Indian mythology fiction is the latest fad among readers these days. Various authors are penning down different renditions of the myriad characters from the sea of Indian mythology stories and readers are lapping it up with great gusto. Books like Arujna, Asura, Scion of Ikshvaku, Pradyumna, Shakti, and a plethora of others are grabbing readers’ attention with relative ease.
While these latest stories of Indian mythology might be interesting, one must know that there are several classics in this genre as well which you might not know about. Here, we present 5 must-read classics in Indian mythology fiction. Take a look.
Mrityunjaya, The Death Conqueror by Shivaji Sawant: Originally published in Marathi by renowned author Shivaji Sawant, this book, because of its immense popularity, was translated into Hindi and English. The story of Karna from the Mahabharata is one of the most intriguing ones and yet Indian literature hasn’t really done justice to this great character, apart from this book. Mritunajaya is a fascinating account of Karna’s life right from his childhood leading up to his part in the Mahabharata. The book oscillates between Karna’s point of view to some other interesting characters that were directly related to him like Kunti, Duryodhayana, Shon and Shri Krishna. This makes for a unique and engrossing take on the life of Karna from different perspectives including his own. This is Mahabharata through the eyes of Karna, the unsung hero. An unputdownable masterpiece.
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Yajnaseni: The Story of Draupadi by Pratibha Ray: When we think of the Mahabharata, it is primarily about the heroes and villains, the warriors and great kings. Yajnaseni by award-winning Indian writer Pratibha Ray gives us the story of Draupadi in the Mahabharata. Here, we get to know much more about Draupadi than just her ‘vastra haran’ episode. Here she is not merely a meek wife or an obedient daughter. In Yajanseni, Pratibha Ray gives us a fierce woman who knows how to fight her way out of precarious situations. We see her falling in love and feel the pain and trauma she feels at her trysts and sacrifices. Suffice to say, this book will give you a better understanding of Draupadi than perhaps anything else would.
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Bhima Lone Warrior by MT Vasudevan Nair: Another true classic which was originally published in Malayali by senior author M. T. Vasudevan Nair. As the title suggests, the book gives us a first person narrative of Bhima, one of the most robust heroes of the Mahabharata. Always known as a resolute warrior, here we get to see the vulnerable side of Bhima as well. He strives to prove himself and often feels insecure under the wings of his more skillful brothers. The book also gives us a soft side of Bhima where he constantly strives to win Draupadi’s affections. A fast-paced read, ‘Bhima’ gives a completely new dimension to a warrior only known for his physical prowess.
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Yayati: A Classic Tale of Lust by Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar: Not many would have heard of Yayati, but he remains one of the most fascinating and intriguing characters of the Mahabharata. This classic book gives us the story of this great scholar and ruler who was revered even by gods like Indra. Despite being a righteous and noble king, Yayati had an unquenchable thirst for lust which he proclaims openly. So consuming is his lust that Yayati even agrees to exchange his old age for his son’s youth. An absorbing read set in the times of the Mahabharata, it is something which will surely leave you satiated.
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The Krishnavtara series by by Dr.K.M.Munshi: If ever there was a genuine classic series in Indian literature then this is the one. Krishnavtara is a 7-volume reconstruction of Lord Krishna’s life and his myriad other adventures by eminent author Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi. We have all heard about the magnificence of Lord Krishna but this series gives us such an intricate and loving look at the lord’s life that you will long for more by its end. The series craftily gives us the various faces of Krishna: lover, warrior, strategist, diplomat and ultimate God. His radiant personality is woven beautifully and with each part we get to witness the growth of this divine hero. Unfortunately, due to the author’s demise, the series could not be concluded as it was planned. Regardless, Krishnavatara remains a true gem in Indian fiction and demands to be read by every mythology lover.