In ancient Indian annals the Caspian Sea was known as ‘Kasyap Samudra’ or ‘Kasyap Sagar‘ named after Rishi Kashyap – the father of the devas, asuras, nagas and all of humanity. Some Indian scholars have put forth the view that the name Caspian is derived from ‘Kashyap’. 

Though not commented upon by mainstream scholars, this contention is not without a huge amount of collateral support. First the Sanskritic origins of the Caspian is not in isolation. Many cities located on the banks of the Caspian and its vicinity have names that seem to have a Sanskrit-Vedic connection. The coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.

is the westernmost county and city in Mazandaran in Iran. It borders the Caspian Sea to the north. 
Ramsar is known for its hot water sulphur springs and is the centre of therapeutic spas. Sara (सर) is Sanskrit for a lake, or a pond, or a water body.

Natural Hot Springs at Ramsar, Persia (present day Iran).
‘Sar’ is Sanskrit for ‘lake’ or ‘pool’ and is a suffix in the
names of cities which are known for their water bodies
especially lakes, waterfalls, sacred pools and springs.

Rudsar, is a city in and the capital of Rudsar County, Gilan Province, Iran. It is commonly believed that the word Rudsar comes from the word rud, the Persian word for river, and sar, the Persian word for ‘head’. However, a Sanskrit interpretation of the suffix sara leads to a more appropriate meaning.   Rudsar  is a city located on the banks of a waterbody, namely the Caspean sea, hence that explains the ‘sara’ suffix. ‘Rudh’ is Sanskrit for ‘grief’ and Rudsar may have received the name for the reason that it was completely ruined in about 325 AH. Ironically its more ancient name was Hassem, or Hassan, Sanskrit for laughter. However this explanation of the word Rudh is debatable.

Other cities in Iran who’s name ends with the suffix ‘sar’ include Tuskasar, Chabosar, Paresar and Panesar-eTashkan, and they are all located on the Caspian sea. It is therefore evident that the original meaning of ‘sara’ is  connected to water, and the more common inetrpretation of  ‘sar’ as Persian ‘head’, is incorrect. In any case the Persian sara is a distortion of  Sanskrit shirsha (शीर्ष ) or ‘head’  via Avestan. In Hindi too sara means head and is a corruption from Sanskrit ‘shirsh’.

Panesar-e-Tashkan is home to the Visadar Waterfall. Visadhar is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘poisnous-snake’ or ‘serpentine’, the name Visadhar probably refers to the shape of the waterfall. Click here to see a copyright photo of the Visadar Falls that reveals its serpentine feature.

Visadar Falls, Panesar-e-Tashkan
Photo Courtesy: Pinterest

In Indian literature ‘Visadhar‘  appears as a reference to Krishna in the ‘Gita Govinda’ of Jaydeva written in circa 1200 AD. The verse describes the slaying of the Kaliya serpant by Lord Krishna. Here is the verse.

kaliya-vishadhara-ganjana, jana-ranjana 

yadu-kula-nalina-dinesha , jaya jaya deva hare

kaliya-vishadhara—the poisonous Kaliya serpent; 

ganjana—who defeated; 

jana-ranjana—O delight of the people; 

yadu-kula-nalina—the lotus flower of the Yadu dynasty;

dinesha— Lord of the helpless.

O Lord who defeated the poisonous Kaliya serpent! O delight of the people

O lotus flower of the Yadu dynasty! O Lord of the helpless and poor! 

O Lord and master Hari, all glories unto You, all glories unto You!

Quoted from

Close to Panesar-e-Tashkan is the ancient city of Talesh. Archaeological studies show and archaeologists say, the people of Talesh are one of the oldest inhabitants of Caspian Sea. The Sanskrit ‘Talak’ (तलक) and ‘taal’ (ताल) refer to a ‘pond’ – ‘esh’ refers to ‘god’ or ‘lord’. The suffix Tashkan in the name Panesar-e-Tashkan may be derived from ‘Talesh’ now known as Taleshan.

As stated above Ramsar is known for its hot water sulphur springs and is the centre of therapeutic spas. It is one of the most ancient sites and it is highly likely that the suffix ‘sar’ refers to the ‘hot springs’ – as in Sanskrit ‘sar’ (सर). There may even be a connection to Sri Rama. There is some evidence to support this claim. Intriguing place names around the Caspian Sea include Siyavar and Lankaran. Siyavar (सियावर) was a name of Sri Rama and of course the name Lankaran is a reminder of Lanka (लंका) of Ramayana.

Then there is Sanganchal in Azerbaijan. Sanganchal (संघअञ्चल) is probably a reference to a Buddhist monastry – ‘sangha’ is Sanskrit for ‘group’ or ‘committee’ – Buddhist groups are referred to as ‘sangha’. ‘Anchal’ and ‘achal’ (अञ्चल) both denote ‘zone’. Azerbaijan was located at the centre of numerous caravan routes, including the Great Silk Road, connecting great civilizations as the Sumer, Persian, Indian and Chinese, passed through the territory of Azerbaijan and hence in antiquity Azerbaijan also emerged as a centre of Buddhism.

Another city by the name Makhachkala, located on the western bank of the Caspian sea in Russia, lies on the ruins of Tarki which itself was built over the ancient city of Samander – the name probably a distortion of Sanskrit ‘samudra’ (समुद्र) or ‘sea’ – the suffix in Kasyapa-Samudra.

The capital city of Atirau in Kazagkstan on the Caspian still has a district called ‘Inder’ and a lake by the same name.


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