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Burning the Pandavas alive

Nor was Duryodhana unaffected by the fame of the Pandavas. This was a subject of constant discussion between him and his associates - his brother Duscasana, uncle Sakuni and friend Radheya. They decided that the only way to halt the Pandavas and bring Duryodhana to prominence was to kill all five of them. A plan was hatched for this purpose.
A Siva festival was to be held in the nearby town of Varanavata. Dhritarashtra suggested to his nephews to go on a holiday to the beautiful town and take part in the festival. The five brothers agreed and left for Varanavata along with their mother, Kunti.
Meanwhile, Duryodhana had a castle built exclusively for the Pandavas’ stay at Varanavata. He engaged Purochana from the Mleecha class, known for their lowness, to design and build the spacious castle. On Duryodhana’s instruction, Purochana built the entire structure with lac, a highly inflammable material. The furniture was also of inflammable material. It was planned to burn the Pandavas alive when they retired for the night.
Vidura, who had spies everywhere, came to know about the conspiracy. He warned Yudhishthira in advance about Duryodhana’s nefarious plot and took immediate steps to devise an escape. A subterranean passage leading out of the death trap was secretly dug for the Pandavas. The passage ended at the riverfront where a boat was placed for them. It was decided that the Pandavas would set fire to the palace and escape unharmed through the secret tunnel.
It so happened that during the night, a tribal (Nishada) woman entered the castle along with her five sons. Fully drunk, they all fell deep asleep in one of the rooms. The architect Purochana himself was sleeping in another room. Bhima chose this moment to set fire to the castle. In no time at all the pleasure palace was engulfed in flames. The five brothers and Kunti escaped from the blazing inferno through the secret tunnel.
Later, observing the charred remains of Purochana in one room and that of the Nishada woman and her sons in another, everyone, in great distress, believed that Kunti and her five sons had perished in the fire along with the Mleecha architect.


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