The name of this ancient forest- Naimisha Forest is mentioned in the Indian epic Mahabharata and another holy text of Shiva Purana, the book of Lord Shiva.
Naimisha Forest is located on the bank of Gomti River in Uttar Pardesh. This area is now filled with the ancient temples based on Indian Hindu mythology. Now Naimesharanya or Naimisha Forest is one of the major pilgrimage tourism sites in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Naimisha Forest in earlier times was situated in between the Panchala Kingdom and the Kosala Kingdom. These Panchala and Kosala belonged from fifth century BC regional kingdoms of 16 Mahajanapadas.
The whole narration of Mahabharata took place at Naimisha forests, during a conclave of sages headed by sage Saunaka, who gathered for a sacrifice to the cause of global peace. In this conclave, Ugrasrava Sauti narrated the entire Mahabharata, the story of the great kings of Bharata dynasty to Saunaka. The central part of this story was the history of Kauravas and Pandavas, the two main rivals in Mahabharata, and their battle at Kurukshetra was known as Kurukshetra War.
The name of Naimisha Forest or Naimesharanya is mentioned in another Indian epic Ramayana. The colophon of yuddha-kanda (sixth) of Ramayana mentions that Lav and Kush, the sons of Lord Rama narrated the epic by the famous dacoit turned hermit Valmiki in the Naimesharanya in his Ashvamedha-yajna.
Ugrashravas was the narrator of several Puranas, including Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana, Harivamsa and Padma Purana. Ugrashravas narrated the Indian holy texts in Naimisha Forest. He was the son of Lomaharshana and a disciple of Veda Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata. Ugrasrava belonged to the Suta caste, who was typically the bards of Puranic literature. The entire Indian epic Mahabharata was structured as a dialogue between Ugrasrava Sauti (the narrator) and sage Saunaka (the listener) in the Namisharanya.
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