- The banks of Ganga, the temples, and their fascinating tales in the backdrop of the scenic mountains – the pilgrimage town have a lot to offer. The name Hastinapura translates to the city of elephants in Sanskrit. Hastina means elephant and pur is a term used for a city in Sanskrit. The ancient city of elephants is mentioned in several ancient texts.
- In Puranas, it is referred to as the capital of emperor Bharata’s kingdom while in the famous epic Mahabharata it is described as the seat of Kauravas. One such text mentions that the city is named after king Hasti- hence Hastinapura.
Map of India showing 16 mahajanapadas with their capital
- The pilgrimage town portrays the secular side of ancient India – as it is also significant to the Jain and Sikh communities apart from Hindu mythologies and is, therefore, a remarkable tourist attraction. And when it comes to tourism, the town is backed by factors like easy accessibility, affordable accommodation in Dharamshala, fun activities, and picturesque landscapes.
- The city also offers delicious food and is rich in wildlife therefore it is worth all the hype!
The Town of Mahabharata – tales backed by archaeological shreds of evidence
- Hastinapur is believed to be the seat of Kauravas. It is the place where the battle of Mahabharata was fought and won by Pandavas and hence ruled by them until the beginning of kaliyuga. Until today, the locals have a collection of fascinating tales that revolve around the epic. There have been several pieces of evidence that support these tales.
- The archaeological survey of India has unearthed temples that date back to the Mahabharata era hence the title – the town of Mahabharata. Pandeshwar Mahadev temple – the place where Kauravas and Pandavas received their education continues to attract myriads of tourists even today.
A close-up of the entrance of Pandeshwar Mahadev temple
Jain temples – Jain library – dhyana kendras and their architectural excellence – all amid a scenic background!
- Apart from being central to the Hindu epic, Hastinapura is also sacred to the Jain community. It is said that it is the birthplace of three Jain Tirthankaras – Shantinatha, Kunthunath, and Arahanatha. The tales of the Tirthankaras attaining nirvana and kalyanakas at this place are quite famous.
- It is also believed that the first Tirthankara – Rishabh Nath had ended his thirteen-month-long expiation in Hastinapura. Shri Digambar Jain temple is the oldest Jain temple of Hastinapura. Jambudweep, Kailash parvat, and Shwetambar Jain temples are famous for their architectural excellence.
Jambudweep temple is known for its scenic view.
- The Kailash Parbat premises that fall within Hastinapura shelter several Jain temples with engraved entrances and majestic pillars. Decorated ceilings adorn the roof of these temples hence making them worth all the hype!
- Yatri Niwas and bhojan shala are well arranged for tourists along with dhyana kendras for meditation- the meditation centre holds a big statue of om with the idols of 24 Tirthankaras.
- The Ashtapad temple attracts thousands of devotees each year. It is believed that the temple is a doorway to salvation. The Ashtapad temple of Hastinapur is a replica of the Ashtapad under Chinese control in the snow-clad Himalayas.
A close-up of the ceiling of ashtapad
- The lotus temple is another tourist attraction with a tall Kharagasan statue of Lord Mahavira lying under the kalpavriksha. Apart from this, the Navgraha Shanti Jain mandir attracts devotees to visit the nine idols of Bhagwan enshrined in the temple. The Jain library of Hastinapur adorns the rich culture of Jain tradition through its religious texts.
Sikh pilgrimage centre near Hastinapura
- Hastinapur is believed to be the birthplace of Panch Pyare Bhai Dharam Singh – one of the five disciples of Guru Gobind Singh. A small gurudwara in his name is located in Saifpur- a small village located a few kilometres away from Hastinapura. The gurdwara is a pilgrimage centre for Sikhs.
Home to rich wildlife: a perfect place for nature lovers
Close up of a peacock roaming around in the sanctuary
- Are you a wildlife enthusiast? If so, then Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary is worth a visit! Located along the banks of river Ganga, the sanctuary shelters around 350 species of birds like the painted stork, sarus crane, black and white-necked stork, bulbuls, and peacocks. Reptiles like gharials, snakes, and lizards are also found here.
Culinary delights: vegetarian recipes and delicious street food
- Being a religious town, finding non-vegetarian food is quite difficult. But, yes you can find delicious vegetarian recipes and street foods. Jain Dharamshala is quite strict with food habits and does not serve any food after sunset. They do not offer food with onion and garlic but street foods are easily available. Chai, pakoras, chaats are common on the stalls.
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