Khandava Forest (Sanskrit: खाण्डव वन, khāndəvə vənə) was an ancient forest mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. It lay to the west of Yamuna river, in modern day Delhi territory. Pandavascleared this forest to construct their capital city calledIndraprastha. This forest was earlier inhabited by Naga tribes led by a king named Takshaka. Arjuna and Vasudeva Krishna cleared this forest by setting up a fire. The inhabitants of this forest were displaced. This was the root cause of the enmity of the Naga Takshaka towards the Kuru kings who ruled from Indraprastha andHastinapura.
The Mahabharata states that Indra was the protecting deity (deva) of Khandava forest, which is why the region was known as Indraprastha. When the forest was being burned, Indra attacked Arjun with his bolt (vajra), injuring him.
A little known story is that at the time of the great war when Arjun and Karna come face to face with each other, the Naga King Aswasena desirous of avenging the death of his mother from Arjuna, in that battle quietly slips into the quiver of Karna in the guise of an Arrow. It is this Arrow that had almost killed Arjuna had it not been for Krishna who by pressing his feet on the chariot sank it one cubit deep into the earth hence the arrow missing its aim.
Skip to primary content
Skip to secondary content
The capital of the Pandavas. This was situated around current Delhi.
As per Dhritarashtra’s request, Yudhishtira left for the Khandava forest with the other Pandavas. Krishna and sages like Vyasa helped them, and there Yudhishtira built Indraprastha, which was as impressive as devaloka, as per Mahabharata Sabhaparva Chapter 211.
Once Agni razed Khandava but Arjuna saved Maya and five others who were living there. When Maya wanted to repay Arjuna, the latter said it was not proper to take anything for saving a life and if Maya was insistent, he could ask Krishna what he wanted. Krishna thought for a while and then asked Maya to build a palace for Yudhishtira, which would be better than any ever built. After feeding brahmins, Maya drew a boundary of 10000 muzham (1 muzham is a forearm, therefore roughly over 1 foot) and then left for Mainaka, to the north of Kailash. There, in Bindusaras, were jewels that Maya had stored when the asuras had done a yajna. He took those, and a conch named Devadatta and came back to build a palace. This palace was Indraprastha. It had ponds and gardens, and it was built in fourteen months, as per Mahabharata Sabhaparva Chapters 1-3.
After the Pandavas, the Yadava Anirudha was made king of Indraprastha, as per Mahabharata Mausalaparva Chapter 7 verse 11.