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Ghatotkacha (Sanskrit: घटोत्कच, IAST: Ghaṭotkaca, literally: "Bald Pot") is an important character in the Mahabharata.[1] His name comes from the fact that his head was Hairless (utkaca) and shaped like a ghatam.[2] Ghatotkacha was the son of the Pandava Bhima and the rakshasi Hidimbi.

Karna Ghatotkacha fight sculpture, Kota Rajasthan India.jpg
Ghatotkacha standing on horses in a fight with Karna, an artwork in Kota, Rajasthan, India

He is the father of Barbarika, Anjanaparvan, and Meghavarna. His second son Anjanaparvan participated in the war. His maternal parentage made him half-rakshasa, which granted him several magical abilities such as the ability to fly, to increase or decrease in size and to become invisible. He was an important fighter from the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra war and caused a great deal of destruction to the Kaurava army on the fourteenth night. Ghatotkacha killed many rakshasas Indonesia Alambusha and many gigantic Asuras. He is killed by Karna with Indra's missile.


Bhimsen and Ghatotkacha

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 Forest. 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's weapon of choice was the mace. Lord Krishna gave him a boon that no one in the world would be able to match his sorcery skills, except for Krishna himself.[3] His wife was Ahilawati and his sons were Barbarika, Anjanaparvan, and Meghvarna.[citation needed]

Hidimbi's dinner requestEdit

One day Hidimbi asked Ghatotkacha to fetch a human for her dinner. On his way to do so, he spotted a Brahmin and his wife traveling with their three children. Ghatotkacha approached them and asked which one of them should come with him to be his mother's sacrifice to Kali.

The Brahmin offered himself but his wife insisted that she would go. Finally, their second son agreed to go with Ghatotkacha and asked his permission to first bathe in the river Ganga. Bhima comes upon the scene and inquired as to what was the matter. Ghatotkacha then relayed the scenario to Bhima, who agreed to go with him on the condition that Ghatotkacha should defeat him in a fight.[citation needed]

Fight with BhimaEdit

The fight began with both father and son fighting barehanded. After days of fighting, both of them exhausted, they were stopped by Hidimbi. Hidimbi informed Ghatotkacha that Bhima is his father. Ghatotkacha fell at the feet of his father Bhima who embraced and praised his son, telling him that seldom has he fought anyone who could match him in terms of strength. Bhima also criticizes his wife and son for following the practice of human sacrifice.

Kurukshetra WarEdit

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 using his power of illusion, even scaring away warriors like Duryodhana and Karna. On the 7th day, Ghatotkacha comes into conflict with Ashwatthama, who was attempting to rally the fleeing soldiers. After dispelling Ghatotkacha's illusion, he managed to knock the rakshasa unconscious. After coming to his senses, Ghatotkacha became furious and fought with Ashwatthama in a long duel. During the fight, both combatants used their celestial weapons, but the mighty asura wasn't able to withstand the attack of the other and was forced to flee.

After the death of Jayadratha on the fourteenth day, when the battle continued past sunset, Ghatotkacha truly shined; his powers were at their most effective at night as rakshasas become endued with unlimited prowess, great might, and courage. Along with his asura troops, Ghatotkacha attacked the Kauravas at full power.

Eventually, a fight took place between Karna and Ghatotkacha. Upon seeing his efforts against the gigantic asura turn futile, Karna invoked his celestial weapons. Beholding a celestial weapon aimed at him, the foremost of all rakshasas used his illusion to surrounded the Kaurava army. Beholding that, all kings with their sons and combatants, fled in fear. Only one among them -- Karna -- proud of the power of his weapons and nobility, managed to destroy all of Ghatotkacha's illusions. At the same time, Karna was unable to force Ghatotkacha to withdraw. Ghatotkacha forged a fierce and terrible illusion into existence. He turned invisible and deceptively began to tear away large number of arrows and other celestial weapons at the Kaurava army, injuring Duryodhana in the process.

With no other option, and with the Kaurava army on the verge of revolt, Karna invoked into existence that terrible Shakti, which he had planned to use on Arjuna. Karna hurled the weapon at the rakshasa destroying his illusion and piercing him before it returned to Indra.

Mortally wounded, Ghatotkacha rose to the sky. In the midst of dying, he managed to enlarge his body, crushing one akshauhini of the Kaurava army by his weight as he fell.[4] The Pandavas were filled with grief at Ghatotkacha's death, while Vasudeva danced at the knowledge that Karna could no longer use the Shakti against Arjuna.


In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Datta, Amaresh (1 January 2006). "The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj to Jyoti)". ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Dutt, Romesh. "Maha-Bharata, The Epic of Ancient Indi". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ Amar Chitra Katha #592, ISBN 9788184821994
  5. ^ "Ghatothkach, Cannes-bound!". Rediff. Retrieved 5 June 2019.

External linksEdit