Kalidasa: An Introduction

Kalidasa: An Introduction

Glimpses of Botany in Gupta period (3rd Century AD to 8th Century AD   -6

BOTANY History of Indian Subcontinent –133

Information Compiler: Bhishma Kukreti

Works of Kalidasa are studied the most after Ramayana and Mahabharata in Indian literature. Kalidasa also described the flora and fauna of Himalaya in his literature related to Himalayan region. In coming chapters, the description of flora in Kalidasa literature will be discussed.

Kalidasa was one of the supreme Sanskrit poets and playwright. In introductory note,  W. J. Johnson declared  Kalidasa as the greatest writer India produced. (1) There is no agreement about his birth place. This author logically proved that Kalidasa was born in Kaviltha (Chamoli Garhwal) Uttarakhand. There is also no full knowledge about his life but it is certain that Kalidasa had been there before 5th century or at most 6th century.

Scholars such as Sada Nand Jakhmola, Dr Shiva Nand Nautiyal, Dharma Nand Jamloki and this author proved that the birthplace of Kalidasa was Kaviltha (2). Shailesh Bhatt also logically proved that Kalidasa was born in Garhwal (3.)

Works by Kalidasa

Plays by Kalidasa:

1-Kalidasa wrote three plays
Malvavikagnimitram (related to Malavika and Agnimitra)  -The story is king Agnimitra falling in love for Malvika.

2-Abhijnanashakuntalam (The story is taken from Mahabharata and is about King Dushyanta, Shakuntala)

Vikramoorvasiyam- the story of King Pururavas falls  in love with nymph Urvashi.

Epics by Kalidasa

1-Raghuvanshama –The story of Raghu dynasty

Kumarsambhava – Story of Kartikeya the son of Shiva

Minor Poems –

Kalidasa also created Khanda Kavya (Minor poems) as –

Descriptive Ritusamhara (love and sixteen seasons)

Elegiac – Meghadoota or  loud as messenger

The works of Kalidasa are very important in Sanskrit and Indian literature and at the same time the works of Kalidasa are important for knowing the contemporary knowledge of Plant taxonomy and applied Botany. The works by Kalidasa is also important for getting knowledge of Himalayan plants of the Kalidasa period.


1-Kalidasa, The Recognition of Shakuntala: A Play in seven Acts , 2001, Oxford University press pp IX

2-meraphadforum.com /religious-places-of-uttarkhand/kaviltha-birth-place-of kalidas/ (page searched on 31/7/20120)

3-Shailesh H.D. Bhatt, The story of Kalidasa Publication Division Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

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