Ayush Antiwal

Ayush Antiwal

Summary of The Palace of Illusions By Chitra Divakaruni

The “Palace of Illusions” novel is written by famous Indian born American author “Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni”. The book is a retelling of Mahabharata, a great Indian epic from the perspective of Draupadi, also known as Panchali.

The Palace of Illusions By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Synopsis of the Palace of Illusions | Chitra Banerjee


Synopsis of the Palace of Illusions

The story begins with a mystical birth of Draupadi and her brother, Dhri, who were born out from the fire ceremony (Yagya) to King Drupad. The Sage Vyasa predict at Draupadi’s birth that she is going to change the course of History. Draupadi was grown as royal princess. She learns 64 Arts that a women of aristocracy must master for instance dancing, singing, writing, poetry and composing riddles etc. To wed her daughter, King Drupad calls for a Spectacular Swayamvar, where all the princes and kings of Bharat are invited, Panchaali will choose her husband from them. To be eligible to marry Draupadi, there is Archery competition, whoever wins in the archery competition will win Panchaali.

Lord Krishna is a best friend of Draupadi. In book, Lord Krishna is shown as a human and as well as God, during competition, Draupadi ask Krishna who is the best archer in the Kingdom and who can succeed in this competition. Lord Krishna tells her that there are two person who can win this Archery competition, One is Pandav putra Arjuna  and second is best friend of Kauravas, Angraj Karna. When Karna comes forward to join the competition, Draupadi rejects him because of Karna caste.  From this point on, Karna become a bitter enemy of Draupadi. Arjun ends up marrying Panchaali, one of Pandav Putra. Even though, she fallen in love with Angraj Karna.

When Arjun comes home with Draupadi, he says, look mom what we got for you, he is saying this for Draupadi to which his mother replies whatever you have got share it with your all brothers causing Draupadi to marry all of five Pandav putra. In such manner, Draupadi becomes the wife of five Pandavas. But Ved Vyas made an arrangement that Draupadi will be with one husband for 1 years starting from oldest to youngest.

After their Swayamwar, King Bheesma or Pitamah split the Kingdom between cousins that is Pandavas and Kauravas. Pandavas are offered such a bad piece of land. But with their hard work and patience, Pandavas build best and beautiful city of Indraprastha. The Palace of Pandavs is quite Illusionary for instance you see a floor but it’s not a floor it might be water, you see a wall but it’s not wall it might be illusion. Draupadi was very happy with her new palace, a palace of illusions.

As Duryodhan visits new palace, he was illusion by floor and fall into a water pool. Draupadi saw him falling into water and started laughing at him, she made a comment on him “a blind son of a blind father “ .  Duryodhan felt insult and pledges to takes revenge from Draupadi and her five husbands.

After this incident Duryodhan’s mama, Shakuni arranges a gambling game in which Yudhisthira loses everything his beautiful palace, his brothers and his wife. As a result five Pandav brothers and their wife Draupadi are banished in forest for 12 years and they must spend their 13 years in exile. Throughout her exile, Draupadi main focus is to take revenge from Kauravas. She is one of the few women who has audacity to speak up and ask questions. She is represent as a powerful women.

During 12 years Pandavas prepare themselves for Mahabharat war. During their 13 year in exile Draupadi disguise herself as maid servant to Queen Sudeshna, Arjun disguise himself as women teaching dance to Princess Uttara. Yudhistira disguise himself as counsellor to King Matsys’s court. Nakul and Sehadev got job as workers in King’s barn and Bheem become cook.

Eventually at the end of their Thirteenth year it’s time for Pandavas to take revenge from Kauravas. Arjuna will get to kill Angraj Karna, Bheem will get to kill all 100 Kaurav Putra. The people who are closed to Draupadi like Drupad, Dhri and Abhimanyu were also killed in the war. At the end of war, Kunti reveals to their sons that Karna, their enemy is her oldest child and their older brother.

In conclusion, all the people who die in war like Duryodhan, Karna and Dushasana end up having their soul in heaven. The reason why all Kauravas got heaven is because they all died as a warriors on the battlefield.

At the end of story, as Pandavas learns about Lord Krishna’s death, they decide to die.. Their transition to after life is shown in novel and Draupadi eventually unites with Radhe Karna.




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