Biography of Maharaja Harishchandra:

Harishchandra is a legendary Indian king of the Solar dynasty, who appears in several legends in texts such as the Aitareya Brahmana, Mahabharata, the Markandeya Purana, and the Devi Bhagavata Purana. He was the son of Raja Trishanku, belonging to the Suryavamsha or Ikshvaku dynasty. During a hunt in the forest, Raja Harishchandra once promised to help a brahmana with money for his son’s wedding. Harishchandra and his family were separated and sold into bondage. He gave away his kingdom, sold his family, and agreed to be a slave – all to fulfill a promise he had made to the sage Vishvamitra. Harishchandra’s life is narrated in detail in the Markandeya Purana, where he is described as being an embodiment of truth and honesty.
Background - Test of Truth - Sacrifice for Truth - Cultural Significance - Legacy of Maharaja Harishchandra
Maharaja Harishchandra

Maharaja Harishchandra is a legendary figure in Hindu mythology who is known for his unwavering commitment to truth and righteousness. His story is often cited as an example of extreme virtue, sacrifice, and adherence to dharma (righteousness). 

While there are variations in the retelling of the story, here is a general overview:


Maharaja Harishchandra was a king in ancient India, known for his noble and righteous rule.
He was renowned for his honesty, integrity, and commitment to truth.

Harishchandra’s Test of Truth:

The story revolves around a series of challenges and tests that Harishchandra faces to prove his commitment to truth.
Sage Vishwamitra, impressed by Harishchandra’s virtue, decides to test his adherence to truth by putting him through various trials.

Maharaja Harishchandra’s Sacrifice for Truth:

Harishchandra undergoes severe hardships and sacrifices to uphold truth. These include selling his kingdom, his wife, and even himself as a slave to fulfill his promises and adhere to dharma.
His wife, Queen Taramati, also willingly participates in these trials.

The Cremation Ground Episode:

Harishchandra eventually becomes a caretaker of a cremation ground, where he performs the duties of a Chandala (a low-caste cemetery worker) to fulfill his commitments.
During this time, he faces the challenge of performing the last rites for his son, who dies due to a snake bite.

Divine Intervention:

The story often involves divine interventions to test Harishchandra’s steadfastness in his commitment to truth.
Gods, impressed by his unwavering devotion, restore his kingdom and family.

Maharaja Harishchandra’s Legacy:

Maharaja Harishchandra’s story is often cited in Hindu philosophy and mythology as an exemplar of truthfulness and righteousness.
His sacrifice and adherence to dharma are considered exemplary, and his name is invoked as a symbol of honesty and integrity.

Cultural Significance:

The story of Maharaja Harishchandra is a popular theme in Indian literature, art, and drama.
It is often retold in various forms, including plays, movies, and television shows.
While the story of Maharaja Harishchandra is primarily known through Hindu mythology, its moral and ethical lessons have made it a timeless tale that transcends religious boundaries and serves as a source of inspiration for truth and righteousness.