Mahabharata-inspired literature

Since the time my best friend, also my room mate in college, narrated the original 'Yajnaseni' by Pratibha Ray(in Oriya)  to me (much before I read the translation), I have been fascinated with Mahabharata. This beautifully written book from Draupadi's perspective, made me curious about finding out other Mahabharata-inspired literature. And honestly, every time I read a different version, I discover something new.

I have tried to put together a list of Mahabharata-inspired literature, but, of course, it is far from exhaustive. Please feel free to drop in names of books which I should add here. 

  1. Adi Parva – Churning of the Queen by Amruta Patil
  2. After Kurukshetra by Mahasweta Devi
  3. And Now Let Me Sleep by P.K. Balakrishnan
  4. Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior by Anuja Chandramouli
  5. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan
  6. Duryodhan by Kaka Vidhate (original in Marathi)
  7. Gandhari Ki Atmakathha by Manu Sharma
  8. Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik
  9. Karna's Wife: The Outcast's Queen by Kavita Kane
  10. Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari
  11. Mahabharata by William Buck
  12. Mahabharat Ki Ek Saanjh by B.B.Aggarwal.
  13. Mrityunjaya, the death conqueror: The story of Karna by Sivaji Savanta (original in
  14. Parva by S.L. Bhyrappa
  15. Rethinking the Mahabharata by Alf Hiltebeitel
  16. The Aryavrata Chronicles: Govinda (Book 1)
  17. The Aryavarta Chronicles: Kaurava (Book 2)
  18. The Book of Yudhishthir
  19. The Boys who Fought by Devdutt Pattanaik
  20. The Cult of Draupadi Vol I by Alf Hiltebeitel
  21. The Cult of Draupadi Vol II by Alf Hiltebeitel
  22. The Difficulty of Being Good by Gurucharan Das
  23. The Forest of Stories by Ashok K. Banker (MBA1)
  24. The Great Golden Sacrifice of The Mahabharata (Hardcover) by Maggi Lidchi-Grassi
  25. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
  26. The Mahabharatha - a child's view by Samhita Arni
  27. The Mahabharata (2 Vols):A Modern Rendering 01 Edition (Hardcover) by Ramesh Menon
  28. The Mahabharata: An Inquiry in the Human Condition 1st Edition (Hardcover) by Chaturvedi Badrinath
  29. The Mahabharata: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic (Paperback) by R. K. Narayan
  30. The Mahabharata (Volume - 1) by Bibek Debroy
  31. The Mahabharata by Meera Uberoi
  32. The Mahabharata: Re-Imagined by Trisha Das
  33. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  34. The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattnaik
  35. The Puffin Mahabharata by Namita Gokhale
  36. The Second Turn by M.T.Vasudevan Nair (original in Malyalam)
  37. The Seeds of War by Ashok K. Banker (MBA2)
  38. Thus Spake Bhishma by M.M.Thakur
  39. Women of the Mahabharata by Badrinath Chaturvedi
  40. Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray
  41. Yudhishthir and Draupadi by Pavan K. Varma
  42. Yugandhar by Shivaji Sawant
  43. Yuganta by Irawati Karve


  1. FINALLY!!! Awesome this list is...I would like to one more:
    The Difficulty of being good by Gurcharan Das

    1. Hey, thank you so much for reminding. I don't know how I forgot that. I have it :-)

  2. The Aryavarta Chronicles: Govinda (Book - 1) by Krishna Udayasankar

    1. Hey thanks. I have this book. I don't know how I missed it.

  3. Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior by Anuja Chandramouli

    1. Oh! Thank you. I know about this book. I have an e-book too of this one and yet I missed it here :-)

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  5. One of the best ones that I have read, the original is in Malayalam and just awesome, here is the translation - Bhima: Lone Warrior

    1. I think the book called 'Second Turn' is the same as the one you mentioned. Because it was also written originally in Malayalam by MT Vasudevan. And I searched for it far and wide, got it a few years back. It was good. I have read the English version.

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you! Most are in other languages. Thank god, for translations!

  7. Great Post, will revisit this list again and again.
    I am currently reading P.K.Balakrishnan's 'And Now Let me sleep' - which is an English translation of malayalam classic novel 'Ini Njan Orangatte'.
    Very interesting read and almost poetic read so far.

  8. I don't think you have "Karna's Wife: The Outcast's Queen" by Kavita Kane on this list. Though I haven't read it yet, I fully intend to! Seems interesting! Oh, and great list!

  9. The Pallace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakarauni.
    It describes the happenings from the viewpoint of Draupadi. A beautiful read.

  10. Add this book also in the list. Its kind of orthodox killing the monotony of writing books from protagonist perspective. "Asura Tales Of The Vanquished: The Story Of Ravana And His People" by Anand Neelakantan.

  11. Thank you, very interesting and helpful. There is "Parthayana" by Helen Creese.

  12. One more to add to the list - "Sons of Gods - The Mahabharata" retold by Aruna Sharan

  13. "Ajaya" by Anand Neelkantan..a very engaging and beautifully written book...Story of Mahabharata interpreted from Duryodhana's perspective...Highly recommended !

  14. Stumbled upon you book looking for Mahabharata inspired writing. Great list.Will use it as my reference.

  15. I too felt like compiling a similar list a year ago and completed just recently. Since there is no dearth of title available for this grand epic, readers are often baffled with umpteen choices they have before them. Hence, I appreciate any list like such. Being a Mahabharat lover, I presume you'll like this too (all given with mini reviews):

    1. I just discovered your list today. I don't know why I did not see this earlier but liked your list. I have been planning to rework on this page for sometime. I have read quite a few of them but it never feels repetitive.

  16. I think the Mahabharata by Bibek Debroy is not under the category of Mahabharata inspired literature. It is a translation of BORI Sanskrit Critical Edition. The only Translation of Critical edition available now.


    Arjun: Without A Doubt by Dr Shinde Sweety

    It was nice and told from the perspective ofArjuna, Draupadi and Krishna.