Shakuntala is a play written in Sanskrit by the ancient Indian playwright and poet Kalidasa. It tells the story of Shakuntala, a beautiful and virtuous young woman who lives in a forest as the adopted daughter of the sage Kanva. One day, the king of Hastinapura, Dushyanta, goes hunting in the forest and comes across Shakuntala. The two fall in love and exchange vows of eternal fidelity.
Dushyanta then has to leave to attend to his royal duties, but promises to return for Shakuntala and take her as his queen. Shakuntala spends her days dreaming of Dushyanta’s return and is often lost in thought. One day, a group of hermitage dwellers arrive and Shakuntala neglects to offer them hospitality, being too preoccupied with thoughts of Dushyanta. As a result, the leader of the hermitage dwellers, Durvasa, curses Shakuntala, causing Dushyanta to forget about her entirely.
Shakuntala eventually gives birth to a son, but is banished from the hermitage by Kanva due to the scandal caused by her pregnancy. She returns to her father’s court, where Dushyanta eventually remembers her and seeks her out. However, the gods intervene to test their love, causing many difficulties to arise before the two are finally reunited and live happily ever after.
The play is a beautiful story of love, separation, and eventual reunion, and is considered a masterpiece of ancient Indian literature. It is still widely read and performed today, and has been adapted into many different forms and languages over the centuries.