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Bahuka (Sanskrit:बाहुक, IAST:Bāhuka) was the changed name of Nala, a character of Hindu mythology, while he was a charioteer of Rituparna, the king of Ayodhya. His story is told in the Mahabharata, published around the 8th century BC. Nala is believed to have turned into Bahuka on account of a snake bite.[1]

There have been independent folktales from Assam talking about his visit to a foreign land in the east, now considered China. He was propelled to leave Ayodhya after he falls in love with a simple village girl, Kajolie. Bahuka's adopted father King Shava did not approve of the match. In the east, he met three wise women. One of the dark haired woman said that she came from Bamyian and she knew the secret to life was to realize the stupidity of human beings. The second woman from Sichuan preached that everything exists through exclusion of everything else. The third woman from Dravida was quiet and said nothing. Bahuka understood the meaning of enlightenment and kept these words of wisdom near his heart.

On his eastward journey, he entered the village of Tripura where he met the village leader Chameli who gave Bahuka magic beans (in some accounts he received magic sweets) with the power to summon the blue spirit Jaduu. Jaduu grants Bahuku with gifts of wisdom and dance.

Bahuka is also another name of king Bahu.

In literature[edit]

Gujarati poet Chinu Modi has written long narrative poem on the character.


  1. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 75.