Parva (novel)

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19th edition of the novel, released in 2017
AuthorS. L. Bhyrappa
PublisherSahitya Bhandara, Bangalore
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback & Hardback)
894/.81437 20
LC ClassPL4659.B436 P313 1994
Preceded byAnveshana (1976) 
Followed byNele (1983) 
WebsiteOfficial website

Parva (Epoch / Age) is a Kannada language novel written by S. L. Bhyrappa based on the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. It is a non-mythological retelling of the Mahabharata and is widely acclaimed as a modern classic.[1] The story of the Mahabharata in Parva is narrated in the form of personal reflections of some of the principal characters of the epic. Parva is unique in terms of the complete absence of any episode that has the element of divine intervention found in the original.

Considered to be Bhyrappa's greatest work, Parva remains one of Bhyrappa's widely debated and popular works.


In an essay titled Parva Baredaddu (How I wrote Parva),[2] Bhyrappa provides detailed information about how he wrote Parva.

Bhyrappa's friend, Dr. A Narayanappa initially urged the author to write his conception of the Mahabharata as a novel. The author recounts that he finalized the decision to write Parva during a tour in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas. He stayed at a village where polyandry was practiced. Further research revealed that the practice persisted in that region from the time of Draupadi. Bhyrappa recounts how this experience led him to briefly visit several places in North India mentioned in the original Mahabharata.

Bhyrappa subsequently moved to a new job in Mysore. In Parva Baredaddu, he narrates how the novel "stayed in his mind," and "forced" him to apply for unpaid vacation from work to begin research. His research covered multiple perspectives including the historicity of the Mahabharata, geography of India (or Bharatavarsha as it was then known), anthropological aspects of the time, techniques of warfare, and philosophical concepts. Bhyrappa visited most of the places listed in the epic over a period of more than a year. He visited the Yadava capital Dwaraka (now believed to be submerged[3]), Lothal, Rajasthan, Rajagriha, Kurukshetra, Old Delhi, and parts of the Panchala territory.


Parva has been translated into the following major Indian languages; Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit, apart from English. Parva was translated to Tamil as Paruvam and to Telugu and Marathi as Parva, both of which went on to win the Sahitya Akademi's translation award in the year 2004. [4] The book was translated to English by K. Raghavendra Rao and named as Parva (A tale of war, peace, love, death, god and man). As of December 2020, Rangayana, a theatre repertory in Mysuru is rehearsing to present the novel in the format of a play. The play being directed by Mr.Prakash Belawadi is 7 hours long and is scheduled to be premiering in the last week of February 2021 at Mysuru.


The novel narrates the story of Mahabharata mostly using monologue as a literary technique. Several principal characters found in the original Mahabharata reminisce almost their entire lives. Both the setting and the context for the reminiscence is the onset of the Kurukshetra War. The novel begins with a conversation in the court of Madra desha. It was the time when the preparations of war had just begun. The episode is followed by reminiscences of Kunti, Draupadi, Bheema and Arjuna. The next part of novel discusses the war from a rational view.[5] The novel seeks to reconstruct the disintegration of a vast community involving the Kauravas and Pandavas.[6]


Parva has won the Deraje award.[7]

See also[edit]

S.L. Bhyrappa's novels[edit]

S.L. Bhyrappa's autobiography[edit]


  1. ^ Bhitti, Sahitya Bhandara, Bangalore
  2. ^ Essay titled, Parva Baredaddu (How I wrote Parva) Naaneke Bareyuttene, Sahitya Bhandara, Bangalore
  3. ^ The Lost City of Dvaraka, S.R. Rao, Aditya Prakashan, India, 1999, ISBN 8186471480
  4. ^ "Books for Translation Prize get Sahitya Akademi's nod". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2005-02-16. Chennai, India. 16 February 2005. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  5. ^ "NTR award to be given away tomorrow". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2007-05-27. Chennai, India. 27 May 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  6. ^ Various authors, Sahitya Akademi (1987), p430
  7. ^ Bhyrappa to receive Deraje Award,, The Hindu