In the photo: The compound inside the fortified citadel of the 15th century Purana Quila, traditionally thought to be site of Indraprasta, home of the mighty Pandavas.
PURANA QUILA (OLD FORT), MATHURA ROAD, NEW DELHI, INDIA.
Mahabharata’s Indraprasta: A likely truth.
If you walk into what is presently known as the Purana Quila in New Delhi, India and meander to the left along the massive walls, chances are you will not fail to spot an old stone tablet inscribed with the words: The Yamuna used to flow past this area, the site of the Pandavas, city of Indraprasta. This deduction (though not universally agreed upon as conclusive evidence) is derived from the fact that there existed within the fortified citadel an ancient village known as Indraprat among the ruins of several other settlements dating back to the second century and possibly farther back into the past.
Poetic exaggerations aside the Mahabharata is a rich source of historical information on India’s Vedic age that is speculated to have sprouted during or after the Harappan decline. First complied by the poet and sage Ved Vyasa who is said to have lived in the 3rd millennium, the epic abounds with numerous references of historically accurate tribes that existed during the time frame, including the Kuru clan that inspired the Kaurava dynasty and held dominion over parts of present day Haryana and Delhi.
The semi nomadic tribes of Vyasa’s time, however, were not master city builders like the preceding Harappan civilization. In all likelihood, Indraprasta or its inspiration might just have been a Harappan settlement that over time evolved into the fabled city of resplendent beauty and architecture at the hand of poets who transformed and built upon the original composition.