Mahabharata is a Sanskrit poem that is commonly referred to as an epic. However, Hindus think of it more as a history. As you will notice the Ramayana story is much more popular in Bali to us for wood carvings. It is one of the most important sources of the development of Hinduism between 400 BCE and 200 CE. The poem is made of 100,000 couplets and full of mythological and moral references. in a glance, two families vie for the throne of Hastinapura. These families, the Kauravas and the Pandavas, disagree about the proper line of succession. Most of the epic tale concerns the war between them, which culminates in the great battle of Kurukshetra. In the end, the Pandavas are victorious.
Am not going to bother you with the whole story that would be impossible to, I will only put the headlines in a readable summary below and I will put details of the story by the wood carvings itself if.
The story is set around Hastinapur, a city in Uttar Pradesh, India. There is a considerable scrimmage for the throne of Hastinapur between two brothers born to Vichitravrya, Pandu and Dhritrashtra. Dhritrashtra who was born blind always suffered from inferiority complex and grows up into a malicious and vindictive man. On the other hand, Pandu, a generous and liberal man qualifies to become the king. He marries Kunti but is unfortunately cursed by a sage that he will die if he consummated his marriage. Therefore, he chooses to leave the kingdom to Dhritrashtra and go into the forest along with his two wives. Dhritrashtra marries Gandhari and gives birth to hundred sons called Kauravas.
Years ago, pleased with Kunti's services Durvasa gave her a mantra by the virtue of which she could ask for anything and that would appear in front of her in human form. Curious Kunti decided to test the mantra and called Sun god who appeared in front of her only to leave unwedded Kunti with a son named Karna. Karna was set afloat in a river by his mother, Kunti. Kunti uses the mantra again into the forest seeing her agonized husband and gives birth to Yudhisthira, Bhima and Arjun. She passed on her divine energy to the second wife of Pandu, Madri who became a mother of Nakul and Sehdeva later. Hence the five brothers came to be known as Pandavas.
Aroused by passion, Pandu and Madri consummated their marriage and hence Pandu died. Kunti returns to Hastinapur after regretful Madri burns herself. There she finds that Kauravas have grown up and Shakuni, Gandhari's brother resides with them. Pandavas who are the rightful heirs to the throne are not welcomed in Hastinapur. Duryodhana, the eldest of Kauravas despises the Pandavas and plans death for them along with his venomous uncle, Shakuni. They decide to kill the brothers along with their mother in a palace made of wax specially designed by Shakuni but fortunately the quick-witted Pandavas manage to escape the trap. They hide into the forest where Arjuna marries Draupadi and Bhima marries Hidimba. Being unaware of what Arjuna has won, Kunti simply asks him to share his victory among other brothers. Hence Kunti became a common wife of the five brothers. After escaping a number of traps laid by the Kauravas the five brother return to Hastinapur to claim half of the kingdom. They move to Khandavprastha, later re-named Indraprastha.
Duryodhan vows to demean Draupadi after being insulted by her. Manipulative Shakuni takes advantage out of the Yudhisthira's weakness of gambling and invites the Pandavas for a game. He tricks them into gambling away all their entire kingdom, wealth and their common wife, Draupadi. While Duryodhana tries to disrobe her, Lord Krishna comes and saves her honor. The elders of the court sent the Pandavas to exile for twelve years, in addition to one year incognito.
After thirteen years, Pandavas come back to claim their kingdom to which Kauravas completely refused. This resulted in the biggest war ever fought - The Kurukshetra War. Every king had to choose sides. Duryodhan was on the side of Lord Krishna's army while Pandavas were on the side of Kishanji. The people saw terror all around. The two mothers, Kunti and Gandhari blessed their sons with celestial weapons. The war lasted eighteen days after going through the death of Bhishma, Abhimanyu, Dushasana, Drona, Karna and Duryodhana. After a lot of chaos and bloodshed, the war ended with the kingship of Yudhisthira. Dharma won inviting Yudhisthira, the lone survivor to enter the heaven as mortal.