Mahishmati, The Kingdom In The Movie Baahubali, Existed Since Ancient Times
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion has released and is breaking all records. The immense buzz and the wait for this film are justified with the overwhelming response that the film is receiving.
Film lovers ogled at the screens to catch what S S Rajamouli had in store for them. The movie is undoubtedly an intriguing one! The powerful dialogues in the film infuse a sense of pride.
When you search for Mahishmati on Google, the first thing you get is a Wikipedia page, which mentions that Mahishmati was not located in south India.
The elaborate sets of Baahubali have been discussed immensely.
The kingdom of Mahishmati, where the plot of Baahubali is set, is not fictional. In various records, it has been found to be a capital city and a socio-political centre. It was part of Avanti kingdom. Avanti was a janpada in ancient India.
Mahishmati was present-day Maheshwar located on the banks of the Narmada river, in Madhya Pradesh.
Maheshwar is situated in Khargone district and is famous for Maheshwari sarees, the ghats, temples and forts. It was king Mahishman who founded Maheshwar.
History has it that Avanti region had two centres of power.
One was Ujjaini in north and Mahishmati, which was in south. There are also claims of the city being the one-time capital of the Haihaya rulers.
In this book, there is an example of the Anushasana Parva of Mahabharata.
Anushasana Parva of Mahabharata mentions about “Thousand-armed Kartavirya (Arjuna), the Haihaya, who reigned over the whole earth from Mahishmati”. Another literary work, Harivamsa, mentions that Mahishmati was founded by the king Mahishmat, the heir of Sahajna who came from Yadu (one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda). Another record states that the founder of the city was king Mucukunda.
P K Bhattacharya, the author of the book, mentions other linkages.
He writes, “The Mahishmati region was also known as Anupa. In the Raghuvamsa, it is clearly stated that Mahishmati, on the Reva, was the capital of the Anupa country. Other descriptions of the city of Mahishmati, indicate that it was not on Narmada river, but in the middle of it. The passage of the Harivamsa, describing the foundation of the city by Mucukunda also points to its location on the rocky island and village of Mandhata, now sacred to Siva and containing a famous shrine of Omkaranatha.”
Mahishmati finds mention in the epic Mahabharata with other references.
According to some references, king Nila rued Mahishmati. Fire lord – Agni – fell in love with Nila’s daughter, which disappointed the king. Agni then disguised himself as a brahmin to lure the princess. Knowing this, the king ordered to punish him. But, when Agni revealed his identity, king Nila refused to punish him. Instead, Nila asked Agni to be the protector of his kingdom.
Later, when Pandava prince Yudhishtir was to conquer the kingdom of Mahishmati, his younger brother Sahadeva prayed to Agni for success. Also, there is a reference to the attack on Mahishmati by Ravana.
King Sahastrabahu also finds mentions with reference to Mahishmati. He was very powerful.
He, with his 1000 arms had captured Ravana, and blocked the flow of Narmada river. In later ages, Ahilyabai Holkar made Maheshwar as her capital.
Mandhata is considered to be a possible site for the ancient city of Mahishmati.
Historians have suggested modern-day Maheshwar, Mandla and even Mysore to be the location of erstwhile Mahishmati. But Buddhist texts place Mahishmati in Avanti.
For instance, Digha Niyaka states that Mahishmati was the capital of Avanti while Pali texts suggest Ujjayini to be the capital. Also, Mahishmati was home to several disciples of Lord Buddha.
Rulers of south India between 11th to 12th century regarded Mahishmati as a place of their origin. Inscriptions of 13th century suggest some Indian rulers stayed in Mahishmati during that time.
The extravagant sets of Mahishmati in the movie Baahubali left us wondering…
About the grandeur of the city which once existed. Its rich history also bewilders us.