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Story of Hastinapur in the Mahabharata

Hastinapur (also mentioned as Hastinapura) in the Mahabharata is the capital of the Kurus. The city is first mentioned in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata. The important events in the Mahabharat took place in the city and power struggle for its throne is the main theme. The city was situated on an old bed of Ganga River known as Budhi Ganga.

Name Hastinapur

The popular belief is that the name Hastinapur might have come from Hastin, a little-known ancestor of the Pandavas.

Some scholars are of the view that Hastin is another name for Puru.

The meaning Hastinapur translates as the city of elephants. It is widely believed that wild elephants roamed in the region (present Punjab – Haryana states in India). Perhaps the name indicates this wildlife phenomenon.


A constant and recurring theme in the Mahabharata is the claim to the throne of Hastinapur. This is seen even before the arrival of the Pandavas and Kauravas. Several kings in the lineage faced this dilemma. Ability or bloodline, which should be given importance, is a question that many in the Kuru clan faced.

As per Jain religion history, Hastinapur was a city built by the gods and three of the Tirthankars – Shantinath, Kunthunath, and Aranath – were born in the city.

The town was not continuously occupied. There are periods in history when there is no mention of the city.

A major archeological find from the region was the recovery of painted grey pottery, which belonged to 1100-800 BC. But as the area is densely populated further excavation was not possible.



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