One of the oldest epics of ancient India is the Mahabharata which narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War that took place around somewhere in 8th or 9th century. It also narrates the fates of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes. Written by Vyasa, it is the longest epic known and is described as "the longest poem ever written” with over a million slokas (a couplet of Sanskrit verse) and over two million words in total. Hastinapur plays a pivotal role in this epic and it has been described as the capital of the Kuru Kingdom and the epic was based in the city of Hastinapur itself.
Situated on the bank of an old bed of the Ganga River and today’s Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh, here hundred Kaurava brothers were born here to their mother, Queen Gandhari. The history of Hastinapur dates back to 268 to 232 BCE when emperor Asoka the Great of the Mauryan Empire built many temples here during his reign, though the temples did not last long as they should. An excavation carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India correlated between the texts and events of the Mahabharata and the material remains that were uncovered at Hastinapur.
Though the pre-history of Hastinapur is still not clear, more extensive excavation was not possible in such an inhabited area so not much information could be collected. Then during the medieval era, Hastinapur was attacked by Mughal ruler Babur when invading Hindustan and during British Rule, Hastinapur was ruled by the Raja Nain Singh Nagar. Then after Independence, Hastinapur was developed to be a tourist spot and the major tourist attractions here is the Hastinapur National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary, Ashtapad which is situated on a high mountain hill where it is believed that Bhagwan Rishabhdev here attained his salvation. Also, it is believed that Maharaja Bharat Chakravarti built a palace on the spot in the Ashtapad mountains and decorated it with diamonds.
Besides these, various cultural and religious fairs are held here around the year, like Das Lakshana, Akshaya Tritiya, Holi Mela, Kartik Mela, and Durga Puja are among the programs which are organized by NGOs and the tourism department of Hastinapur round the year. Also, the Jambudweep Jain Tirth and Bada Digambar Jain Mandir are among the most visited temples visited by tourists during their visit to Hastinapur.
SUGGESTED THINGS TO DO IN HASTINAPUR
Hastinapur is a city surrounded all with temples and a few scenic sights and a wildlife sanctuary. So, to get the most out of your holiday, here is a list of the places that you must visit during your stay.
• Shri Kailash Parvat Digambar Jain Temple
• Shri Digambar Jain Prachin Bada Mandir
• Jambudweep which is a temple built under Gyanmati Mataji in 1972. The official name of this place is the Digambar Jain Institute of Cosmographic Research and the main attraction here is the building constructed which represents a model of Jambudweep.
• Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is also a must watch place if you’re tired of visiting temples and need a break to capture those scenic shots and the exotic animals in this sanctuary.