My reactions as I read epics: Mahabharata by Kamala Subramaniam and Samhita Arni, Vachana Bharata by Krishna Shastri.
As a friend said, it is a Aam Admi view of epics
Monday, 7 November 2011
Duryoadhana's embarassment. Draupadi is amused. Visiting Mahabharata 60
Samhita's version for its appealing directness.
Rajasuya concluded and the guests left, but Duryodhana stayed back at the invitation of his cousin. He is treated well and is taken round Indraprastha. He saw the marvellous palaces and the tributes received- gold,silver, precious stones, valuable furs, silk, muslin, carpets, embroidered shawls, enamel articles, horses, camels and elephants. He saw how devoted Yudhisthira's subjects were and the number of slaves he had. All this Duryodhana saw and nursed his envy and jealousy with care.
One day, he decided to explore the whole palace. He came to a corridor in front of which there was a pond. Duryodhana picked up the hem of his robes so that they wouldn't get wet. Then he stepped into the pond, only to find that it was a floor polished so smooth that it looked like water. He looked about hoping no one had seen his foolish mistake. But then saw Nakula at the door with a glint of laughter in his eyes.
Another time, he was walking down a corridor and banged his head in what seemed to be an empty space. Bheema happened to be passing by and told him that, in fact, it was a crystal door. He opened the door for Duryodhana and went on his errands. Bheema had done this with a serious face but even then Duryodhana felt that Bheema was secretly making fun of him.
Later Duryodhana wandered to another part of the palace. This area had wonderful carved wall and pillars inlaid with gems. While looking the carvings and pillars, Duryodhana accidentally stepped into a pond. He was thoroughly wet. Realising that somebody had watched this antic of his, he looked around. At a window, he saw Draupadi with her ladies-in-waiting. When he saw them, they ran back to their quarters, laughing. Every peal of laughter echoed in his mind. He vowed to see them duly punished and not rest until this was done.
Finally, his rage grew to such an extent, that he left Indraprastha and went back to Hastinapura.
Here is an artists impression of Indraprastha during Pandava times. Maya Sabha in the forefront.
As I thought about the Great Sabha built by Maya for Pandavas, I wondered about the oldest existing palace with Indian architecture. I discovered that Man Mandir palace is probably the oldest. According to architects many of our Palaces mentioned in literature existed but have been cannibalised to build new ones.
The Man Mandir Palace is a testimony to the Rajput culture way back in the medieval era. The Jauhar pond that once sparkled like a jewel in a brass setting served as the burning grounds for the Rajput queens who would commit mass sati here after their kings had been vanquished in battle. Although it has been supposed that the palace was constructed during the 15th century, some regions date further back to the ancient era namely 425 AD
Although the palace does not retain its former glory, traces of its grandiose past can still be found. The tiles that were once used to embellish the exteriors are no longer there. The palace walls also portray a spectacular frieze of ducks wading in the waters. The palace rooms are bare and devoid of their glory and bears testimony to the ravages of time. The large rooms that once functioned as music halls for the womenfolk of the royal family stand in a dilapidated condition today. The palace also houses an underground dungeon where prisoners would be held captive during the Mughal era. The dungeons recount a grisly history. In fact, it was here that the former Mughal emperor Aurangzeb has his sibling Murad incarcerated and executed.