Nestled along the Ganges river in present day Uttar Pradesh, India, is the sacred city of Hastinapur. The capital of the Kuru Kingdom, Hastinapur is where the most crucial moments of the Mahabharata were played out. It was the battle for this holy ground that drove the main narrative of the epic poem.
There are several reasons why Hastinapur will remain a prominent name in Indian mythology. In the Mahabharata, Hastinapur was described as a grand city, with several palaces, lakes, hills and woods. This is where the 100 Kaurava brothers were born to blind King Dhritarashtra and his queen, Gandhari. This was the city where the Pandavas and Kauravas grew up together and received their education.
Dhritarashtra took over the reins after his older brother Pandu went into exile. While these two brothers simply wished to rule Hastinapur peacefully, Dhritarashtra’s sons wished to possess it, and this formed the crux of the conflict in the Mahabharata.
Hastinapur became a bone of contention between the Kauravas and the Pandavas largely because of Dhritarashtra’s eldest son, Duryodhana. Fuelled by his jealousy over the Pandavas’ superiority compared to the Kaurava brothers, Duryodhana attempted to kill his cousins in a fire and forcefully took over the reins. He refused to give up the throne when the Pandavas survived the attempt on their life and came back to take what was rightfully theirs.
Hastinapur is the place where a naive Yudhishthira lost the game of dice to his cousin Duryodhana, which led to the Pandavas’ 13-year exile. It is the place where a heroic Draupadi found courage to speak up when she was humiliated after Yudhishthira’s defeat in Duryodhana’s palace.
The city witnessed the best and worst of humanity and still survived thanks to the resilience of its rightful rulers, the Pandavas. Hastinapur became a battleground for good and evil and serves as a constant reminder that those who are virtuous always win, eventually