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Indraprastha: The Great City in Mahabharata

To anyone who has read or seen the great epic of Mahabharata, the story of Indraprastha is one that is difficult to forget. Let's dwell on the fascinating lore behind the city.

Known to rival heaven itself in beauty & opulence, Indraprastha played a crucial role in Mahabharata. While we know little about what happened to the city after the war, the great epic details the establishment of the legendary city of Indraprastha.

Indraprastha Origins: Khandavprastha

After the incidents at Lakshagraha, the Pandavas went into hiding. They were considered dead by the world but, this ordeal ended after Draupadi’s marriage when they revealed themselves. Once the Pandavas, now married, reached Hastinapur, their assassination plot was unearthed. It was clear to Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, and others that a conflict was inevitable. The only way to avoid conflict within the Kuru Dynasty was to divide the kingdom between the Kauravas & Pandavas. Initially, Bhishma wanted a more equal division between the two parties. However, seeing as that would still leave room for animosity, Yudhishthir took the barren and uninhabited forests of Khandavprastha as his domain. It was this land where Indraprastha would be built.

The forest was home to the Nagas, who had received protection from God Indra, Arjun’s father. Indra had not only vowed to protect the Nagas but also made it such that the surrounding land would not receive any rain and remain barren so that no humans settle there. The Nagas also hosted Mayasur, a powerful Asur, thus adding to their strength. As the Pandavas and their followers reached the edge of the Khandavprastha forest, the Nagas grew to vary of the human settlers and attacked them. To protect their people, the Pandavas were forced to battle with Takshaka, the king of the Nagas. This caused Indra to enter the battle against his son, Arjun.

The fight with Indra

Arjun was a great warrior and gave Indra a tough fight. The two warriors fought for days, their battle made both gods and mortals tremble in fear. As Indra was about to use his divine weapon, Krishna intervened and finally ended the fight. The Pandavas assured Indra that their kingdom would honor the rights of all their citizens, be it human or nagas. This led Indra to finally stop the battle. He removed his curse from the barren lands and the Pandavas named the city in his honor, thus the city Indraprastha, the city of Indra.

Indraprastha: Creation & Maya

Mayasur, who was previously under the protection of Takshaka, now wanted the same from Pandavas. He offered to use his powers to create a city for the Pandavas. A city so mighty and beautiful that even heaven would pale in comparison. It is here that we see the design philosophy that drives us. Maya built the city, not with past protocol but with art, beauty, and keeping in mind the needs of the people. The city grew to be the envy of every king in Bharata and was a testament to endurance, skill, and tenacity.

The search for Indraprastha.

Indraprastha is mentioned in several texts of ancient India, but the location of the city is unknown. While many believe that the city existed in Delhi and point to the excavations near the Purana Killa. However, this can not been proved conclusively and search is still on-going. You can read more about that here.

It is this tale of survival, design and empathy that drives every design at Indraprastha Design Co. Check out our services here.

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