THE IMMORTALS OF

MELUHA

by Amish Tripathi



Meluha is a near perfect empire, created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest kings that ever lived. However, the once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe crisis as its primary river, Saraswati, was slowly drying to extinction. They also face devastating attacks from the Chandravanshis who have joined forces with the Nagas, a cursed race of people with physical deformities. The present Meluhan king, Daksha, sends his emissaries to North India in Tibet, to invite the local tribes to Meluha. Shiva, chief of the Guna tribe, accepts the proposal and moves to Meluha with his people. Once reached they are received by Ayurvati, the Chief of Medicine of the Meluhans. The Gunas are impressed with the Meluhan way of life. On their first night of stay the tribe wake up with high fever and sweating. The Meluhan doctors administer medicine.

Ayurvati finds out that Shiva is the only one devoid of these symptoms and that his throat has turned blue. The Meluhans announce Shiva as the Neelkanth, their fabled saviour. Shiva is then taken to Devagiri, the capital city of Meluha, where he meets Daksha. While staying there, Shiva and his comrades, Nandi and Veerbhadra, encounter Princess Sati, the daughter of Daksha. She is a Vikarma, an untouchable person due to sins committed in her previous births. Shiva tries to court her, but she rejects his advances. Ultimately Shiva wins her heart and even though the Vikarma rule prohibits them from doing so, an enraged Shiva vows to dissolve it and marries Sati.

During his stay in Devagiri, Shiva comes to know of the war with the Chandravanshis and also meets Brahaspati, the Chief Inventor of the Meluhans. Brahaspati invites Shiva and the royal family on an expedition to Mount Mandar, where the legendary drink Somras is manufactured using the waters of the Saraswati. Shiva learns that the potion which made his throat turn blue was actually undiluted Somras, which can be lethal when taken in its pure form. But he was safe, indicating him to be the Neelkanth. Somras has anti-ageing properties making the Meluhans lived for many years. Brahaspati and Shiva develop a close friendship and the royal family returns to Devagiri. One morning, the Meluhans wake up to a blast that took place at Mandar, destroying parts of the mountain and killing the scientists living there. There is no sign of Brahaspati, but Shiva finds the insignia of the Nagas, confirming their involvement with the Chandravanshis.

Enraged by this, Shiva declares war on the Chandravanshis at Swadweep, consulting with Devagiri Chief Minister Kanakhala and the Head of Meluhan Army, Parvateshwar. A fierce battle is fought between the Meluhans and the Swadweepans in which the Meluhans prevail. The Chandravanshi king is captured but becomes enraged upon seeing the Neelkanth. The Chandravanshi princess Anandmayi explains that they too had a similar legend that the Neelkanth will come forward to save their land by launching an assault against the "evil" Suryavanshis. Hearing this, Shiva is dumbfounded and utterly distressed. With Sati he visits the famous Ram temple of Ayodhya, the capital of Swadweep. There he has a philosophical discussion with the priest about his karma, fate and his choices in life, which would guide him in future. As Shiva comes out of the temple, he finds Sati being kidnapped by a Naga.