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Anurag Sharma


   
 

The Giant Chess Board    by Anurag Sharma

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The ancient giant Chess pieces said to be used by Bheema and Ghatotkacha
It was the summer of 1979. While travelling from Delhi to Imphal (Manipur), we had to stop for a night's stay at this Nagaland city. Dimapur was such a beautiful place that I wished to live there forever. But we had the orders to march to Imphal next morning. As usual, the transit camp was at an isolated place. The food was excellent. The soldiers had made strange but beautiful structures just by empty liquer bottles all around the mess. After dinner, the commander stepped out to show me the surroundings. The natural beauty of the place was mesmerising. A few yards away from us, I saw some pillar like structures. Some were broken. The pieces were scattered everywhere in a large area.

"Looks like some giant chessboard", I said.

"That is exactly what it is", the commander replied, "The locals believe that this is the place where Bheema and his son Ghatotkacha used to practice chess".
The ancient giant Chess pieces said to be used by Bheema and Ghatotkacha
This was unexpected. Whenever there is any reference of Mahabharata, people think of Gandhar (Afghanistan), Kurukshetra (Haryana), Indraprastha (Delhi), Hastinapur (Meerut, UP), Mathura (UP) or Dwarka (Gujrat). Even in my wildest dream, I cannot think of an association of Nagaland with Mahabharata. The commander explained that the local Kachhar dynasty is actually the Kiraat dynasty described in Mahabharata. In fact, the name Dimapur itself is the distortion of Hidimbapur. Remember that Hidimba was Bheem's wife and Ghatotkach's mother. Hidimb was the king of famous Kirat Asura empire of  Mahabharat. The third Pandava Bheem married Hidimb's sister Hidimba who later gave birth to extra strong and famous war hero Ghototkacha.

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There are good numbers of ruins of Kachhari kingdom with permanent structures, tanks, temples, royal house in the surrounding areas of the Dimapur town, which lies within the State of Nagaland bordering Assam. Hidimba kunda is the place where the marriage of Bheem and Hidimba took place after Bheem killed Hidimba's brother Hidimb.

I wish to visit that historical place again with a lot of free time in my hand to see these places at a slower pace.


Anurag Sharma