Lucknow: The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is all set to turn Lakshagriha, about 40 km from Prayagraj city, into a major tourist attraction, banking on the belief that it is linked to the epic Mahabharata.
The UP State Tourism Department Corporation is also reviewing a proposal to construct a Mahabharata Research Centre at Lakshagriha. The proposal has been submitted by the Lakshagriha Paryatan Sthal Vikas Samiti, a body formed by priests and social workers of the area to promote tourism here.
Deputy Director (Tourism) Dinesh Kumar told ThePrint that work related to beautification of Lakshgriha is currently under way. He added that this might prove to be very important in terms of boosting tourism in Prayagraj.
“There has also been a proposal for a research site to be developed here, but no decision has been taken in this regard as yet,” Kumar said. “If the government takes any decision in this regard, it will also be constructed here.”
Lakshagriha’s Mahabharata link
The Lakshagriha Paryatan Sthal Vikas Samiti claims that the name is mentioned in the Mahabharata and hence is an important mythological site.
The samiti’s convenor Onkar Nath Tripathi told ThePrint that there is a reference in the Mahabharata about a Lakshagriha being located in a village of Handia area in Prayagraj.
“The Pandavas crossed the river Ganga by digging a tunnel from here. It is necessary to develop this entire area,” he said.
Tripathi added that a Mahabharata Research Centre should be definitely established here so that future generations are made aware of “the historical and mythological beliefs associated with this place”.
“Some research about the descendants of the Pandavas can also be carried out,” Tripathi said. “It’s common belief that many of their (Pandavas) progeny had settled around this area. Furthermore, reconstruction and beautification of the pathways through which the Pandavas managed to cross the Ganga is also very important.”
According to Tripathi, the committee was formed in 2011 by some priests and social workers of Prayagraj, and that it has been working to develop Lakshagriha.
“Last year, a long tunnel was unearthed here. As the information about the discovery spread, a large crowd of locals gathered here,” he said. “It is believed that the Kauravas had hatched a plot to kill the Pandavas by incinerating them. To foil this plan the Pandavas resorted to construction of this tunnel.”
The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has excavated this site before in search of historic artefacts.
According to Mahabharata, Lakshagriha was a house where the Pandavas were trapped as part of a conspiracy by their Kaurava cousins. It was made of the highly flammable lacquer (laksha in Sanskrit) to burn the Pandavas alive, but they managed to escape by building a secret tunnel. It is considered one of the most important episodes in the Mahabharata.