conflict between two enemies, that’s filled with twists and turns. This is the story of Princess Vasavdatta and King Udayan. part 1

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The King of Ujjaini, Pradyota believed

that he was the greatest and mightiest king of all.

But he was quite aware

of the supernatural powers of Udayan, the King of Kaushambi,

and that he always managed to stay one step ahead of him.

Legend has it that King Udayan possessed the ability

to control elephants with his ‘veena’

which made him undefeatable in a battle.

One day, one of King Pradyota’s ministers

offered him a solution to capture Udayan.

King Pradyota’s spies disguised themselves and went to King Udayan

and told him about a majestic white elephant.

King Udayan took off at once on his elephant

to look for the white elephant all by himself,

leaving his soldiers behind.

When he found the said elephant,

he started playing his veena to subdue it.

Suddenly, the belly of the elephant opened

and Pradyota’s soldiers jumped out.

They took King Udayan prisoner and brought him to Ujjaini.

King Pradyota was so proud of his victory

that he didn’t visit King Udayan for three days.

This made King Udayan’s blood boil.

He said to the guards, “Your king gives warriors a bad name!”

When Pradyota finally visited King Udayan,

Udayan mocked him and said,

“You could’ve fought with me if you wanted my kingdom.

This action of yours is a disgrace to warriors.”

King Pradyota felt ashamed

and he decided to free King Udayan,

but only on one condition.

King Udayan must teach him the art of controlling elephants.

Udayan said, “If you wish to learn the art,

you have to bow before me as I shall be your guru.”

Pradyota didn’t like this proposal at all.

When he conveyed this to his minister,

the minister suggested,

“Why don’t we make your daughter Vasavdatta learn the art instead?

Vasavdatta is still young,

and she wouldn’t have a problem accepting Udayan as a guru.

Once she learns the art, she can pass on the knowledge to you.”

But King Pradyota hesitated.

He was a king, but also a father. He worried about his daughter.

He didn’t want an enemy laying eyes on his daughter.

So he made up a story.

King Pradyota told King Udayan

that he wanted a relative of his to learn the art.

And that there would be a curtain separating Udayan and his pupil

since the relative was hunchbacked.

He told Udayan he didn’t want him to be disturbed by the sight.

Princess Vasavdatta accepted her father’s suggestion

and agreed to be Udayan’s pupil.

King Pradyota told her that her teacher was a leper,

and so there would be a curtain between them.

Vasavdatta’s lessons were going well

until one day when she failed to keep up with King Udayan.

King Udayan swore at her angrily, “Hunchback!”

Feeling insulted, the princess retorted, “Leper!”

King Udayan put his ‘veena’ down and rushed to move the curtain.

And he saw a beautiful princess sitting before him.

He was surprised.

Udayan found out she was Pradyota’s daughter,

and he apologised to her.

As they talked, they realised King Pradyota’s trick.

but sparks were already flying between them.

Without telling her father,

Vasavdatta kept meeting Udayan.

Udayan was a brilliant and a handsome man.

Vasavdatta had fallen deeply for him

and she decided to free him.

In the following days, they planned an escape.

According to the plan, Vasavdatta told her father

that she wanted to test the knowledge she had gained from Udayan,

for which she would need an elephant.

Vasavdatta also asked her father to open the gates to the city at night

because the leper needed a special herb for the spell

that lights up in the dark, hence can be collected only at night time.

King Pradyota agreed,

but he sensed that Udayan was planning an escape.

He alerted his spies.

At night, when the kingdom was asleep,

King Udayan set off on an elephant.

He soon realised that he was being followed.

For three nights, he pretended to look for the herb.

On the fourth night, the spies didn’t expect them to run away

and that’s when Udayan and Vasavdatta made their escape.

When the spies followed them,

Udayan threw gold coins in their direction.

The spies stopped to gather them,

giving Udayan a chance to flee with Vasavdatta.

King Pradyota’s soldiers followed them,

but once Udayan had crossed the Ujjaini border,

they were killed by King Udayan’s soldiers.

Udayan and Vasavdatta were welcomed in Kaushambi with a great fanfare.

They got married and started a life together.

This was only the beginning of their love story.

They still had many more challenges to face.

Every story has a twist,

and Vasavdatta and Udayan’s love story was no different.

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