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Parikshita

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Parikshita (परीक्षित) is the successor of Yudhisthira to the throne of Hastinapura. He was also referred to as the King of the Kurus. Parikshita is the son of Uttara, the Matsya princess and Abhimanyu, the Vrishni son of Arjuna. He is born only after the end of the war.

Variants

In Mahabharata

Uttara is carrying their son in her womb when Abhimanyu is mercilessly and unfairly slain by the Kauravas. Later, Ashwatthama attempts to kill the unborn child and his mother by directing the brahmastra towards her tent off the battlefields. She is saved by Lord Krishna, who was also the maternal uncle Abhimanyu (Arjuna's wife Subhadra was the sister of Lord Krishna and mother of Abhimanyu.)

Upon the commencement of the Kali yuga, the dark age of sin, and the departure of Krishna Avatara from the world, the five Pandava brothers retire. Young Parikshita is duly invested as king, with Kripa as his counselor. He performed three Aswamedha Yajnas under the guidance of Kripa.

Parikshit had married Madravati, the mother of Janamejaya. Parikshita was cursed by a sage's son to die after snake bite. On hearing this, the king forswore the throne for his son Janamejaya and spent his last days listening to the discourses of Sage Sukadeva on Bhagwat. As prophecised, Naga (Snake) king Takshaka bit Parikshita leading to his death.

Excavation at Hastinapur, Kurukshetra and Surrounding sites

Hastinapur and Surroundings: Excavations were conducted at Hastinapur (29°9'; 78°3', Dt Meerut ,Uttar Pradesh ) in 1950-52 by B.B.Lal on behalf of the ASI. Hastinapur, which is located between Meerut and Mawana in Uttar Pradesh is now a forgotten village, but the 1952 excavations revealed a few interesting discoveries which are highly debatable as whether they can be really correlated with the Mahabharata period.

After the archaeological excavations at ‘Vidura-ka-tila’, a collection of several mounds ,some being 50 to 60 feet high and extending a few furlongs, named after Vidura, a site 37 km (23 miles) north-east of Meerut, it 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. In the archaeological excavations around hastinapur, about 135 iron objects which included arrow and spearheads, shafts, tongs, hooks, axes, and knives were found, which indicate the existence of a vigorous iron industry. There are indications of brick – lined roads and drainage systems, and an agro – livestock based economy. The painted grey ware (PGW) of Hastinapura has been assigned to 2800 BCE and beyond.

Further excavations at what is today referred to as Draupadi–ki–rasoi (Draupadi’s Kitchen) and Draupadi Ghat resulted in the finding of copper utensils, iron seals, Ornaments made of gold and silver, terracotta discs and several oblong shaped ivory dice used in the game of chauper, all dating to around 3000 BC. These places are visited frequently by tourists since the excavations.

Kota venkatachalam assigns 3138 B.c., as the year of Mahabharata War according to the calculations based on the movement of saptarishi mandala given in the text of Mahabharata Later, according to the Matsya and vayu puranas a heavy flood on the river Ganga destroyed Hastinapura and Nichakshu, the fifth king after Parikshit (Arjuna’s grand son) who ascended the throne after Kurukshetra war, shifted his capital to Kausambi, 50 kms from prayagraj. There is definite archaeological evidence of a massive flood level. The devastation by the Ganga is still visible in the thick clay soil. After the exile, the pandavas asked for three villages: Paniprastha, Sonaprastha and Indraprastha, generally identified with the modern panipat, Sonepat and Purana Kila in New Delhi. These sites have also yielded the same pottery and anti Quities. Building structures with drainage sytems and painted grey ware (PGW) were excavated at purana Qila.

Kurukshetra and Surroundings: Kurukshetra, now in Haryana, was the site kurukshtra war. Excavations here now yielded iron arrow and spearheads dated by Thermoluminence Test (TM) to 3100 B.C. (CIRCA). The Mahabharata mentions many small villages, tanks and hills, which are still identifiable. What is the historicity of the Mahabharata? Our doubting historians will never accept any of these finds unless they are supported by inscriptions, which will never be forthcoming as the earliest inscriptions belong to 300B.C.

Reference: Dwarka to Kurushetra. Dr. S. R. Rao. Journal of Marine Archaeology (1995-96).

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References


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