By Swami Harshananda
When the devas (gods) and dānavas (demons) wanted to churn the ocean of milk, kṣirasāgara, to get amṛta or ambrosia, they are said to have used the Mandara (or Mandāra) mountain as the churning rod. Viṣṇu supported the mountain on his back in his incarnation as Kurma or the tortoise.
Mandara mountain is sometimes enumerated among the seven ‘Kula-parvatas’. They are the mountains that act like the borders of the islands of this earth. A hill situated about 50 kms. (30 miles) south of Bhagalpur in Bihar has been identified with the Mandara of the purāṇas.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore