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Hidimbi in human form
Hidimba meets Bhima
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The story began after the Pandavas escaped from the Lakshagraha and reached a dense forest. Tired and exhausted, they all fell asleep at night except Bhima who kept a watch. In the same forest lived Hidimbi along with her Rakshasa brother Hidimba who was a very powerful demon. He smelled the Pandavas resting at a distance and as usual asked Hidimbi to lure the well-built Bhima into getting eaten. Hidimbi confronted Bhima and instead fell in love with him. She assumed the form of a very beautiful lady, approached Bhima and expressed her desire to marry him. She also revealed her true identity and her brother's intentions. Bhima refused to accept her as his wife and confronted Hidimba. A great fight took place which resulted in Hidimba getting killed.
Bhima marries Hidimbi
After killing Hidimba, Bhima wanted to kill Hidimbi too as he thought that she might want to avenge her brother's death. Yudhishthira stopped Bhima from committing such a deed. Hidimbi then begged Kunti to allow Bhima to marry her as she was deeply in love with him and also because she was all alone now. Kunti ordered Bhima to marry Hidimbi. Bhima agreed on the condition that he could leave her once she bore a child with him. Hidimbi agreed and they got married. Within a year, Hidimbi gave birth to a son. They named him Ghatotkacha as his head resembled a pot. Ghatotkacha went on to become a great warrior and an important figure in the Mahabharata war.
Madhyamavyayoga or Madhyama Vyāyoga (Hindi: मध्यमव्याbयोग), (English: The Middle One) is a great Sanskrit play attributed to Bhāsa. The story is about the reunion of Bhima and Ghatokach as father and son that takes place under the pretext of Hidimba's desire for human flesh. While the characters in this tale are taken from the Mahabharata, this particular incidence is solely a product of Bhasa.
- Hidimba Devi temple, Manali
Currently there are a few temples dedicated to Hidimbi Devi in Himachal Pradesh. The most famous Hidimbi Devi temple is in Manali (see Hidimba temple, Manali). The temple houses chariots, a small statue and footprints. Hidimba is one of the most powerful and spiritualist deities in Kullu valley. The pagoda type wooden temple with intricately carved wooden doors and a 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 can never again produce such beautiful work anywhere else. It is also situated in a deodar forest.
Every year the followers travel to the nearby town of Kullu to participate in the festival of Dussehra, where Hidimba's chariot leads a rally of gods from all over Kullu valley escorting the main chariot of Raghunath (Lord Rama). At the end of the seven day festivities on the "Lanka Dahan" day some sacrifices are made to Hidimba. Hidimbi's son Ghatotakacha is a popular deity in the nearby Banjar and Siraj valley.
- Dimapur in Assam is named after Hidimba. It is a corruption of the name Hidimbapur. Dimapur was the first capital of the Dimasa Kachari Kingdom. Located in HP.
- Fight between Hidimba and Bhima is believed to have happened in the forest area of Vijaynagar, Sabarkantha district in Gujarat. There are few other places elsewhere in India which claim as the place of Hidimbi.
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