Lakshagriha (Sanskrit: लाक्षागृहम्, IAST: lākṣāgṛham)[1][2]) (The House of Lacquer or House of Wax) is a place mentioned in the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana.

This place is located on the bank of ganga river, 5km south side from handia tehsil, Prayagraj.

Jealous of the Pandava brothers, Duryodhana planned to kill them by building a palace made from lacquer, and invited them to stay there for a while. Purochana the architect was employed in the building of Lakshagriha in the forest of Varnavrat. The house was meant to be a death trap, since lacquer (wax) is highly flammable. The plot itself was such that nobody would suspect foul play and the eventual death of the Pandavas would pass off as an accident. In the Mahabharata this incident is considered as a major turning point, since the Pandavas were considered dead by their cousins, and makes them aware of the Kauravas antagonism towards them. This gave the Pandavas ample motive and opportunity to prepare for a potential alliance with Dhrupad through marriage with his daughter Draupadi, so as to keep their position more secure through an alliance with another Royal family.[3]


Before the Battle of Kurukshetra, Duryodhana's plan was the peaceful annihilation of his cousins, the Pandava princes, by setting fire to the house he had ordered to be built for them. The architect Purochana, who was also one of his ministers, was ordered to build a house using lacquer (wax), which is highly flammable. This was duly built at Varanavat, and when finished the Kauravas invited their cousins to visit a fair held there and also to live in the house for some time. Before the start of the journey, in the presence of the Kauravas, Vidura tactfully warned the Pandavas about the imminent danger in Mleccha language. These advise warnings from Vidura to Yudhishthira are specifically described in the Mahabharata Adi Parva in a form of well versed poems.

  • "A weapon not made of steel or any other material element can be more than sharp to kill an enemy, and he who knows this is never killed."
  • "Fire cannot extinguish the soul but can annihilate the material body. But one who protects the soul lives".
  • "The conflagration that devastates a forest cannot hurt a rat which shelters itself in a hole or a porcupine which burrows in the earth. The wise man knows his bearings by looking at the stars."

These messages were meant to indicate to Yudhishthira alone, about Duryodhana's hideous plot and the means of escape from danger.

Pandavas enter VarnavratEdit

As narrated in the Mahabharata (Mbh.1.147), the Pandavas reached Varanavat on the eighth day of the month of Phalguna when the star Rohini was in the ascendant. As noted by historians, Varanavat was a large town, (for a town in 3000 BCE time periods) containing more than 1000 (perhaps 5000) inhabitants. The use of vehicles by the inhabitants also indicated a level ground rather than a mountainous terrain. The passage also indicated that the palace for the Pandavas was not ready when they reached the town, and took ten more days to complete. The Pandavas stayed in a temporary house arranged by Purochana and entered the palace once it was complete.

Escape from LakshagrihaEdit

Vidura sent to Pandavas a miner who created for them a Subterranean Passage with its one mouth in the centre of the palace-house and the other mouth close to river Ganges. As per the Mahabharata, the Pandavas lived for a full year in the house while the tunnel was being dug in secrecy and was completed in less than 6 months. The person who had come to build the tunnel completed his job of building the tunnel, concealed the entrance, informed the Pandavas of the same, and left. From the first day, Bhima and Purochana were conspiring to kill each other. Purochana was waiting to set the Palace of Wax on fire after everybody slept. But since Bhima used to be awake all night, Purochana never got a chance to do so. Vidhura also in addition, helps them by sending a rat inside of a sack of wheat, which the Pandavas do not understand the purpose of initially, but later on upon finding the rat dead due to consuming the poisoned food prepared under Purochara's supervision, who was also a part of Shakuni’s plan, they found out about the heinous plan of getting them killed.

The lakshagriha was to be burnt on an Amavasya night. When that night finally reached, Purochana, not knowing that the Pandavas were simply sleeping assumed them to be dead. To celebrate this Purochana began drinking and within hours was drunk. Utilizing this opportunity the Pandavas set fire to the palace and escaped through the tunnel. An innocent Nishada woman and her five sons, who came for a feast there with Purochana perished (while some believe the woman and her sons were Purochan's wife and children). Meanwhile, on the other side, a boat-man sent by Vidura saw the Pandavas as they emerged from the tunnel close to the banks of river Ganges and ferried the Pandavas and their mother to safety. News about the fire reached Hastinapura and Duryodhana, who did not know that his plan had gone awry, assumed that the Pandavas were dead and secretly rejoiced. Only Vidura knew that the Pandavas were safe and he shared this information with Bhishma alone.


Lakshgriha of Varanavat is believed to be located in modern-day Barnava village, Bagpat district near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, India. The site is situated on an approximately 100 ft high mound, spread across 29 acres near the banks of river Hindon.[4] The confluence of river Hindon and Krishna (Kali River, Kali Nadi) is about 800m to the South. There is a tunnel present at the place running from the mound to the bank of the river Hindon, further ascertaining the claim.[5] The site is under the purview of Archaeological Survey of India.

The Barnawa village is 35 km from Meerut district and state roadways buses ply to the village. Baraut City is the nearest railway station. The Hastinapur is about 71 km from Barnawa and takes 1hr 30mins to reach there.

There are some other potential claims for the location of Lashkgriha.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit".
  2. ^ "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit".
  3. ^ (9 January 2015). "The House of Lac at Varanavata [Chapter 12]". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  4. ^ "हिंदी खबर, Latest News in Hindi, हिंदी समाचार, ताजा खबर".
  5. ^[bare URL]

External readingEdit