Setting – It is pitch dark, a small lamp is burning and the five Pandava brothers are sitting around it. Nakul – yes, see the stress in our lives that we have completely forgotten that after two days it is our anniversary.
Bheem –  We are so erroneously caught in this vicious cycle of war and revenge that we forget love and life.
Yudhisthira – But what can we do except remembering the day in the depth of our hearts and feeling bad about the fact that we can’t give Draupadi any happiness on this day. Sahadeva – (Jolting everyone out of their thoughts by loudly calling) Dada we must close this meeting asap.
Nakul- Arre dada you teach dance to King’s daughter Uttara and it is no secret that she is quite fond of you. Yudhisthira –Even if we manage to get the laptop and order the gifts how will it reach us in this remote kingdom? Setting – Yudhisthira is sitting on an elevated stone while Bheem, Nakul and Sahadeva are sitting in a semi-circle below. Yudhisthira – Draupadi is a wise lady and I wish to give her a book on Philosophy and dharma. Arjun- I have seen Kichaka, Sudeshna’s brother, troubling Draupadi a lot these days and she can’t raise a loud alarm for the fear of attracting unnecessary attentionShe can use the pepper spray for self-defence. Draupadi (talking to the photo of her five husbands) – Time is testing us dear husbands. Enter Yudhisthira, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadeva holding  gifts wrapped in shinning papers. Sahadeva – And to cheer you up see what Bheem dada has brought ( removes a piece of cloth over a tray), a Cake! A big thanks to Baggout for giving bloggers an opportunity and a platform to let our creative juices flow.
Gitanjali Banerjee studied International Relations from JNU, worked as a teacher, and then moved on to follow her heart.
Karna was standing with arms uplifted, facing the east, when Kunti crept up behind him and waited trembling in his shadow till, when from very weariness she looked like a fading lotus, he at last turned round. Replying to what Kunti told to him, Karna asked her the reason to demand his obedience at that time while he was left to death by her when he was newly born and for the charioteer and his wife he was saved and grew up into what he was then. Join me on a tour of Bairat as it is narrated in The Mahabharata Secret – with photographs of the location this time! As most readers may be aware by now, The Mahabharata Secret was originally written by me as a bedtime story for my daughter between 2006 and 2008.
According to the map of Rajasthan they carried with them, they realised, there should be a left turn that led to Bairat but they had seen no road leading off the highway, except for a few dirt paths that snaked though the fields.
After getting the directions, they resumed the drive until they came across signs of habitation, probably the outskirts of Shahpura.
A rickshaw driver confirmed they were on the right track and they sped down the road, which was smooth to begin with, but soon degenerated into a patchwork of potholes . Beyond the expanses of sand, rose the Aravali hills; low, rocky hills upon which little vegetation grew. Colin wondered aloud why Asoka had thought of choosing such a desolate region for one of his edicts.
After being jolted around for a while, they came to a small clearing to the right of the path in which stood a small mud hut with whitewashed walls.A man was standing next to the hut. He introduced himself as Chunnilal and asked them to drive on while he joined them on foot.
The path changed from a mud track to a concrete road which had seen a lot of wear over the years.
Groups of small monkeys with little black faces frolicked on the roof of the pillared building as they followed Chunnilal up the nearest hill, along a path, paved with stones and thorny bushes. The stone stairway skirted boulders that towered ten feet above them and passed under rocky overhangs; turning at sharp angles as it wound up the hill.
Chunnilal gestured to follow him,as he walked away from the stone wall and to their right, where a long, oblong shaped rock leaned at an angle of twenty five degrees upon a smaller rock. As Radha, supporting her father, reached the terrace, she looked around but there was no one in sight. They followed him around the rock and came upon a cemented platform constructed outside a natural cave beneath the slug shaped rock. The mud path bordered by bricks that leads to the brick platform which is visible on the right with stairs leading to the top of the platform.
A view of the gear wheel, its enclosing brick wall, the brick platform on which the entire structure stands, and the countryside around, taken from halfway up to the summit of the hill. Chunnilal, in the meanwhile, had wandered off to one side, gazing into the distance, as they took in the sight. Above them loomed a second terrace, over fifty feet higher, built on the summit of the hill and enclosed by a stone wall. He sprinted up the stairs, and reached a small landing that lay ten feet below the upper terrace.
To their right, a series of square brick platforms, two feet high, lined the terrace, their purpose a mystery.
As they reached the foot of the staircase and arrived at the lower level, Chunnilal shared another legend with them.


Colin couldn’t understand how knowledge and learning helped in a game of dice which was based on chance. I hope you enjoyed this tour of Bairat and found this location to be as mysterious and exciting as I did – so much that I used it in the book! I must say it has been as exciting as reading your book and imagining the entire environment!
I wish that you write many such books that will shed light upon the Indian history that will be ever fascinating to hold the attention of your readers!!
Indeed it was a very knowledgeable and thrilling through right from the pages of history. I hope in the near future too you will take all your readers to many more such adventerous journey’s. Although most of the landmarks match my imagination of them while reading the book, but these photos have cleared my vision regarding that whole chapter.
Rupinder, I’m glad that you found the photographs useful in visualising the location. The epic story of Mahabharata has everything love, deceit, manipulation, war; a full on family drama. The five brothers Yudhisthira, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadeva along with their wife Draupadi had taken refuge under disguise in the kingdom of Virata. Even I realize the risk but it seems in our preparation of the imminent war we have completely forgotten that there is an important occasion after two days. We are in disguise, don’t have any money and can’t afford to meet at one place to celebrate our anniversary (rubs his forehead, picks a twig and starts making doodles on the ground). The day when we rightfully establish Drapadi as the Queen and she will get what is rightfully hers; is approaching soon. So, I was saying that anniversary celebration may not be grand but even a small gesture of love and concern is good enough to cheer up Draupadi. But do remember we have just two days, we can’t afford to be seen and we have very less money.
We will buy gifts for Draupadi and then go to her room quietly and have a small celebration.
I have to leave pronto for the King has invited some guests for dinner and there is so much work to do in the kitchen.
Let’s forget all our pains and sorrows for a while and immerse ourselves in love and happiness. A special mention for one of their employee, Monika Jain who relentlessly kept sending reminder mails to motivate a lazy writer like me.
Kunti, fearing the forthcoming deadly battle, tried to convince Karna by disclosing the secret of his birth to fight in the side of the Pandavas.
Living in the household of Dhritarashtra, and hearing constantly of preparations for war against her own sons Kunti thought that if she could induce the ally of Duryodhana to fight on the side of her sons, instead of against them, she would greatly increase for them the chances of victory. Karna was startled at the encounter, but controlling himself he bowed gravely and introduced himself to her as the son of Adiratha, the charioteer, and asked the mother of the Pandavas if he could do anything for her. Then he told that he could not abandon his friend Duryodhana even for the sake of his mother, to whom he owed everything he possessed. She has enshrined the Indian society with the values which have maintained their prominence over the journey of several generations. All rights reserved including the right to reproduce the contents in whole or in part in any form or medium without the express written permission of Jupiter Infomedia Ltd. Over the course of two years, it evolved into a book and, in 2009, I decided to try getting it published. On either side of the road was scrubland – expanses of sandy soil with thorny bushes. Boulders were stacked in clumps upon each hill and there was no sign of habitation around them. It was a narrow path, just enough to accommodate a single car, and walled in on either side by thorny plants with sharp, spiked leaves, that rose to a height of around twenty feet.
The stone paved track soon gave way to a mud path and then to a well paved stone path, that led to broad stone stairs that ascended the hill.
The hillsides were strewn with rocks and immense boulders inclined at almost impossible angles.
To the left of the stairway stood a stone wall around five feet in height; it was evidently a recent reconstruction. Its raised tip had a large indentation in it, giving it the appearance of a rather angry looking giant slug that gazed out over the hills around. Colin was sitting crosslegged on the platform, looking distinctly uncomfortable, and before him sat Chunnilal and another man, dishevelled, his hair unkempt and his beard straggly.
He nodded to Chunnilal and bowed to the baba, handing him some money.    Together with Chunnilal, they walked along a dirt path that led up a slope studded with small rocks and flanked by a stone wall. It was shaped like a gear wheel and had a gap between the teeth that perfectly aligned with the opening in the surrounding circular wall. Vijay quickly dashed to the top and surveyed the ruins that lay before him.  There was nothing left of the structures that must have stood here centuries ago. He opened his mouth to remonstrate but Shukla interrupted him, his eyes gleaming with excitement.
It is so fascinating that you brought out these structures and places from real life into your story so well.


Thank you for the good wishes and I hope to continue to write books and exceed the expectations of my readers. It has really encouraged me to visit the place myself and explore all the landmarks you have mentioned. The only thing that holds me back is the fact that the cost of printing books with photographs goes up substantially while I would like to ensure that my books reach as many people as possible so they get to share in my thoughts and imagination about our ancient culture. It is during one such curious reading that I came across the love story of Mahabharata and on further research this is what was revealed.
Duroyodhan (the Kaurava leader) further complicated their punishment by throwing in another challenge – stay hidden during the 13th year or repeat the 13 years of exile.
Draupadi, the Queen of India and wife of five ‘shoorveers’ was working as a Sairandhri (an expert maid) of Queen Sudeshna. Thus, one morning, by the river-side, as Karna ended his devotions after bathing, and turned, he was surprised to find the aged Kunti, mother of the Pandavas, waiting behind him. The little aged woman, in spite of her royal dignity, quivered at his words and told to Karna that he was not the son of a charioteer, but her eldest son. However, he promised to Kunti that he would only fight against Arjuna and also assured her that her total number of sons would remain five. In order to ensure that my research was even more extensive than it had been, I visited Bairat, which featured prominently in the book, in April 2009. Vijay sat in the passenger seat next to Radha and Colin and Shukla were seated at the back. As the fields gave way to clusters of mud houses, they realised they had reached the village of Bairat. The track wound right and left, and they occasionally, saw a small child standing in a break in the foliage, looking curiously at the car as it bounced along the path. Stunted trees with spiny leaves and dry, thorny plants were the only signs of vegetation, as far as the eye could see. Clinging to this were the remains of an ancient brick structure, not more than a couple of feet in height. Where the incline ended, a short flight of stairs led to a second level, where another wall enclosed the remains of the chaitya.
The brick platform so prominently featured is where the opening to the Library of the Nine lies in the book.
All that remained now were the foundations; brick walls that stood six inches above the ground.
And watch out for more research that I’m going to share with you, exclusively at The Quest Club! Our Indian culture has several legends which were actually made up to secure something valuable behind them. Then she told him to make him known to his five brothers that he was the eldest of them and urged him not to fight against the Pandavas since they were his younger brothers. Either he would kill Arjuna or Arjuna would kill him, in both the cases the sons of Kunti would remain five.
These photographs are from that research trip to Bairat which I am delighted to share with you. White had expressed his inability to make the trip as he was accompanying the Maharaja to a meeting.
All around them, small, misshapen rocky hills rose to a height of two to three hundred feet. The bricks had blackened with age and appeared to form a stairway leading to the terrace which lay behind the stone wall and was not visible to them from where they now stood. We often take them in our stride, as no one in today’s world knows about their existence. While Kunti was speaking to Karna, a voice came from the sun itself which instructed Karna to listen to the words of his mother. Saying this he took leave from Kunti and while leaving, Kunti reconfirmed the promise of Karna that he would not fight against any of his brothers apart from Arjuna in the battle at Kurukshetra.
I have used the original narration of the journey Vijay and his friends make to Bairat as the basis for this photo-tour, so that you can relate the narrative in the book with the actual features of the location. He had sounded quite miserable at being left out of what would definitely be a momentous discovery. Awesome, isn’t it, how we’ve been talking about the Gita and the clues and now we come across a site connected to the Nine and Asoka the Great, which also has a legend about the Mahabharata? Where the bricks hadn’t been cemented over during preservation work, their age was evident - Most of the bricks used here seemed to have been the original ones.
But the heart of Karna was devoted to righteousness, and even the gods could not draw him away from it.
But since Vijay was quite insistent that the Maharaja shouldn’t know about Bairat until they had returned, there was no excuse White could think of that would be strong enough to excuse himself from the meeting with Bheem Singh. Do post your comments when you read it, I would love to hear from you and I will respond personally to every comment!



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