India is a land of many myths and traditions. And there are two great Indian epics that particularly lie in between these two areas- of being myths or reality- Mahabharata and Ramayana. These two epics are stories of triumph of good over evil. Most Indians have a belief that the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana are real accounts of events that took place ages ago. This belief is not entirely false as their claims are supported by the existence of some of the places that are mentioned in these epics. Well, let us take you to some of the places that are mentioned in the great epic called Mahabharata, and show you what they look like today. This is a journey that we bet you wouldn’t want to miss!
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This city had been a crucial place in both puranic kathas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. In Mahabharata, it was the home of Drithrashtra’s wife Gandhari. Her brother, Shakuni, was the prince of Gandhar. In the present day, this location can be found in Sindh Pradesh. It is to the north of the Indian border and figures prominently in Pakistan. Well, you need to understand that we are talking of an era when geographical borders were not what they are today, and India and Pakistan were not separate. So, some of the old forts and ruins are still present in Pakistan, which you can go and check out. It is a great travesty that those glorious palaces were destroyed during battles, or else they would definitely have been on the world heritage list.
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It is the city that boasted of a great educational university in the mythological book. It was also the capital of Gandhar pradesh. In the mythological scriptures, this city was privy to one of the largest mass executions’ of snakes! This was done because the king’s son met his death after being bitten by a snake. This city is located in present day Rawalpindi, Pakistan. It is located just off the famous Grand Trunk road, and is now called, Taxila. In ancient times it was also a city reputed for its university that attracted students from foreign lands! This effectively makes it the first university of the world!
#3. Kekaya Pradesh
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This city is known as the land of warriors whose valour is almost as legendary as their fighting skills. The son of the king supported the Kauravas in the great battle. This city is located in present day Jammu and Kashmir. The kingdom was also famous in the epic because the king’s daughter was married off to none other than Krishna! And what’s more? Her brother, Vind, wanted her to get married to– Duryodhan!
#4. Madra Desh
Because it was located on the other side of the Himalayas, the Madra Kingdom was also referred to as ‘Uttarkuru”. King Pandu’s second wife, Madri was the princess of Madra Kingdom. In the epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas are seen participating in various capacities in some of the traditions and rituals of this place. Many characters from this place had some sort of an interaction with some of the Pandavas in the tale. It is believed that the women of Madra kingdom had much more freedom than their counterparts in the rest of the country. Its capital was Sagala, which is modern day Sialkot, which is located in the northeast of Punjab, Pakistan. In present times, the city has become a tourist attraction of sorts.
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This was an ancient city during the times of Mahabharata that was famed for its training or grooming schools for princes. In the epic, the Pandavas and the Kauravas are taught the fine arts of fighting and warfare by their guru, Dronacharya, here. Bhima is even supposed to have established a Shiva Linga here. There is a huge temple erected in the honour of Lord Shiva. In the present day, this place is located in Nainital district, Uttarakhand. It is quite the tourist attraction and many scholars are of the opinion that the Shiva Linga is one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlings in India.
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This is the place where the famous battle in the epic ensues. Millions of soldiers were utilised during the battles that lasted for 18 days. Many great and legendary warriors lost their lives in the battle of Kurukshetra. In present times it is situated in Ambala, in Haryana. It is said that Lord Krishna had revealed the sermon of Bhagavad Gita at this place before the war took place. Nowadays it is probably the most famous tourist attraction related to Mahabharata. It is also revered as a sacred spot for devotees of the God Brahma. Even in ancient times it was famed for its temples dedicated to Brahma, which saw devotees flock and offer sacrifices religiously.
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This city is located near Meerut, in Uttar Pradesh. It was one of the greatest cities of India during the times, the Mahabharata was set in. Many famous incidents described in the epic have taken place in Hastinapur. The great ‘dice’ game that started the war took place in this city. Nowadays, like most cities of the time of the Mahabharata, this too has become a tourist attraction! The government takes great care and maintains certain important artifacts that get the tourists to flock to this place.
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Vrindavan is located at about 10 kilometers from Mathura. It is located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The name of the place is such because as per the legends Vrinda (the mother of Lord Krishna) observed a great penance to attain Krishna. Lord Krishna is even said to have played rasleela with the gopis at this place. Vrindavan is home to many temples that are grand in style and structure. A lot of devotees flock here to pay their respects to Lord Krishna. However, only two kinds of pujas or rituals are performed here; shringar (ornamentation) on Sharad Poornima and a maha aarti on Janmashtami. And these two pujas are a sight to behold for all Krishna devotees!
This list will give you an insight into the most popular cities from the Mahabharata and that they still exist today on the world’s map. So, have you added any of these on your next adventure travel list?