Uttarakhand’s Connection to the Great Epic Mahabharata
How is Uttarakhand Connected to Mahabharata?
Mahabharata is a great Indian epic, and it comprises 100,000 Shlokas (couplets). The epic was composed by sage Veda Vyas and written by Lord Ganesha.
It is a story written in the form of a long poem and describes the great war between Kauravas and Pandavas for the kingdom of Hastinapur.
Mahabharata conveys several other messages. It describes the significance of being a good human, the importance of religious devotion, the substantiality of Vedic rituals, the value of honesty etc.,
Mahabharata also describes various places as sacred as far as Hinduism is concerned.
You might not know that the North Indian state of Uttarakhand shares a special connection to the Indian Epic Mahabharata.
There are many places where events from this epic took place, which has been immortalized in the Mahabharata.
Uttarakhand is set to become the first Indian state to showcase its links with Mahabharat, and the state is working to incorporate the ancient epic into its tourism sector.
What is the Mahabharata Circuit?
The Mahabharat Circuit spans 250-300 kilometres from Mana Village near Badrinath to Dodital and covers all the places in Uttarakhand that have a connection to Mahabharata.
While some of these places bore witness to the events of the epic itself, others are places where the characters of the epic are worshipped for their virtues.
What places are covered in the Mahabharata Circuit?
The Mahabharat circuit includes the following places:
- Mana Village
- Pandukeshwar Temple
The Mahabharata Circuit will focus on giving tourists a chance to explore the numerous sites in Uttarakhand that are connected to this holy epic.
The tourists or spiritual seekers will be able to experience the stories of the great epic with their own eyes as they visit different locations on this route.
Badrinath is home to one of the most important temples in Hinduism and part of the famous Char Dham yatra.
It is also where the composer of the epic, sage Veda Vyasa, resided. Near the Badrinath temple is the Vyas Gufa (cave), where the sage and Lord Ganesha composed and wrote the epic.
Mana, popularly known as the last Indian Village, is at a distance of 4.4 km from Badrinath. This village is believed to be the place from where Pandavas started their journey to the heavens.
On their way, the second born of the Pandavas, Bheem, had to create a bridge across the Saraswati River with a huge rock.
Being part of India’s rich heritage, the Bheema bridge marks its significance to this day, standing tall.
Pandukeshwar is said to be the place where King Pandu performed penance after unwittingly killing a sage and his wife, who were making love in the form of deers.
Upon willingly renouncing the throne, Emperor Pandu is said to have lived in Pandukeshwar in Uttarakhand along with his wives: Kunti and Madri.
Also, this is the place where the Pandavas were born.
Lakhamandal is situated about 110 KM from Dehradun and is well known for several shivlings discovered during excavations.
Apart from being protected by the archaeological survey of India, the Lakhamandal Temple bears witness to the sinister plot of the Kauravas, where they planned to burn the Pandavas in a house made of wax and animal fat (lac).
However, as we know, the Pandavas escaped unscathed through a cave.
Read: Lakhamandal Temple: A Place Of Nature, Spirituality, And Mythology.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, near Chakrata and Dehradun, Hanol is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Uttarakhand.
The architecture of Hanol Temple, the sculptures and stories related to Pandavas make it a perfect destination for heritage buffs.
According to the Uttarakhand Tourism website, Pandavas crossed the Tons River searching for Lord Krishna, as he disappeared after the end of Dwapar Yuga. Upon reaching Hanol, Dharamraj Yudhistara was impressed by the beauty of the place and requested Lord Viswakarma to build a temple.
Amongst Tons valley’s best-renowned destinations is Netwar. This quaint village is one of few places with a temple of Karna, one of the most formidable warriors in the Kurukshetra war.
After their great victory in Kurukshetra, the Pandavas visited the magnificent Dodital (Uttarkashi district) on their way to heaven.
Thus, this place not only adds to the mesmerizing beauty but has colossal importance attached to the epic Mahabharata.
Hanuman Chatti is located 13 kilometres before Yamunotri temple and marks the Sangam (convergence) of the Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
According to the Mahabharata, Hanuman Chatti is where Bheem met his elder brother, Lord Hanuman.
As Draupadi saw a Brahma Kamal floating in the river, she urged Bheem to get her more.
As Bheem enters the forest, he witnesses an old monkey lying and his tail obstructing the path. As Bheem urges the monkey to clear the way, the monkey citing his old age, tells Bheem he cannot do so and asks him to remove the tail.
No matter how much Bheem tries, he cannot move the tail, thus realizing that the monkey is not ordinary. Bheem then urges the monkey to reveal its true nature.
The monkey was, in fact, Lord Hanuman himself.
Pilgrims are customary to take a holy dip in the pool adjacent to Hanumanchatti temple before moving towards Badrinath.
Panch Kedar Temples
The Panch Kedar temples in Uttarakhand, India, are a series of five abodes of Lord Shiva: Kedarnath – Tungnath – Rudranath – Madhyamaheswar – Kalpeshwar. Each of the temples is located at high altitudes in the Himalayas.
The significance of these temples is that they are supposed to have been built by Pandavas while searching for lord shiva to seek his forgiveness for causing a massacre in the epic war.
Read: Panch Kedar: 5 Temples You Will Regret Not Visiting In Uttarakhand
Why Should You Visit the Mahabharat Circuit?
As is evident from the places described, Uttarakhand has a long association with Mahabharata. The historical importance of these places, along with their proximity to mountains, is ideal for religious and spiritual people and tourists and adventurers.
With this circuit, tourists can get a glimpse of the surreal world of Mahabharata unfold before them and imagine what life was like all those years ago when events described in the mythological texts took place.