Vol. 3 , Book of Forest Exile of rAma, i.e. AraNya Parva
Chapter 72, i.e. sarga 72,
verse 12 i.e. SlOka 12.
rishyamUkE giri vare
pampA paryanta SObhitE
nivasati AtmavAn viiraH
caturbhiH saha vaanaraiH
The slain accursed demon kabandha (viradha) was advising rAma to proceed to rishyamUka Hill, extending upto the pampa Lake/River where Great Self-respecting person (Atmavan) i.e. vAnara sugrIva lives with four other vAnarAs.
Indians have digested the fantasy of rAmAyana, that vAnaras were monkeys. But they cannot be monkeys if common sense and reason are applied rather than blind faith.
vAnara = vana + nara = Forest + man i.e. a person living in a forest. vAnaras were human beings only, but they were forest dwellers.
The tendency in India is:-- priests working in temples have a disposition to weave stories around the deities they are employed to maintain and serve. They attribute miracles to the Gods and the places. Ponds and hills around such places are given names of the famous locations mentioned in scriptures, so that pilgrims visit their temples again and again.
The identification and nomination of the rishyamuka hill and the pampa lake/river near hampi, bellAri, in KarnAtaka State, India seems to be one such thing.
rAma visiting pampa and rishyamUka at bellAri, karnATaka or visiting Shabari's hermitage on the banks of pampa in kEraLa State are remote possibilities considering that rAma and lakshmaNa had to traverse long distances in dense forests which are extremely difficult to penetrate.
Hence, I have a feeling that the pampa Lake/River in Andhra Pradesh, karnATaka and Kerala States, may not be the rAmAyana linked pampas.
eSa rAma shivaH panthaa
yatra ete puSpitA drumAH
pratIcIm disham Ashritya
prakAshante mano ramAH
kabandha was asking rAma-lakshmaNa to proceed in the direction of 'west' (pratIci).
Plants will be full of blossoming flowers and shining in a captivating manner.
If rishyamuka and pampa were the places of beLLAri-karnATaka, kabandha should have asked rAma-lakshmaNa to take a southward trek.
NORTH INDIAN PAMPA
pampA nadI nivAsAnAm
citrakuuTa AlayAnaam ca
kriyatE kadanam mahat.
SItA-rAma-lakshmaNa move from citrakUT to janasthAna (literal meaning:people's place. fact: a place in the forest), as the Sages of CitrakUT expressed their anxieties about their safety owing to frequent raids by demons khara and dUshaNa who were kin of rAvaNa.
rAma and lakshmaNa killed the demon viradha at janasthAna.
Sages at that place approach rAma for protection. This verse is a part of their woes.
They (the demons) make big raids at the dwellings near pampa river, mandAkini river, and at citrakUTa homes.
Some commentators expressed a view that any strip of any river may be called 'mandAkini', not necessarily the 'river Ganges' which is the chief reference object of 'mandAkini' . Well, it was possible.
As per our tourism traditions, the citrakUT of madhya pradEsh State (133 km. south of Allahabad). It has a local river, which is called 'mandAkini'. It also has the river 'gupt gOdAvari' (the hidden gOdAvari).
I have a feeling that the present citrakUT is not the real rAmAyaNa's citrakUT. The real citrakUT may be in UP itself, on the Southern bank of River Ganges. This is because rAma and Lakshmana did not walk long distances after crossing the River Yamuna, as per the direction of bharadwAja. Besides, bharata on his pallanquin carried by walkers and his large entourage of bullock carts, elephants, (and of course horses) reached citrakUT in a very short time after crossing Ganga.
At the verse 2-55-33 we can see that Sita-rama-lakshmaNa travelled only two miles after crossing river yamuna.
kroshamAtram tato gatvA
bahuun medhyaan mrigAn
hatvA ceratur yamunAvane.
rAma-lakshmaNa (presumably hunting work was done only by lakshmaNa) killed many deer in the yamuna forest and ate them. They slept for the night.
NO description of their travelling 133 km. which would have taken at least 4 days for the delicate Princess and her Princes to walk.
Rama immediately started showing the citrakUT hill and the citrakUTa trees to SitA.
In the next scene, he would order lakshmaNa to bring wood and raise a hut.
Then the antelope sacrifice and worship of spirits.
Then rAma feeding grilled meat to Sita. Everything goes on very fast like in a film strip.
This speed is possible only if citrakUT is very proximate to ganga and yamuna.
This filmy succession of frames gives an impression that rAma-lakshmaNas moved eastward along the southern banks of Ganga (original mandAkini) River towards some hills which were treated as citrakUT, rather than 133 km. southwards to the madhya pradesh citrakUT and its duplicate mandAkini rivulet.
All the three places in 3-6-17 i.e. pampa, mandakini, and citakUt, mentioned by the sages raided by demons were very proximate to one another. They must be on the southern banks of River Ganges - UP, MP, bihar, jhArkhand. Some zig-zag to-and-fro movements were also possible, because sages and people were asking them to go to 'east', 'south', 'west' etc.
Summary: The pampa river/lake is not the pampa(s) of the Andhra Pradesh-karnataka-kerala of South India.