Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 03 Oct 2010 18:20 and updated at 05 Oct 2010 06:29
Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 03 Oct 2010 18:20
This article describes the journey of the Pandavas and Kauravas from Hastinapura to Pramanakoti as part of a pleasure trip. This article is part of a series of articles related to narrations of journeys mentioned in Mahabharata. These travel narratives are extremely important for researchers who study about the ancient geography that existed during the period of Mahabharata.
Pleasure trip to Pramanakoti
We have the following passage at Mbh.1.128 about a palace-house named water-sport-house built by Duryodhana at Pramanakoti:-
At a beautiful place called Pramanakoti on the banks of the Ganga, he built a palace decorated with hangings of broad-cloth and other rich stuffs. And he built this palace for sporting in the water there, and filled it with all kinds of entertaining things and choice viands. Gay flags waved on the top of this mansion. The name of the house was the water-sport house'. Skilful cooks prepared various kinds of viands. When all was ready, the officers gave intimation to Duryodhana. Then the evil-minded prince said unto the Pandavas, Let us all go to the banks of the Ganga graced with trees and crowned with flowers and sport there in the water' And upon Yudhishthira agreeing to this, the sons of Dhritarashtra, taking the Pandavas with them, mounted country-born elephants of great size and cars resembling towns, and left the metropolis. On arriving at the place, the princes dismissed their attendants, and surveying the beauty of the gardens and the groves, entered the palace, like lions entering their mountain caves. On entering they saw that the architects had handsomely plastered the walls and the ceilings and that painters had painted them beautifully. The windows looked very graceful, and the artificial fountains were splendid. Here and there were tanks of pellucid water in which bloomed forests of lotuses. The banks were decked with various flowers whose fragrance filled the atmosphere. The Kauravas and the Pandavas sat down and began to enjoy the things provided for them.
|Pandavas and Kauravas drove from Hastinapura to Pramanakoti in swift chariots
Bhima's visit to the Naga Kingdom
While sporting at the palace of Pramanakoti, Duryodhana tactfully became close with Bhima and gave him poisoned food. He tied Bhima who soon fell unconscious and threw him into river Ganga. He was rescued by the Nagas who lived in the vicinity of Pramanakoti. They took him to an old Naga chief named Aryaka. He was the great grandfather of Kunti (the mother of the Pandavas). Under the guidance of Aryaka, Bhima was cured of poison. Nagas were experts in curing all kinds of poisons. They also give him potions (eight jars of rasakunda nectar) that not only made him fully recover but also made his body very strong.
The narration in Mahabharata here contains many mythological embellishments, with the usual description of the Nagas as real snakes rather than snake-worshiping humans. However it says:- The insensible son of Pandu sank down till he reached the Naga kingdom. The Naga kingdom mentioned here is the territories around what is now known as Nagal. Nagal is a corruption of Nagalaya, which means the abode of the Nagas. These Naga territory extended from the east of Ganga upto Himalayas including Nagal, Nagina and the Nagasata mountains. It was probably ruled by Naga king Vasuki or Aryaka or their descendants. Their former territory seems to extend southwards to include Ahichatra (Ahi-Kshetra or the land of the Nagas) and Hastinapura (formerly known as Naga-Pura). Ahichatra was later taken over by the Panchalas and the Nagapura became the Hastinapura of the Kurus. Coincidently Arjuna's Naga wife named Ulupi was from this same Naga territories.
After eight days of rest and treatments and after eating the paramanna rice and sugar pudding offered to him by the Nagas, Bhima left the territories of the Nagas and reached back to Hastinapura, decked in white robes, white garlands and precious ornaments gifted to him by the Nagas (Mbh.1.129).