The hoary legend of River Muchukunda or Musi

How old is Bhagyanagar/  Hyderabad? Is it 400 years? NO. It is actually thousands of years old. The habitations can be traced back to as early as Treta Yuga, even before the times of Bhagwan Sri Rama. We have always been told that Hyderabad city was built by the Golconda Nawabs, and that a Nawab fell in love with a courtesan, built a city, and named it after her as Bhagyanagar.  However the habitations of the ancient Bhagyanagar always existed, waiting for research and validation from scholars. Recent SC verdict on Ayodhya has paved way to officially accord the required authenticity to the oral and written Puranas that have been handed over to us from our forefathers, similarly the Puranic lore of Bhagyanagar too goes back to the ancient times.  Hyderabad city grew on the banks of river Musi, the river’s original historical name is Muchukunda. Muchukunda is a tributary of river Krishna, one of the Sapta-Sindhus of Bharata.

In the puranic lore of Sri MadBhagavatha Purana, Muchukunda is the son of King Mandhata of the Ikshvaku dynasty. He was among the ancestors of Bhagwan Sri Rama. Indra, the King of the Devas sought Muchukunda’s help in defeating the Asuras, and in the ensuing war Muchukunda defeated the Asuras. Indra was extremely grateful to the king and offered him a boon of his choice. Muchukunda simply wished for a good rest after the long battle and Indra granted him his boon of sleep, and stated that if anyone disturbed his sleep, Muchukunda can burn them to ashes by just fiercely looking at them. Muchukunda identified the Tapovan, and took rest in a cave, around the present day Ananthagiri hills, near Hyderabad. Thus the river originating in Anantagiri hills came to be known as Muchukunda river and flows through present day Bhagyanagar.

In Dwapara Yuga, Gargya, a Brahmin was insulted by the Yadavas. Gargya undertook severe penance to beget a son who could be the scourge of the Yadavas, and later gave away his son to the king of Yavana. The boy grew to be very powerful and came to be known as Kalayavana. Kalayavana’s only aim was to destroy the Yadavas and therefore he attacked Dwaraka.  Bhagwan Sri Krishna did not wish the innocent civilians to bear the brunt of the war, and moved away from Dwaraka. Kalayavana followed him, desirous of a fight with Sri Krishna. Krishna led him to Anantagiri Hills area and into the cave where Muchukunda was sleeping.   Kalayavana followed Krishna inside the dark cave, and could not recognize that the person sleeping was not Sri Krishna, but Muchukunda! He kicked him, and King Muchukunda woke up, the anger in him came out as fire through his eyes and burnt Kalayavana to ashes. King Muchukunda emerged out of the cave and found that people were now much shorter than earlier times, and realizing that Kali Yuga arrived, Muchukunda went away for his tapasya on Mount Gandhamadana. Kalayavana’s soldiers were defeated by Sri Krishna.

Sri Krishna blessed the river Muchukunda to be a tributary to the Jeevanadi, Krishna, till the end of Kaliyuga. He blessed the Tapovana land of Muchukunda that it will always be a sacred place and would remain dear to him, whenever he is tired, he would come and take rest here! it is believed by devotees that Sri Venkateswara on his journey from Tirumala Tirupathi to Kolhapur Mahalakshmi temple rests in the region, because of the boon he gave to his devotee Muchukunda.

D. Shravan