Building the Mahabharat Circuit
BY: STAFF CORRESPONDENT
Abhimanyu Hunting in the Forest, from Mahabharata
Jan 25, NEW DELHI (THE HINDU) Mahabharat Circuit will trace the remains of the Mahabharat period, be of special interest to those attracted worldwide by ISKCON.
Work on the development of the ambitious Mahabharat Circuit in western Uttar Pradesh, which is expected to give a major boost to tourism, will start soon with the Centre deciding to release Rs 8 crores for the purpose in the beginning of the coming financial year.
"The circuit encompassing places associated with Mahabharat including Baghpat, Hastinapur and Parikshitgarh in Meerut district, Shukratal in Muzaffarnagar district and Garhmukteshwar in Ghaziabad district has a great potential to attract tourists from all over the world," state Tourism Minister Hameed said.
Mr Hameed said the Mahabharat Circuit would be of special interest to foreigners because of the great popularity of the Krishna cult due to the works by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), especially in the West and United States of America. "The urge to know about Mahabharat period and characters would bring them here."
He said he has prepared an Action Plan to trace the remains of the Mahabharat period and develop places mentioned in the immortal epic written by Rishi Ved Vyas. At present excavations are being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India in the Baghpat district, which is believed to house the five villages, including Barnawa of today, demanded by Pandavas from Kaurava king Dhritrashtra.
Baghpat is 36 km from Delhi and situated on the Delhi-Saharanpur Road.
A cave (said to have been used by Pandavas to escape the attack) has already been excavated in the Meerut division. A makeover of the cave is planned as part of the project Mahabharat.
Hastinapur, the capital of Kauravas and Pandavas in the Mahabharat period also features in the proposed circuit. It is situated 37 km from Meerut and a lot of artefacts of the Mahabharat period had been found here in the ASI survey headed by Prof B.B. Lal, said Mr Hameed. Parikshitgarh, 23 km from Meerut, was the capital of Arjun's grandson Parikshit. Gandhari had constructed a pond here with water collected from 100 sources for the `shradh' of her son.
Under the proposed circuit, a tour of two days and one night has been planned, covering a distance of 375 km, he said.