Mahabharata: the Ancient Indian Epic


Kelly Macquire
published on 22 August 2021

The Mahabharata is an Ancient Indian Epic and is the longest epic poem in the world. It was believed to have been composed as early as the 4th c. BCE or even earlier by the sage Vyasa (who is also a character in the story). As a whole, the Mahabharata is about 10 times the length of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey put together, and the Bhagavad Gita (which is only one section of the whole epic), is considered one of the most important Hindu scriptures. The story is still popular in India today, and children are still named after the characters from the epic. The poem is all about issues of succession and the lead up to the Kurukshetra war, and then the war itself and the aftermath. Much like the Trojan War from the Iliad, the Kurukshetra war may have actually been a historical event, but through time it has been embellished to the current form, which is now considered a legendary narrative.

This video will take you through the Indian Epic the Mahabharata, beginning with the king Shantanu of Hastinapur in the region of Kuru who marries Ganga (who is actually a goddess in secret). We will take you through the epic rivalry between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, and all the times the Pandavas found themselves exiled. The whole epic culminates in the Kurukshetra War where the Pandavas are victorious and Yudhishthir becomes king of Hastinapur and Indraprastha before the Pandavas and Draupadi head to the Himalayas and plan to live the rest of their lives climbing the slopes towards the heavens.

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The Peg Dolls seen in the family tree are all created by Atita-guna's Peg Dolls and used with permission.

Unknown Artist / 16th century artwork
Public domain

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, August 22). Mahabharata: the Ancient Indian Epic. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Mahabharata: the Ancient Indian Epic." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 22, 2021.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Mahabharata: the Ancient Indian Epic." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 22 Aug 2021. Web. 24 Jun 2024.