Tracing the ancient roots of Mahabharata in space and time: Hastinapur, Part 1 (Vedic Religion)

Two greatest epic of our nation Ramayana and the Mahabharata, touches our soul and lives in many ways. Most of us grew with these stories of extraordinary courage, dedication, truth, betrayal and victory of good over bad. These stories have all aspects of life. So, completely fascinated by these epics I decided to trace the marks of Mahabharata in our time.



Going through various sites on net I tried to learn more about Hastinapur, one of the greatest kingdoms of ancient India. King Santanu who married to Goddess Ganga was the famous king of Hastinapur. After the death of the Santanu, Chitrangada became King of Hastinapura and he was succeeded by Vichitravirya. Vichitravirya had two sons, Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Dhritarashtra was born blind, therefore Pandu, the younger brother, ascended the throne.

Pandu did commit some mistake so he was forced to live into exile with his two wives Kunti and Madri. During their stay in forest, the two wives of Pandu, gave birth to five sons who became well-known as the five Pandavas. Pandu passed away while they were still living in the forest. The sages brought up the five Pandavas during their early years.

After the death of Pandu, Dhritarashtra took over the rein and because of his blindness he was accompanied by his elders Bhisma, Guru Dronacharya and Guru Kirpacharya for day-to-day affairs related to kingdom. It is believed that Dhritarashtra had 100 sons who were known as Kauravas. The rivalry among Kauravas and Pandavas and the role of lord Krishna to justify the ‘truth’ and ‘dharma’ is all about the Mahabharata.
The Mahabharata discloses a rich civilization and a highly evolved society, which though of an older world, strangely resembles the India of our own time, with the same values and ideals.

Coming back to present, Hastinapur is situated between Merrut and Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. The NH-58 between Delhi and Merrut is a nightmare to drive. Most of the part is in pathetic condition and people living here have suicidal nature, so you actually need to equally watch the other side of the divider, because, a guy standing on other side of the road will suddenly start to walk and it is a mutual understanding between him and the drivers on the road, that he is not going to stop and it’s your responsibility to drive carefully.
While reaching Merrut take the right side cut instead of toll booth that will go through bypass of Shastri Nagar. Take right turn from Mawana and from there a lush green route will lead to Hastinapur, some 40 km from Merrut.

Hastinapur is also said to be Kashi of Jain religion and today it is mainly visited by followers of Jainism and the locals of surrounding areas who came to see the well articulated temples of ‘Jambudeep’ and other temples, mainly for picnic purpose. However I’ll cover that in a separate part as it is not related to Mahabharata.

 

The first and foremost place of Mahabharata period is ancient “Pandaveshwar Mahadev Temple”.

Locals believe that it is the place where Pandavas came to worship the Lord Shiva. The place was later destroyed by Mughals, but the remains of Shivling are still there.

Remains of Shivling inside the temple
On the temple walls

There is a Banyan tree inside the temple premise, which is said to be of same period. This place really has some strange feelings. It was feeling like Aleph, those who have read the latest book of Paulo Coelho’s “Aleph” can understand me. The temple is regularly visited by locals and they do pray here.

 

Entire temple complex was surrounded by thick forest which is a part of Hastinapur national park. Locals are very scary of snakes which are in large number around the complex.

 

A few meters from here is the “Vidur kutir” and an ancient “Durga Devi Temple”.

 

 

The third place of that era is “Karn Temple”.

This temple is now trying to renovate by authorities. I talked to the priest of the temple and he was really disappointed by the way the ASI and state government is handling the issue. The priest “Shankar dev ji” told me that, till last year one person was used to hold the umbrella in order to perform the daily ritual due to heat and rain, as there was no roof on the temple.

Daily rituals and process of preserving our heritage is continued in silent manner

Finally UP Government made a room after continuous persuasion and the cost of this unfinished room on paper is more than Rs 12 lakh, thanks to their honesty and willingness to preserve our heritage.

Remains of Actual temple dome in nearby field

Till that I was getting late and priest warned me against the visit of “Draupadi Ghat” as it was in dense forest and the road was in bad condition due to rain. He also told me that there are places inside the forest where the Draupadi “cheer haran” was happened.

Since I was alone and it was already getting late so I started back thinking that who are the culprits of this negligence, the place which should be a great pilgrimage for Hindus are now well known because of Jainism.  Mughals did everything to ruin Hindu culture and so the British. But is it us? Who are not doing enough to protect our culture and heritage and one day it would only last in the pages of history.

Additional Info: Hastinapur Wild life Sanctuary is mentioned in most of the websites as a national park, and I was so excited that if I find a national park, that close to Delhi, then it would be my permanent week-end destination. But unfortunately the park is not open to public, although it contains a wide area joining Ghaziabad, Bijnor and other adjoining districts.

Continued…

50 Comments

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Amit ,
    Thank you very much for taking us to history in Mahabharat era. It was a very well narrated post supported with beautiful pictures. Waiting for its next part.

    Thanks.

  • Dear Amit

    Thanks very much. Actually I am very fond of Mahabharata and have been through it lot of times through TV serials , books , hearing Kathas and discussions………………….

    I really am obliged to for giving me virtual darshan of Hastinapur where those great people of that era or yuga were present……………..

    I request you that in your second part put as much photos as possible and one liner description in it.

    Thanks once again for posting this beautiful post ……………..

    Keep travelling Keep posting …………………………

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks Vishal Bhai for your kind words.

      Hastinapur is so close to Delhi and considering its importance it never gets its due.

      I’ll definitely put more pictures and description in next post.

      I also request to you, that if you have some information about places like this, share the information with me, I would love to go their and will share my experiences.

      • Dear Amit

        There are lot of places where these great people have wandered …………………….

        In fact Pandavas have wandered all over India, So there may be lot of places all over India where you can go …………………………

        • Amit Kumar says:

          Hi Vishal,

          I found a very interesting information on http://www.jatland.com/
          Five villages demanded by Pandavas were:
          Indraprastha ???????????? (Purana Qila) – Delhi
          Panprastha ???????? (Panipat) – Haryana
          Sonprastha ????????? (Sonipat) – Haryana
          Tilprastha ????????? (Tilpat) – Haryana
          Vyagprastha ??????????? (Bagpat) – Uttar Pradesh

          Mahabharata tells that When Pandavas were defeated in chausar they were forced to leave the state for 13 years. During most of this time, they lived at place called Varnavata (modern Bairat) in Jaipur district in Rajasthan.

          I don’t know that if any of these place have some significant marks of that era, but trying to find out.

  • vandana paranjape,nashik says:

    Dear Amitkumar,hastinapur dekhana bahut achha laga.apane bharatka prachin etihas abhimanaspad hai.hastinapurke darshan karanekeliye dhanyavad.

  • Sahil Sethi says:

    Amit , Really very detailed post. Good to read the history…

    Sahil

  • Stone says:

    Very interesting and informative post.

    Don’t get me wrong but I found the references to “Hinduism/Jainism/Mughal/British” bit awkward.
    In my opinion this place has just one religion “Ghumakkari”, so lets celebrate that only :-)

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks for liking the post.
      I appreciate your concern and point but it is a harsh reality that most of the heritage related to Hindu religion was demolished by Mughals as mentioned in the pages of history. However it is quite understandable that this was the way to rule a community then.
      However I just wanted to raise the point that if we can participate in “save tiger movement” siting that only 1411 is left then we have just 4 point left in Hastinapur of our greatest heritage, can’t we do something about that?
      I just read on TOI dated 27/09/11 that Delhi tourism authority is submitting a plan to ask for status of heritage city to Delhi. This is a very welcoming step, and I wish there must be more to follow.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Very Informative post !!

  • Nandan says:

    Great story and I am sure that a lot of Ghumakkars from National Capital Region area is going to benefit from it. Just a small error, I think you meant NH58 (delhi – meerut). NH2 is Delhi-Kolkata (via Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad etc)

    It is a very delicate topic but incase you were able to find out, I am interested to know more about the ASI story. Usually ASI takes the possession of all the ‘heritage’ monument (after their own due diligence). Anything which is beyond 100 years old and is significant from historical/religious/cultural/etc angle, is preserved as a national monument. More details are here – http://asi.nic.in/asi_monuments.asp

    I see a mention of ASI at one place. Is there a plan of ASI taking over some/all of structures. Do these structures qualify as per ASI ?

    My experience with ASI maintained structures have been positive. Waiting for next part. Make it happen soon. :-)

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks a lot.
      First of all sorry for the mistake. Actually the route was so bumpy that my word gets derailed :-)
      I have corrected the fact now.
      I have gone through some details related to this and I’ll try to post it soon in next part.

  • Vibha says:

    I could almost see the BR Chopra’s Mahabharat replaying in my mind. Very informative post Amit. All the best with your Tracing the Mahabharat project. :)

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Amit,

    Very informative post indeed – and equally invigorating .

    On so many occasions we tend to pass across such big names viz Hastinapur, Kurukshetra, Karnaal (Karna’s lake), Baan Ganga/ Bhishma Kunda, etc and only reaction perhaps being, like me telling daughter -‘ remember Kurukshetra – the Great war of Mahabharata’ and such.

    Its nice that you are bringing us such details about these heritage places-will await subsequent posts.

    Thanks,

    Auro.

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanks a lot. You are absolutely right, we don’t pay attention to these kind of places, probably because they are not as excited to travel as hills or some less chaotic place.

      I mean when I asked to one of my friend from Merrut about Hastinapur, he was like “koi Merrut bhi ghumne jata hai kya?” So, probably with a journalistic view these places can be enjoyed more.

      Once again thanks for your time.

      Amit

  • austere says:

    Thank you. Ati sundar, yeh bhooli hui virasat.
    Dil sey shukriya kehna chahengey.

    Reached the post via Satya’s blog.

  • S K Das says:

    Dear Amit,

    Thanks for the post and sharing. I want to share one such place place. Near Hisar in Haryana, there is a place called Talwandi rana. From there a few hundred metrs, there is one village named after Barbarik, the grandson of Bhima. One miraculaous peeple tree is there, every leaf of which is cut. It is said that prior to Mahabharat war, Lord Sri Krishan and Arjun were searching for warriors and rested under that tree when Barbarik came by that wau and Lord Krishna in the disguise of a brahmin tested his skill of archery. Barbarik had only three arrows and was going to join the Kouravas as his mother had advised him to join the team which would lose the battle so that he could prove his skill. On being asked by Lord Krishna he tore apart all the leaves of the tree and came back to him. Till date even the new leaf comes out torn. It is the same place where Lord Krishna asked for his head which he offered. All of u who are going thru this post can have a visit and see the tree. It is one of the oldest tree of Mahabharat age. If some body is interested I will post many other places of Mahabharat age. Om Sri Radha Krishnabhyam Namo.
    S.K.Das

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Thanku very much sir for liking the post and such an insightful information. It will be very grateful to if you could share such information with me. I would love to visit these places and share with all.

  • dr.sanjeev george says:

    Good.

    Amit have you travelled anywhere in south India?
    Have you been to anyplace other than Bhangarh, which is said to be haunted, apart form bhangarh? Like Dumas Beach, for eg.?

  • Gitanjali says:

    Hi thank you so much for giving an update on Hastinapur..one of the most envious kingdoms in that era is now in a state of ruins. i really felt sad seeing some of the pictures where the dome is lying in the ground not cared for. these monuments represent the heroic age where we heard of warriors with amazing capabilities and where stupendous events had taken place. Indraprastha the palace which was contsructed by Vishwakarma having mystical abilities is in ruins courtesy Indian government. Can you get any more information on the forts, palaces, battleground belonging to the Pandav Era?

    • S. K. Das says:

      Om Shri Radha Krishnabhyam Namo.

      Dear Gitanjali ji,

      You can visit Kurukshetra in Haryana. There you can see Janesar where Lord Krishna delivered Gita. You can see Amin where Abhimanyu was killed. You can see Brahma Sarobar etc etc. Now you cannot see the battle field because lot of houses habe been built. But you can feel the essence of the Great war in which The GOD himself was present.

      Om Shri Radha Krishnabhyam Namo

      S.K.Das

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Hi Gitanjali, thanks for your time and liking the post. Indeed it was sad to view those doom left isolated in field with no body taking care of that. I was planning to cover more such stories especially those related to Mahabharata era, but somehow couldn’t manage to do so. But soon I’ll resume my traveling and try to share more such stories.

      Thanks once again.

      Amit

  • S. K. Das says:

    Om Shri Radha Krishnabhyam Namo

    Pls somebody help me to know how to upload photos in this post. I am not very much computer friendly.

    Regards

    Om Shri Radha Krishnabhyam Namo

    S.K.Das

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Dear S. K. Das ,
    Thanks for your comment.

    I am sorry to share that you wont be able to upload pictures in this post. This is more like a story in a magazine by Amit.

    Look fwd to have you around.
    Nandan

  • Sharadh says:

    This is very good article. Very good proof of Hinduism! BTW are there any other articles about Hindusim pilgrimage centres with proofs?

    Thanks a lot for this!

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Hi Sharadh.

      Thanks for liking the article. There are lot more articles on hinduism even on this site. There are writers like Mr. Mukesh Bhalse, Mr. Manu Tyagi and Mr. Vishal Rathod who write frequently about such places. Do read there articles and I am sure you would love that.

      Thanks once again
      Amit

  • Manish says:

    Hello Amitji,
    Thank’s alot for information regarding Mahabharata….Sir do you have Idea of places related to The Great Karna…..want to visit all the places which are related with Karna…

    Regard’s
    Manish Gore

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Hello Manish Ji,
      Thanks a lot for appreciating the post. First of all I was away from this site for a long time so the reply is quite delayed, but anyways as far as your search about places related to Karna, one is very famous “Karnal” after Panipat on NH1, which is actually a place belongs to Karna. Do share your expedition with us and let me know If I can assist you in some way.

      • archana says:

        Hello Amit,

        We all must have watched Mahabharat and find it very interesting to know this was our culture and prosperity.I am curious to know the facts ,places,artefacts about reality of Mahabharat, the epic.

  • Arijeet Borthakur says:

    Hi,

    It was definately breath taking to read your travel story. I am always very attracted to Indian history and tried to explore the traces of our great history all across south asia. We definately do nothing in preserving and exploring our rich cultural history.

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Hi Arijeet,
      Thanks a lot for appreciating the post. First of all I was away from this site for a long time so the reply is quite delayed. It is good to know that you are also interested in Indian History and exploring the related facts. Sadly you are true that we do nothing to preserve our heritage. But any little effort to create some kind of awareness is always better than waiting for somebody else to take a big step. And probably we are doing our little effort, and if it is not making any wave but still we our gaining some satisfaction for ourselves.
      Thanks once again.

  • B V S Mani says:

    Thanks for showing detail information on’
    1)place of Mahabharata period and Pandaveshwar Mahadev Temple.

    2)The Banyan tree inside the temple premise, which is said to be of same period.

    3) Vidur kutir and an ancient Durga Devi Temple.

    thanks once again

  • K Dhananjay says:

    In this modern filthy world, you gave us glimpse of the historical places that trace to our origin. Thanks a lot for your great job. Keep posting more and more such places, so that our eyes could get the medication from your noble service.

    • Amit Kumar says:

      Hello Mr. Dhananjay,

      Thanks a lot for your overwhelming appreciation. We all are in a rooster coop and if we can’t do much then at least we can share our legacy with everyone to create a kind of awareness. Glad you liked the post.
      Thanks once again.

  • Vivek says:

    I have same tastes as you Amit. Wish we can travel together. Brilliant work by the way.

  • Vivek says:

    I stay in Uttam Nagar, Delhi. My contact number is 9810591622. Please share yours as well. I belong to a place called Beri in Haryana. Beri has its own significance in the Mahabharat context. Check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beri,_Haryana

  • shishir sharma says:

    Hi Amit,
    Good to know about or efords for hastinapur.l would like to talk to you please contact me on 09953151882 waiting for ur call

    Regards,
    Shishir Sharma

  • Madhur Sharma says:

    It’s nice for you to travel to the place and write about it.

    Just a few issues.
    1. It’s ‘Meerut’, not ‘Merrut’ as you written it repeatedly in your post.
    2. Images are not visible. If you could check with the the website managers. I am curious to see the images. Since the post seems to be from 2001, I would love to see the images from that time.

    Thanks you.

  • Shantilal Pandya says:

    I appreciate an attempt to reveal geographical places of Mahabharata time .it is interesting however we fail to locate ruins of architectures say Rajmahels, of that period unlike architectures found in Egypt which are believed to be older than Mahabharat period,

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