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Vikramōrvaśīyam (Sanskrit: विक्रमोर्वशीयम्, meaning Urvashi Won by Valour[1]) is a Sanskrit play by ancient Indian poet Kalidasa who flourished in the 4th Century CE, on the Vedic love story of king Pururavas and celestial nymph Urvashi. The "Vikram" of the title is Chandragupta II who adopted the title "Vikramaditya", meaning "valiant as the Sun" – the name is chosen here to allude to how Pururavas reflects the qualities of Chandragupta.


Urvashi Pururavas, painting by Raja Ravi Varma.

King Pururavas falls in love with a celestial nymph named Urvashi. After writing her mortal suitor a love letter on a birch leaf, Urvashi returns to the heavens to perform in a celestial play. However, she is so smitten that she misses her cue and pronounces her lover's name during the performance. As a punishment for ruining the play, Urvashi is banished from heaven, but cursed to return the moment her human lover lays eyes on the child that she will bear him. After a series of mishaps, including Urvashi's temporary transformation into a vine, the curse is eventually lifted, and the lovers are allowed to remain together on Earth.

In popular culture[edit]

The story of a nymph marrying a noble-born human and leaving her celestial home has been used in 1957 Tamil film Manalane Mangayin Bhagyam

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Basham, A.L. (1981). The Wonder that was India, Calcutta:Rupa, p.437