Once, Duryodhana asked his father Dhritrashtra to send the new yuvraj to Varnavat for yearly festival. Dhritrashtra could not refuse Duryodhana and he requested eldest pandava to visit the Varnavat as his representative.
All five pandavas alongwith their mother Kunti reached Varnavat. Meanwhile Duryodhana sent Purochana to build a palace which was highly inflammable which was aptly named as Lakshagriha. The palace was ready in time and pandavas stayed in the same palace.
However, the wise Vidura had sensed something wrong, so he enquired and sent a digger to dig a secret tunnel from Lakshagriha to a river. The tunnel digger reached pandavas and offered to dig a tunnel for pandavas. Thus secretly, the work to save pandavas begun in the house of Lakshagriha.
After the work of tunnel digging was complete, pandavas were looking to find an appropriate day to make their next move. The tunnel has been made carefully and Purochana was not aware that a tunnel exists at Lakshagriha.
Pandavas invited the people for a feast. The feast was grand and everyone enjoyed them. After the feast everyone left and purochana was also sleeping. Seeing an opportune moment, pandavas set the palace of lac on fire. Then they used the tunnel dug earlier to escape from the burning palace. Bhima carried his mother and all his brothers through the tunnel. Purochana, became a victime of his own design and was burnt while sleeping.
On that fateful day, a bhil woman with her five sons also came to the banquet and somehow they also became the victim of the fire.
Thus, by the foresight of Vidura, pandavas escaped from the ill will of Duryodhana and Shakuni. When they reached the end of the tunnel, a boat was waiting for them at the banks of river ganges, thus completing the escape of Pandavas.
Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur was also blind in for the love of his son Duryodhana. This is the incident from Mahabharata just after the Draupadi swayamvara. In this event, Duryodhana and all kauravas brother participated. Pandavas were not to be part of the swayamvara, as they were supposedly killed by fire in lakshagriha.
Pandavas escape from Lakshagriha
As per the designs of Duryodhana, Pandavas were subjected to extreme fire in Lakshagriha. At the last minute, Pandavas escaped, thanks to the foresight of Vidura, who could see through the evil designs of Duryodhana and Shakuni.
Vidura sent a tunnel digger and he worked tirelessly to create an escape route which connected to the river with the palace where Pandavas were staying alongwith their mother, Kunti. Also, Vidura made adequate arrangements and a boat was available, which took Pandavas to safety.
Swayamvara of Draupadi
When Drupad announced Draupadi’s swayamwar, Pandavas participated as Brahmins. All princes including Sisupala, Jarasandha, Salya, and Duryodhana have tried the competition, but they could not pierce the mark.
Karna successfully strung the bow, and when he was about to shoot the mark, Draupadi announced that she would not be married to a suta. Thus Karna, being the eldest of Pandavas, and equitable to the skills of Arjuna, had to resign.
Then Arjuna, taking permission from Dhristadyumnya, clad as a brahmin, tried his skills. Very serenely, he strung the bow, loaded the arrow and as others watched, drew the cord, and the arrow flew upwards with a hissing sound; it hit the target eye, and the golden fish fell over and clashed upon the ground.
There was a fight after the swayamvara and thanks to Bhima, Arjuna could take the bride home. It is a different matter that his bride was shared by all pandavas.
Dhritrashtra and Vidura
Soon, details of above events reached Hastinapura and Vidura, duly reported this to Dhritrashtra. He said: “O King, our family has become stronger because the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. We are lucky.” Dhritarashtra, blind for his son, immediately thought that Duryodhana had won the hand of Draupadi and was ecstatic.
He replied – to go and make grand preparations for welcome of Draupadi. At this point of time, Vidura interjected and broke the surprises to Dhritarashtra.
The two surprises of Dhritarashtra
1. Pandavas are not dead and they also have participated in the swayamwara.
2. It was Arjuna, and not Duryodhana, who won the hand of Draupadi.
Thus, Dhritarashtra, who was thinking that his son had married the daughter of Drupad, was deeply shaken that it was Pandavas, who not only survived but excelled where Duryodhana failed.
Shri Krishna – Friend, philosopher and guide of Pandavas
Shri Krishna saved Pandavas on numerous occasions. Pandavas could not have survived the various designs of Shakuni and Duryodhana, if Shri Krishna would not have been around. Here are some of the facts.
Saving Pandavas from Sage Durvasa
Sage Durvasa has been famous for his ill tempered and curses. Once Duryodhana served him well and pleased, he asked him for a boon. Duryodhana cleverly asked him to pay a visit to Pandavas at afternoon. He knew that Pandavas would not be able to serve him at that time of the day and this will bring wrath of the sage on Pandavas.
Durvasa complied and duly paid a visit to Pandavas alongwith his disciples. This incident put pandavas in a fix as Draupadi had eaten from the akshaypatra and no more food could be taken from it.
In this precarious situation, Lord Krishna came to the rescue. He appeared at Pandava’s abode and asked Draupadi for food. Draupadi meekly replied – Lord, there is no food and we are helpless as we cannot service sage Durvasa.
The lord smiled and said – Dear Draupadi, please give me that one grain of rice which is still lying in the akshaypatra. Draupadi offered that to lord and immediately Lord’s hunger was satiated.
Surprisingly, Sage Durvasa and his troops also felt the same and they have to discreetly go away from that place as they were invited by Pandavas.
Saving Arjuna from Shakti
After Karna gave his kavach and kundal to Lord Indra, he was granted the Shakti weapon which was infallible, but could be used just once. Karna saved it use on Arjuna and Krishna knew that he had to do something about it.
He summoned Ghatotkacha and soon, the mighty son of Bhima caused havoc on Kauravas army. Out of desperation Duryodhana requested to use the weapon on Ghatotkacha or all of them would die. Karna used it on Ghatotkacha and knew that he had just blew the chance of killing Arjuna.
Saving Bhima from Dhritrashtra
After the war of Mahabharata was completed, all Pandavas went to meet Dhritrashtra. When Bhima started to go to Dhritrashtra to pay his respects, Shri Krishna put him aside and instead presented the iron statue of Bhima which was used by Duryodhana to practice.
Dhritrashtra, understanding that he was meeting Bhima, crushed his statue. Thus using his presence of mind, Lord saved Bhima from certain death.
Karna, Arjuna and Nagastra
Apart from Shakti, there was Nagastra with Karna which could potentially kill Arjuna. When Karna shot Nagastra on Arjuna, Krishna applied pressure to the chariot by his foot and thus sunk it, as a result of which the astra missed Arjuna’s head and hit his crown instead.
Just prior to Mahabharta war, Gandhari asked Duryodhana to appear before her without clothes. This would have made Duryodhana’s body as hard as a rock, so no person could kill him. When Lord came to know about this, he approached Duryodhana and said that how he would look naked before her mother as he is no longer a kid.
Convinced of this, Duryodhana, decided to use a loincloth. When Gandhari removed her blindfold, she shook her head in disbelief. But the die had been cast. Duryodhana’s body became a rock wherever Gandhari’s gaze fell. The part hidden by loincloth remained weak and Bhima used this weakness to kill Duryodhana.
Jarasandha was a powerful king of Magadh and his death was important for Pandavas. Shri Krishna challenged him for a fight and Jarasandha chose Bhima for the duel. He played an instrumental role in Jarasandha’s death. He gives the vital secret to Bhima by pulling apart a straw and throwing it opposite directions thus indicating the way of killing Jarasandha. Bhima obliged and a great threat to Pandavas was neutralized.
After Yudhishthira lost his kingdom, his brothers and wife to Duryodhana. Duryodhana asked Dushashana to bring Draupadi to royal court and disrobe her. Draupadi frantically pleaded, but no avail. Lord came to her rescue and when Dushshana started to pull her sari, that sari never ended. An exhausted Dushashana slumped to the floor and Draupadi’s pride could be saved by Lord.
Following is depiction of this unhonourable incident by Madhubani painting.
One of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to the Lord Shiva and is located on the near Mandakini river. Here, Shiva lingam is pyramid shaped and hence is unique among Shiva temples. Pandavas are believed to have built this temple.
Due to harsh weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshay tritya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November) every year. During winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months.
Kedarnath is located on a ridge which juts out at right angles from below the 23000 feet high snowy peak of Mahapanth. Kedarnath is located on the Rudra Himalaya range. The Rudra Himalaya range is also known as the Pancha Parvata; its five peaks are Rudra Himalaya, Vishnupuri, Bhramapuri, Udgari-Kanth and Swargarohini. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on the last of these peaks.
Legend behind Kedarnath Jyotirlinga
Two incarnations of Lord Vishnu by the names of Nara and Vishnu did penance at Badrikasharama. Both of them used to worship the idol of Shiva daily. Lord Shiva used to arrive in his subtle form and accept their offerings without being noticed by them.
One day Lord Shiva appeared before them. Nara and Narayana eulogized him and requested to remain at that place forever. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself as ‘Kedareshwar jyotirlinga’.
There is another legend related to Pandavas. After the culmination of Mahabharata war, Pandavas wanted to be absolved of their sins which was due to killing of their own relatives in the war of Mahabharata.
Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas and Draupadi , accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas in search of Lord Shiva .
Meanwhile at Kedarnath a very healthy and good looking bull joined them. Shiva has taken the form of the bull, as he was unhappy with the Pandavas for their deceit during the war, and hence loathe to give them darshan.
The Pandavas sort of had the gut feeling that the buffalo was Shiva in disguise. Bhima as usual jumped the gun and tried to catch the buffalo by its tail. Lord Shiva just disappeared into the ground.
Then Bhima went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not catch it. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar, a hump above the ground as a Lingam, and a blazing fiery column of light sprouted. This is why only the Kedarnath Shiva Lingam is a sort of a hump.
The face of the buffalo is Doleshwar Mahadev located in Sipatol, Bhaktapur, Nepal.
It is also believed that Arjuna, one of the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva to attain the divine weapon, Pashupatastra.
Some important and famous places close to Kedarnath mandir
Badrinath – Badrinath which is near the Kedarnath is also a significant pilgrimage spot for the devotees of Lord shiva. The Neelkant peak behind the Badrinath temple is an abode of Lord shiva – like how the Mount Kailash is. It is called Indra Neel Parvat.
Gaurikund – Base for a trek to Kedarnath & serves as a roadhead, the village has hot springs & a temple dedicated to Gauri.
Gandhi Sarovar – A small lake from where Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas, is said to have departed to heaven. A km trek from Kedarnath, floating ice on the crystal clear waters.
Vasuki Tal – 6 km. At 4135 mtr. above sea level, this lake is extraordinary, surrounded by high mountains and offering an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peaks.
Gauri Kund – 15 km. The trekking base to Kedarnath and the road head, this village has a temple dedicated to Gauri and also thermal springs of medicinal value.
Gupt Kashi – 49 km. Famous for the temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanathji.
Ukhimath – 60 km. Winter home of Lord Kedarnath temple, and the seat of the Rawal of Kedarnath during winter months.
Agastmuni – 73 km., Has a temple dedicated to the sage Agastya.
How to reach
By Air : The nearest convenient Air port is Jolly grant at Dehradun (121 Kms).
By Road : Kedarnath is connected by road with Badrinath (242 KM), Dehradun (268 KM), Delhi (450 KM), Haridwar (250 KM), Kotdwar (256 KM), and Rishikesh (226 KM).
Unknown and untold incidents from Mahabharata Pandavas exile
Sri Krishna, Rama are the avatars of Vishnu and they have their distinct place among gods of mythology, but the epics Ramayana and Mahabharat gives us a chance to look at the characters of others gods of mythology from a human perpective. They are fallible, they have their weaknesses, but in the end, they overcome the obstacles.
Lord Krishna had played a vital role in shaping the fortunes of Pandavas. Following interesting incidents are taken from Mahabharata which are related to the period when Pandavs were exiled after their elder brother, Yudhishthira lost a game of chausar to Shakuni, Duryodhana’s uncle.
Pic – Indian gods of mythology
1. Bhima and python
One day while the pandavas were in exile, Bhima went in search of food for all of them. looking around in the forest, he saw a cave and entered it. A massive python was sitting near the entrance of the cave. When it saw Bhima, it attacked him and coiled itself round the body. Bhima was helpless and struggled hard to free himself from the python’s grip but his attempt to save himself seemed ineffective. Finally, he got tired and gave up.
Then he asked the python, “Who are you and why have you entangled me without any reason? I have not caused you any harm.” The python replied, “I am your ancestor. In my previous birth I had insulted a sage and was cursed to be a python now i will eat you if you will not answer my questions correctly.”
Meanwhile, back at their hut, rest of the Pandavas began to worry since Bhima had not returned and it was getting dark. Since Bhima was very strong and powerful, they had never imagined that any harm could come to him.
Anxious, they went out to search for him. On the way, they saw many dead animals and their anxiety grew. Finally they reached the mouth of the cave, they saw Bhima struggling to free himself from the python’s grip.
Yudhisthira, who was known to be very wise and answered all questions correctly and freed Bhima from his clutches. Even python was freed from his curse and he thanked Pandavas and ascended to heaven. Above is an interesting incident and not much is mentioned about this. This incident is similar to the Yaksha incident where Yamaraj took a examination of all Pandavas.
2. Pandavas saved Duryodhana
Duryodhana came to the forest where Pandavas were spending their years in exile. He put up his tent near the Pandava’s hut and made fun of them. One day Duryodhana and his companions went to lake for bathing. At that time, Chitrasen , the king of the gandharvas also came to the lake.
There was a fight between them. Chitrasen used his sammohanastra to make Duryodhan motionless and captured him. On hearing this, Yudhisthira sent Arjuna to rescue Duryodhan. Arjuna defeated Chitrasen’s soldiers and rescued Duryodhana. Duryodhana felt very humiliated because his most hated enemies , the Pandavas , saved his life. However, he owed his life to Pandavas and promised them to do whatever Pandavas asked. In the war of Mahabaharata, Arjuna used this opportunity and asked for five arrows of Bhishma which were intended to kill Pandavas.
3. Wise Yudhisthira and Yaksha
Once a strange incident occurred with pandavas. One day, a Brahmin came to them and said, ‘’I hang the sticks by which I produce fire for my yajnas on a tree. This morning a stag came and rubbed its horns against the tree. My sticks fell and got stuck in the stag’s horns and the stag ran away with them. I want you to get my sticks back.’’
The Pandavas agreed and went in search of stag. They found it but before they could shoot, it ran away. By now pandavas were very tired and thirsty. hey decided to rest in the shade of the tree. Nakula climbed up the tree to see if there was water around. He saw a pool of water. Yudhisthira asked him to bring water for all of them. Nakula went to the pool, but as he tried to take some water he heard a voice, ‘’This pool belongs to me. Before taking water you will have to answer my questions.’’ Nakula was very thirsty and ignored the warning and as soon as he touched the water he fainted.
After some time, Yudhisthir sent Sahdev to look for him Sahdev came to the pool and found Nakul unconscious. He decided to sprinkle some water on his face to awaken him. But as he tried to take water, he heard the same warning. He too ignored the warning and became unconscious. Then Arjuna came in search of his brothers. He reached the pool and was very angry to see the state of his brother. He too ignored the warning so fainted.
When Arjuna did not return Yudhisthira sent Bhima, who met with the same fate. Yudhisthira was getting worried, so went himself to look for his brothers. When he reached the pool he was very sad to see his brothers lying unconscious. He also tried to take some water from the pool and heard the same voice.
Yudhisthira said, ’’You seem to be a divine being . Please ask me the questions. I will try to answer them.’’ The strange voice asked many questions about religion and Yudhisthira answered them carefully and correctly. In the end voice said I am very pleased with your wisdom. I will bring any one of your brother back to his senses you can choose one of your brother.
Yudhisthira said we are sons of two mother Kundi and Madri. I am Kunti’s son so please bring one of Madri’s son back to his senses. Hearing this reply the voice said you have again pleased me with your impartial judgement. Suddenly, Yama the God of death appeared and brought all the four Pandavas back to their senses.
4. The magic bowl
During exile, one day. Sun god gave a bowl of plenty (Akshaypatra) and said, ‘’Give this to Draupadi. Once a day, she can take out as much food as she wants until she herself has eaten. Till then, this bowl will not run empty.
One day, sage Durvasa and his disciples were passing through the forest . they came to the hut and asked Dsraupadi fro some food. Draupadi had already eaten and she knew that the bowl would not yield any more food.
Draupadi did not want to turn away the holy sages without food and prayed to Krishna, who came and said “Give me some food.” Draupadi said, “This is no time for jokes, please help me feed the guests.” Krishna said, “That is why I asked for food.” One grain of rice was left in the bowl, which she gave to Krishna. Krishna was satisfied and surprisingly., the guests too were satisfied. They left without asking for food. Shri Krishna, among the hindu gods of mythology, have helped pandavas in every enterprise. Here , he treated Draupadi as his sister, how could he let her suffer?
5. Arjuna search
When Pandavas were in exile,sage Vyas told them, “After your exile, you will have a war with Kauravas. Arjuna should pray Shiva for divine weapons.” Arjuna went to mount Kailash and started worshiping Shiva.
Pleased, Shiva disguised himself as a hunter and came to test Arjuna. Just then a demon, Mooka, attacked Arjuna in form of wild boar. Arjuna shot an arrow and killed it, but he saw another arrow in the body of the boar. He said, ‘’who dare shoot my pray?’’. Shiva in the hunter form said,’’ I shot the arrow. This is my prey’’. A long fight followed between two and Arjuna became tired. He said, “I’ll fight after my prayers”.
Arjuna made a shivling and put a garland around it, but to his dismay, he found the garland around the hunter’s neck. he understood that the hunter was Shiva. Shiva came to his real form and gave him Pashupatastra. After this other gods also blessed Arjuna with many more divine weapons. Varuna , god of wind gave him varunapash; Yama, god of death gave him dandastra; Kuber gave him antardhyanastra; Indra gave him vajrastra. Here we see that various gods of mythology have helped Arjuna, which helped Pandavas. This teaches us that we should follow the advise of those who are respectful.
6. Arjuna and the Crocodile
During exile Arjun went to an ashram where the sages told him,’’There are five pools of water nere by, where we bathed. But now there is one crocodile in each. The crocodile eats whoever goes in the pools.’’ Arjuna has received a boon from Ulupi, the daughter of king of snakes, that no creature of water could defeat him. Arjuna fearlessly went to the pool and pulled the crocodile to the shore.Immediately it turned into a beautiful women and said,’’I am Varga, a fairy in Kuber’s court. One day along with four other fairies tried to disturb a sage who was meditating. He cursed us to become crocodiles. He said when a brave warrior will pulled us out of water, the curse would end. Thus all fairies were freed by Arjuna and they thanked him.
7 Arjuna and Angaparna
During exile, once pandavas were crossing the river, a warrior came riding in his chariot and shouted,’’ I am Angarparna, a heavenly being. This part of the forest belong to me. You can’t cross the river here.’’ Arjuna said, ‘’Sacred river Ganga is nobody’s property.’’ After this Arjuna and Angarparna had a great fight, and then Arjuna threw a burning torch on Angarparna’s chariot. Angarparna jumped out of his chariot and fainted. When he came to his senses he begged for forgiveness. He then presented Chakshushi, a divine sight by which pandavas could see any thing at any place at any time.