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Ghatotkacha : The Divine Rakshasa

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At a glance

Description
Origin Indian Mythology
Classification Hybrids
Family Members Bhima (Father), Hidimba (Mother), Barbarik (Son)
Region India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand
Associated With Magic, Warfare, Strength

Ghatotkacha

Introduction

According to the Mahabharata, the son of Hidimbi and Bhima was known as Ghatotkacha. Due to his mother’s lineage, he became half-Rakshasa. He fought in the Kurukshet war as a skilled warrior.When Ghatotkacha was younger, he lived with his mother, Hidimbaa. Ghatotkacha is considered to be a loyal and humble figure. He made sure that his followers and himself were available at any time. Similar to his father, he used the mace to fight.

As a skilled warrior from the Pandava side, Ghatotkacha destroyed the Kaurava army. He was known for killing various demons, such as Alayudha and Alambusha. He was also accused of forcing Karna to use the Vasavi Shakti weapon, and he courted a hero’s death during the war.

Physical Traits

A bald and hideous demon, Ghatotkacha could shapeshift into any form of person. He was able to do so during the Kurukshetra war, as he was capable of growing to the size of mountains and defeating the enemy forces.

Family

After escaping from the Lakshagriha, the Pandavas went to a forest. There, they encounter the demon chief Hidimba, who sees them from a tree. He then summons Hidimbi to capture them as food. She falls in love with the second Pandava prince Bhima while disguised herself as a beautiful woman. She told them about her brother’s demands, but they refused to leave the forest. Impatient at the delay in getting his food, Hidimba attacks the Pandavas but is slain by Bhima.

Hidimbi then asked for the hand of Bhima in marriage, and the Pandavas agreed to this proposal with the condition that once a child is born to them, they will continue on their journey. As a child, Ghatotkacha was under the care of Hidimbi. According to folklore, he married Ahilawati and they had three sons: Meghavarna, Barbarika, and Anjanaparva.

Other names

His name comes from his head, which was hairless (utkacha) and shaped like a ghatam. Ghatotkacha is regarded as a deity in both Balinese and Javanese culture. In Bali, a statue of him is located in the Satria Gatotkaca Park. In Javanese wayang, he is referred to as Gatotkoco and is also known for his nickname, which is the “Iron bone and wire muscle warrior.” 

Powers and Abilities

His mother’s lineage made him half-Rakshasa, and this gave him various magical abilities, such as the ability to fly, shapeshift and alter his size. He was a skilled warrior for the Pandava side during the Kurukshetra war.Ghatotkacha was asked by Bhima to be a warrior for the Pandava side in the battle of Kurukshetra. He was able to destroy the Kaurava army with his magical abilities. His most effective attacks were made after Jayadratha’s death on the fourteenth day of the war.

Duryodhana, the leader of the Kaurava army, asked Karna to kill Ghatotkacha to prevent the entire army from being destroyed due to his attacks. At that time, Karna was carrying a Vasavi Shakti, which was granted by the god Indra. He could use it only once, and he was saving it for his upcoming battle with Arjuna. Unable to bear the attack, Karna used the weapon against him, which killed Ghatotkacha. It is believed that after realizing that he was going to die, he assumed a huge size and fell, which crushed a large protion of the Kaurava army.

Modern Day Influence

Ghatotkacha, a wayang puppet character, was first seen in ancient Indonesia. It has its own version of the Mahabharata, and it is a pop culture figure in the country. Ghatotkacha is also a featured character in the mobile game Bang Bang. It is modeled after a Javanese version of the character in the Indonesian comic series Gatyana. He is also frequently depicted in various forms of media, such as movies, comics, and music.

The Indian version of Ghatotkacha is also a popular figure in modern renditions of the Mahabharata and has also inspired many spinoffs in the forms of movies, animated videos, cartoons and storybooks.

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