A mughal depiction of Ghatotkacha (top) getting killed by Karna (top left)
Ghatotkacha (Sanskrit: घटोत्कच Ghaṭōtkaca "Bald Pot") is an important character in the Mahabharata. His name comes from his head, which was hairless (utkaca) and shaped like a ghatam. Ghatotkacha was the son of Bhima and Hidimbi, a rakshasi.
Ghatotkacha is the father of Barbarika, Anjanaparvan, and Meghavarna. Only Anjanaparvan participated in the war.
His maternal parentage made him half-Rakshasa and gave him many magical powers such as the ability to fly, to increase or decrease his size and to become invisible. He was an important fighter from the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra war.
Ghatotkacha was born to Hidimbi and the Pandava Bhima. When traveling the countryside with his brothers and mother as a brahmin, having escaped the lakshagraha, Bhima saved Hidimbi from her wicked brother Hidimba, the king of demons of Kamyaka. Soon after Ghatotkacha was born, Bhima had to leave his family, as he still had duties to complete at Hastinapura. Ghatotkacha grew up under the care of Hidimbi. Like his father Ghatotkacha primarily fought with the mace. Lord Krishna gave him a boon that no one in the world would be able to match his sorcery skills (except Krishna himself). His wife was Ahilawati and his sons were Barbarika, Anjanaparvan, and Meghvarna.
Hidimbi's dinner request
One day Hidimbi asks Ghatotkacha to bring a human for her dinner. On the way, he saw a Brahmin and his wife going somewhere with their three children. Ghatotkacha went to them and asked that any one of them should come with him for his Mother's dinner. The Brahmin offered himself but his wife insisted that she wants to go. At last their second son agreed to go with Ghatotkacha and asked his permission to have a bath in the river Ganga. After a few hours, Ghototkacha starts looking for the boy and screams calling him as Madhyama. Bhima hears the scream and enquires as to what is the matter. Ghatotkacha then narrates everything to Bhima who agrees to go with him on one condition -That Ghatotkacha defeats him in a fight.
Fight with Bhima
The fight begins with both father and son fighting barehanded. After days of fighting both of them got tired and were interrupted by Hidimbi who stops the fight between the two equally strong warriors. Hidimbi tells Ghatotkacha that Bhim is his father and Ghatotkacha upon hearing this, falls at the feet of his Father Bhima who then embraces his son and tells him that seldom has he fought anyone who could match him in terms of strength. At the same time, he rebukes his son and wife for their practice of eating humans.
In the Mahābhārata, Ghatotkacha was summoned by Bhima to fight on the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra battle. Invoking his magical powers, he wrought great havoc in the Kaurava army. In particular, after the death of Jayadratha on the fourteenth day of battle, when the battle continued on past sunset, his powers were at their most effective.
At this point in the battle, being badly beaten by Ghatotkacha's attacks, the Kaurava leader Duryodhana appealed to Karna to use his divine weapon called the Vasavi Shakti. The Vasavi Shakti had been granted to Karna by the god Indra, but under the condition that Karna could only use it once. Karna had been saving it for his battle with Arjuna but realized he had no choice and hurled the weapon at Ghatotkacha. Mortally wounded, Ghatotkacha flew into the air and caused his body to grow to a gigantic size, so when he fell to the ground he crushed one akshauhini of the Kaurava army. After his death Krishna was glad Karna no longer had Vasavi Sakthi to use against Arjuna.
In popular culture
- There is a temple built in Champawat, Uttrakhand where it is meant his head fell after he was killed by Karna in battle of Mahabharata.
- There is a temple built to honor Ghatotkacha in Manali, Himachal Pradesh near the Hidimba Devi Temple.
- A 2008 animated film Ghatothkach was based on his life. It was directed by Singeetham Srinivas Rao.compared to the original source he survives
- Ketan Karande played Ghatotkacha in 2013 TV Series Mahabharat.
- Razaq Khan played Ghatotkacha in 1988 TV Series Mahabharat.
- Ghatothkacha is a playable Character in the game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
- Datta, Amaresh (2006-01-01). "The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj to Jyoti)". ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2006.
- Dutt, Romesh. "Maha-Bharata, The Epic of Ancient Indi".
- Amar Chitra Katha #592, ISBN 9788184821994
- www.wisdomlib.org (2015-01-10). "The Death of Ghatotkacha [Chapter 10]". Wisdom Library. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
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