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Hiḍimbī (Sanskrit:हिडिम्बी, IAST: Hiḍimbī), or Hiḍimbā, is the wife of the Pandava Bhima and mother of greatest warrior Veer Ghatotkacha in the Mahābhārata. She meets Bhima in the 9th sub-parva (Hidimva-vadha Parva) of the Adi Parva.
She is also referred to as Bhuṭandevī (भुटनदेवी) or Pallavī (पल्लवी).
Hiḍimbā meets Bhīma
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In the same forest lived Hiḍimbī and her brother Hiḍimbā, a very powerful rakshasa. He smelled the Pāṇḍavās at a distance and as usual asked the goddess Hiḍimbī to lure the well-built Bhīma into a trap so he could eat him. Hiḍimbī confronted Bhīma and instead fell in love with him. She assumed the form of a very beautiful lady and approached Bhīma, expressing her desire to marry him by revealing her true identity, as well as her brother's intentions. Bhīma confronted Hiḍimbā but was soon overpowered. It was only with the supernatural powers of Hiḍimbī, supporting Bhīma from a distance, that he could overcome and slay Hiḍimbā. Kuntī and other Pāṇḍavās all watched the dual from a distance.
Bhīma marries Hiḍimbī
After killing Hiḍimbā, Kuntī ordered Bhīma to marry Hiḍimbī. Bhīma agreed on the condition that he could leave her once she bore a child. Hiḍimbī agreed and they married. Within a year, Hiḍimbī gave birth to a son. They named him Ghaṭotkaca as his head resembled a pot. Ghaṭotkaca went on to become a great warrior and an important figure in the Mahābhārata war.
The Madhyamavyayoga or Madhyama Vyāyoga (Sanskrit: मध्यमव्यायोग, Madhyamavyāyoga) (English:The Middle One) is a great Sanskrit play attributed to Bhāsa. The story is about the reunion of Bhīma and Ghaṭotkaca as father and son that takes place under the pretext of Hiḍimbā's desire for human flesh. While the characters in this tale are taken from the Mahābhārata, this particular incident is produced solely from the works of Bhāsa.
- It is believed the fight between Hiḍimbā and Bhīma took place in the forest area of Hetauda. The name "Hetauda" is believed to be named after Hiḍimbā. Hiḍimbī is worshiped as Bhuṭandevi at the Bhutandevi Mandir.
The most famous temple is the Hiḍimbā Devi Temple in Manali. Some of the sacred objects enshrined here include chariots, footprints and a small statue. Hiḍimbā is one of the most powerful deities in Kullu Valley. The pagoda-shaped wooden temple, with its intricately-carved wooden doors and wooden shikhara is believed to be over 500 years old. It is said that the carver of the artwork at this temple had his hands cut off after completion of his work so that he could never again produce such beautiful work anywhere else. It is also situated among the Deodar forests.
Believers may travel to the town of Kullu to participate in the annual festival of Dussehra, where Hiḍimbā's chariot leads a rally of gods from all over Kullu valley, escorting the main chariot of Raghunāth. At the end of the seven-day festivities, on the "Lanka Dahan" day, sacrifices are made to Hiḍimbā. Ghaṭotkaca is also a popular deity in the neighboring Banjar village and Siraj district.
- Dimapur in Nagaland is believed by some to be named after Hiḍimbā. There is a claim that it is a corruption of the name Hiḍimbāpur. Dimapur was the first capital of the Kachārī Kingdom.
- The fight between Hiḍimbā and Bhīma is believed to have happened in the forest area of Vijaynagar, Sabarkantha district in Gujarat.
- There are other places which claim to be the former home of Hiḍimbā such as Hiḍimbā Van.