From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Jit Majumdar

  1. forest of punishment; forest of the punisher
  2. a vast woody and hilly region, named after Danḍaka the son of King Ikşvāku, covering the central-eastern part of India, and including the modern states of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, which was home to many ancient tribes in ancient times. It was here that Rāma along with his wife and brother spent 13 out of the 14 years of their exile, and which was the seat of the events that became the turning point in the narrative of the Rāmāyana.