the name Risyamuka where Sugriva lived with Hanuman, during the period of his exile also is found with the same name. During the time of Ramayana ie, Treta Yuga, the whole region was within the dense forest called Dandaka Forest extending from Vindhya range to the South Indian peninsula. Hence this kingdom was considered to be the kingdom of Vanaras which in Sanskrit means Forest Dwellers. During Dwapara Yuga, the Pandava Sahadeva was said to visit this kingdom, as per the epic Mahabharata, during his southern military campaign to collect tribute for Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice.
References of Kishkindha in Mahabharata
Though Kishkindha was mentioned in the epic Ramayana, with great detail, a few mentions of this kingdom is found in the epic Mahabharata.
Sahadeva, the Pandava general, and younger brother of Pandava king Yudhisthira, came to southern regions to collect tribute for the Rajasuya sacrifice of the king.
Sahadeva reduced to subjection king Vatadhipa. He then defeated the Pulindas (Pulindas in the south, see also the northern Pulindas) , the hero then marched southward. He then fought for one whole day with the king of Pandrya (Pandya?). The long-armed hero having vanquished that monarch marched further to the south. And then he beheld the celebrated caves of Kishkindhya and in that region fought for seven days with the Vanara-kings Mainda and Dwivida. Those illustrious kings however, without being tired in the encounter, were gratified with Sahadeva. And joyfully addressing the Kuru prince, they said,—"O tiger among the sons of Pandu, go hence, taking with the tribute from us all. Let the mission of the king Yudhishthira the just possessed of great intelligence, be accomplished without hindrance." Taking jewels and gems from them all, the hero marched towards the city of Mahishmati, and there he battled with king Nila.
Rama's history within Mahabharata
A few chapters of Mahabharata, contains within it, the epic Ramayana in brief.
After Vanara king Vali had been slain by Raghava Rama, Sugriva, the younger brother of the king, regained possession of Kishkindhya, and along with it, the lordship of the widowed queen, Tara. Rama, meanwhile dwelt on the beautiful breast of the Malyavat Mountains (a mountain range, in Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu) for four months, duly worshipped by Sugriva all the while. (3,278). Sugriva is mentioned as the ruler of the forest-kingdom Kishkindhya and the king of the Vanaras (forest-dwellers), installed on throne by Raghava Rama and to whom all foresters and apes, monkeys and bears owe allegiance. (3,280). Raghava Rama slew the Rakshasa king Ravana in battle and installed Vibhishana, Ravana's younger brother, on the throne of Lanka. Thus he regained his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana. He then left Lanka and re-entered Kishkindhya with king Sugriva. Having arrived at Kishkindhya, he installed the old king Vali's son Angada as prince-regent of that kingdom. After that he left to his own capital-city Ayodhya of Kosala Kingdom (3,289).
At (3,146) the mountain named Hrishyamukha (Risyamuka) where Sugriva and Hanuman spent their exile, due to fear of king Vali is mentioned.
References of Vanaras in Mahabharata
Vanaras were described as one of the Exotic Tribes of Ancient India along with many others, in the epic Mahabharata.
Their kinship with other such tribes are hinted at (1,66). The Rakshasas, Yakshas, Vanaras and Kinnaras (these four were linked to the sage Pulastya) and with Kimpurushas (half-men, half-lion), Salabhas (butterfly-like beings — the angels or fairies in western mythologies ?) and Valikhilyas (the followers of the movements of the sun) (the last three were linked to the sage Pulaha) were mentioned to have kinship (1.66). They were mentioned along with one of these or some of these tribes at many locations in the epic. (1-70,144,and many other references).
Territories of Vanaras
Kishkindhya and the southern India were the most populous territoires of Vanaras. However they were also found in the forests of Himalayas (3-144,157). Bhima in his wanderings have seen the abode of the Vanara chief Hanuman in the plantain wood, on an elevated rocky base in the mountains of Gandhamadana (in Himalayas) (3-145,146,147,148,149,150,151).
Vanara Kings and Chiefs
Hanuman was the best-known figure among the Vanaras. He was the prime-minister of the Vanara king Sugriva who was installed on the throne of Kishkindha by Raghava Rama. Hanuman was the son of Vanara chief, Kesari (3,145). Sugriva's elder brother Vali was the former king of the Vanaras. He was slain by Raghava Rama. The dispute between Vali and Sugriva is mentioned at (4,22), (7,176) After Sugriva, Vali's son Angada became the king of Kishindha (3,289). During the period of the Pandavas, Mainda and Dwivida were the two kings of Kishkindha. They have battled with the Pandava Sahadeva(2,32). Dwivida had also battled with Vasudeva Krishna (5,130).