By Swami Harshananda
Hastināpura literally means ‘city of Hastin’.
Hastināpura or Hastināvatī has been known to all those familiar with the epic, the Mahābhārata. It is famous as the capital city first of the Kuru race of kings, the Kauravas first, and then, of the Pāṇḍavas. King Hastin was an ancestor of the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas. He was the son of Bṛhatkṣattra, a king of the Candravanśa or Lunar race. He built this city during his reign and hence it became famous as ‘Hastināpura’ or ‘Hastināvati. During the reign of Nicaknu, a descendant of the Pāṇḍavas, the city is said to have been devastated by floods in the Gaṅgā. It forced him to shift his capital to Kauśāmbi.
The site of Hastināpura has been located at a place, 90 kms. (56 miles) to the north-east of Delhi. The excavation done by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1949 revealed that the earliest inhabitants of this place used ochre-colored pottery and copper vessels. The city may have been abandoned due to rise in the level of the river Gaṅgā. There are proofs from which we can believe that the city was reoccupied after some time. Relics assigned to this period include sun-dried brick-walls, copper and iron utensils, clay figurines and die-stamped coins. It might have been abandoned again around 300 B. C. and reoccupied second time after a lapse of about a hundred years.
- Viṣṇupurāna 4.21
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore