The great Indian epic – Mahabharata, has been widely read and studied by people across the world. The epic offers many useful lessons to learn, and is a must recommended study for just about everyone.
Let’s take a peek at 11 important places of modern India associated with the epic –
Ujjanak – Where Dronacharya taught archery to Kauravas and Pandavas
Ujjanak, in Nainital district of Uttarakhand is where the princes of the Kuru clan mastered the art of archery at Dronacharya’s ashram. The Bhimashankar temple here is one of the oldest Jyotirlingas. It is said that the lingam here was installed by Bheema himself under the guidance of Dronacharya.
Banganga Where Bhishma Pitamah quenched his thirst
On the tenth day of the war of Mahabharata, the commander of the Kaurava army, Bheeshma Pitamah, fell, and rested on a bed arrows. He couldn’t die as he had been granted the boon of dying when he wished to many years ago when he took the vow of celibacy and never marrying so that his father could marry the fisherman’s daughter and their son could be king. As Pitamah fell, he was thirsty, so Arjun shot an arrow straight into the ground from where Ganga herself sprang up helping Pitamah quench his thirst. This happened where modern day Banganga stands, and it is just about 3 km away from the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Kurukshetra – the battlefield of the final war
Located in Haryana, Kurukshetra served the ground of the battlefield of the epic war of Mahabharata. The war was fought continuously for 18 days taking its toll on both sides. The place is a memorial of all those souls who lost their lives for the sake of dharma. It is believed that Lord Brahma once performed a ritual here, and there is a pond here called the Brahma Sarovar. Devotees from all across the country flock here to take a dip in the pond at the time of solar eclipse.
Hastinapur – the seat of the royal kingdom
Hastinapur, located in the city of Meerut in the state of Uttar Pradesh was the capital of the kingdom of Kuru clan. Hastinapur is a place that has celebrated glorious times and has also mourned for their misdeeds. Once the the war of Mahabharata ended, Hastinapur became the capital of Pandavas. Today, it is one of the major sites of pilgrimage in India.
Varnavat – the origin of wax architecture
Wax museums are a common site these days, one finds them around the world in many places. However, the concept is definitely not a recent one, it was around even in the times of the Mahabharata. Lakshagruha Varnavat is located in Handia of Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Duryodhana had built a wax palace for the Pandavas here. A lot of tourists come here now. There is a statue of Kunti here, so don’t miss it.
Panchal – Draupadi’s homeland
Drauapadi, a woman born to divide a family, to keep the Pandavas tied together, she emerged as a young princess from fire, as the daughter of King Drupada of the kingdom of Panchal. Today, Panchal is situated between the river Chamba and the Himalayas in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Indraprastha – the capital city of the Pandavas
Indraprastha is located in the modern New Delhi. It was the capital city of the Pandavas. It is believed that the Khandavprasta (forest) was destroyed by the Pandavas on which Indraprastha stood in pride. It is said that the land of Indraprastha then is where the majestic Purana Quila of Delhi stands today.
Vrindavan – the land of the Kingmaker Krishna
Just 10 km away from Mathura, Vrindavan is the place where Lord Krishna spent most of his childhood playing with the gopis and eating butter. Today, Vrindavan is a major tourist site and has beautiful temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha.
Barsana – The land of the unconditional lover, Radha
Barsana in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh is the land of Radha. Legends say that Lord Krishna, disguised as a peacock, danced here to win the heart of his eternal unconditional lover, Radha. There is a shrine here dedicated to Radha Krishna with the name Radha Rani Shreeji Temple. Countless devotees flock to this temple during the Lathmar Holi celebrations.
Angadesh – the land of Karna
Karna, the illegitimate child of Kunti, had been put in a basket as a baby and floated away on a river. Later, a couple in Angadesh came across this basket and adopted the baby as their own. Angadesh, also known as Malini Nagar in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh was later ruled by Karna as throned by his friend Duryodhana. This place is also one of the Shaktipeeths as Sati’s right hand had fallen here and a temple, Khaira Bhavani temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati is built here.
Manali – Where Hidimba meditated
The Hidimba Devi temple in Manali, is built around a cave where Hidimba meditated. Hidimba lived here with her brother Hidimb. Born into a Rakshasa family, Hidimba vowed to marry one who would defeat her brother Hidimba, who was brave and fearless. During Pandava’s exile, they visited Manali, Bhima killed Hidimb. Hidimba then married Bhima and they had a kid together, named Ghatotkacha. People in Manali worship Hidimba devi as a deity. During Navratri, while the rest of the world worships Goddess Durga, people in Manali worship Hidimba.