Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tracing the ancient roots of Mahabharata in space and time: Hastinapur, Part 2 (Jain Religion)

Taking further where I left the first part; The ASI carried out excavation work at Hastinapur in 1950s. The eminent Archaeologist B.B.Lal tried to find out the stratigraphic position of the “Painted Grey Ware” with reference to other known ceramic industries of the early historical period. B.B.Lal strongly believed that there must be a correlation between Mahabharata, the text, and the material remains that was excavated at Hastinapur. The excavation report was published in “Ancient India”, the annual journal of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1955.

** The Painted Grey Ware culture (PGW) was an ‘Iron Age’ culture of Gangetic plain, lasting from roughly 1200 BC to 600 BC. It is contemporary to, and a successor of the Black and red ware culture. It probably corresponds to the later Vedic period.

Around Vidur-Kutir
Caves inside the Pandeswar Temple is now fenced

They live behind the temple in a Ashram to perform daily rituals
After the archaeological excavations at ‘Vidura-ka-tila’, a collection of several mounds, in 1950-52, was concluded to be remains of the ancient city of Hastinapur, the capital of Kauravas and Pandavas of Mahabharata, which was washed away by Ganges floods.

This site is in the midst of forest
Kali statue near Pandeswar Temple
B.B. Lal associated Hastinapur, Mathura, Ahichatra, Kampilya, Barnawa, Kurukshetra and other sites with the PGW culture, the (post-) Mahabharata period and the Aryans in the 1950s. Furthermore, he pointed out that the Mahabharata mentions a flood and a layer of flooding debris was found in Hastinapur. However, he considered his theories to be provisional and based upon a limited body of evidence, and he later reconsidered his statements on the nature of this culture.

Few years later B.B.Lal himself admitted the failure of his theory. In his words; “I could no longer sustain the theory of the PGW having been a representative of the early Aryans in India. (The association of this Ware with the Mahabharata story was nevertheless sustainable since that event comes at a later stage in the sequence.) I had no qualms in abandoning my then-favorite theory.”

The detailed presentation can be found here:

Now there is another side of this story. Hastinapur at one time was the capital of Bharat-Varsha and a center place for political, cultural, and spiritual events some 86500 years back. There is enough documented support, besides excavation, to prove the historic importance of this place. ASI has done their job. The details can be found here, which was later denied and now nothing is going on.

Now, I would like to mention another interesting fact here; there is another Hastinapur in Argentina known as ‘city of wisdom’. The place has temples of Ganesh, Krishna, Surya, Narayana, Siva and Pandavas. The dozen Argentines who live there look after the gods and the place. The Argentines go there for wisdom. This is why the place is called as the City of Wisdom (ciudad de la sabiduria).

Each truth has its own version, and sometime for many the truth is where, their beliefs are. There are Ashrams in Hastinapur where priests are performing daily rituals with deep faith. Locals as well devotees from across the nation keep coming, though less in number. The sign board of UP state tourism also confirms this site to be of historic importance. However as a believer of our heritage I just want to keep traveling and sharing the fact that is coming my way and wish that they must be preserved for future generations.


It was a kind of de-tour from my main agenda but the importance is so immense that it need to be put in details. Hastinapur has two historical significant, one is related to Mahabharata and another is related to Jainism. This place is also known as ‘Kashi’ of Jain religion. My trip to Hastinapur was solely dedicated to trace the ancient marks of Mahabharata era. However this place is dominated by enormous temple complexes of Jain religion and I did visit these temples too to get the essence of Jainism which was relatively less known to me.

Jambudweep temple complex
View as seen from top floor of Sumeru Parvat
Kamal Temple
Ancient history and Ved-Purans state that this country has been named as ‘Bharat-Varsha’ on the name of the eldest son of Tirthankar Rishabhdev i.e the first Chakravarti (Monarch)-Emperor Bharat. Three out of 24 Tirthankars of Jainism i.e. 16th Tirthankar Shri Shantinath, 17th Tirthankar Shri Kunthunath and 18th Tirthankar Shri Arahnath were born at Hastinapur.

Sumeru Parvat Complex
To Sumeru Parvat
Top view from Sumeru Parvat
Sumeru Parvat distant view
The main attraction of Hastinapur is ‘Jambu Dweep’ with ‘Sumeru Parvat’, ‘Teen lok rachna’, ‘Meditation Temple’ and ‘Kamal Temple’ in its premises. According to Jain and Vedic scriptures the Sumeru Parvat (101 ft. high) is considered as the most scared and the highest mountain in the whole universe.

Inside Meditation Temple
Terahdweep Jinalaya is the prominent centre of attraction of Jambudweep. It represents the whole universe with 13 dweeps of Madhyalok (Middle Universe), 458 golden natural temples, 5 golden merus, 170 Samavsarans, various dev-bhavans, ocean, rivers, mountains, bhogbhumis etc. Due to reflection it was very difficult to click the image of this beautiful structure which is first of its kind in the world.

“Teen lok rachna” is another marvelous structure of Jambudweep campus. It consists Adholok (7 hells), Madhya lok (with island and oceans) and Urdhvalok (16 heavens). This lift-fitted building charges 10 Rs to its visitors.

Inside Teen Lok Rachna

Besides this I have also seen few other huge temples in the surrounding area but since I covered Jambudweep first and I was getting late for Mahabharata sites so I decide to call off till my next visit.

Jain Temple in Hastinapur
Another temple that I couldn't visit
Hastinapur Wild Life Santuary at the one side of the Jambudweep
Tip: Jambudweep have excellent residential facilities for pilgrims. Besides there are numbers of Dharamshala in close vicinity. Surrounded by thick forest it is a perfect week-end gateway or can be covered in a day tour if reached early.


  1. Very rich display of experience, well managed with high quality images.......thnx for taking pain and sharing it........