When we first came with Krishna he had been bitter at the desolation of the ruined city; trees grew through palace roofs and burst the walls. The ruins had been full of creepers that spiraled up to suck the life from man-made things. With help from Daruka, and with Bheema and his teams wielding jungle in a single summer, we levelled land so that the sun looked on it for the first time in a cycle of a hundred years.
To build something wholly new is to reach towards the All-Creator. We had the sense of that with Krishna there beside us. And in the end we were more happy in the making of our city than if we had been given ten Hastinapuras ready-made. We knew then, as we felled timber and hewed stone, that there was something dark and rotten in Hastina. We did not try to copy it. Krishna inspired artisans from Dwaraka to build a city that was full of light. No one should feel fear in it.
"Renewal," he said, "was to omit that which no longer served." The day we laid the cornerstone for my Yuddhashala had been the happiest day of my life. Nakula and Sahadeva built the stables. And the forest horses, knowing that a home awaited, came to us, one by one at first, and then in tens; then in their many hundreds. Had they heard what Krishna said of freedom? They learned to draw the chariots as though born to it. And the chariots made from the wood of our acacia trees and designed by Maya, were more glorious than any we had seen. Soon we had twice as many wheels as Hastina ever had.
When I set foot in Hastina's crystal palace the thousand pillars bulged with evil. Each pillar held a different menace. Its light was dimmed by man himself. It was not that we had built Indraprastha higher than Hastina but the sky was freer here. The clouds sailed its heavens joyously and today they moved like dancers on light feet and showered benedictions on us. Indraprastha could be soiled by nobody and nothing. It had been built on Krishna's courage, and faith and indomitable will. There was no place for intrigue and suspicion, there were no poisonings in it.
Excerpt from The Legs of the Tortoise by Maggi Lidchi Grassi