Mahabharata scroll digitisation

section of the Mahabharata scroll

The Mahabharata scroll in the CRC Collections at The University of Edinburgh, dated back to 1795CE, has gone through restoration and digitisation and is available for anyone to view, download, and re-use under and open Creative Commons licence.

The record description of the Mahabharata scroll reads:

One of two major Sanskrit epics of Ancient India, the Mahabharata tells the tale of a dynastic struggle between two sets of cousins for control of the Bharata kingdom in central India. One of the longest poems ever written, eclipsed only by the Gesar Epic of Tibet, it is said to have been composed between 900 and 400BCE by the sage Vyasa, although, in reality, it is likely to have been created by a number of individuals. To Hindus, it is important in terms of both dharma (moral law) and history (itihasa), as its themes are often didactic. This scroll dates to 1795CE and was donated to Edinburgh University in 1821 by Colonel Walker of Bowland. It is 13.5cm wide a

nd 72m long and has 78 miniatures of varying sizes. All of the illustrations are in the late Mughul or Kangra style, with gold backgrounds and floral patterning in red, white and gold, as well as green leaves and blue diamond-shaped designs.


Mahabharata, unpaginated detail, University of Edinburgh, CC BY

Click here to view the digitised scroll in it’s entire length

Click here to view individual digitised images of sections of the Mahabharata scroll


In addition the Library and Centre for Research Collections have created, and open licensed, a video explaining the importance of the Mahabharata scroll, and the process it went through for restoration and digitisation.

Mahabharata Digitisation Project

Click here to view ‘Mahabharata Digitisation Project’ directly on Media Hopper Create



Header Image: Mahabharata Scroll Section 42, The University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collection, CC BY licence