The story of Nala and Damayanti is one of the episodes narrated in the Mahabharata, the
great epic of India. Yudhishthira after losing his all in a game of dice, had to retire to
the jungle, along with his brothers. There a Rishi tells him the story of Nala and
Nala was brave, handsome and skilled in the use of arms and the management of
horses. Damayanti, the only daughter of the King of Vidarbha (Eastern Maharashtra) was
beautiful and accomplished. When Nala heard of her beauty he began pining for her. The
delicate job of conveying his love to his beloved was done remarkably well by a swan.
Damayanti too began pinning for her unseen lover. The story has so much romance and pathos
in it that it has attracted the attention of writers and poets not only in India, but also
in distant lands. It is well known in the West, from having been translated into Latin by
Bopp, and into English verse by Dean Milman.
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