Vandkhandi Maharaj is evolved soul who is close to 100 yrs of age. He lives on the feature behind Sattal Lake called “Hidamba”. This is the place where Ghatotkach was born who changed the course of Mahabharata.
To reach here one has to come to Sattal which is around 5 kms from Raksha Retreat and walk up to a steep climb of 3 kms which takes anything between 25 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the levels of fitness.
As the name goes, Vankhandi Maharaj is deeply connected with Flora and Fauna and has spent whole of his life doing things for the forest and animals. He is known to make the leopards sit by tapping on their heads.
It is good to meet him, he greets you well, speaks very nicely and has profound knowledge and at the same time it is a good trek.
Read more about Vankhandi Maharaj:
Hidamba and Ghatotkacha
Bhima’s son, who plays an important role in the Mahabharata. He died at Kurukshetra.
After the house of lac was burned down, the Pandavas entered a forest, which was ruled by a rakshasa named Hidimba. The Pandavas were tired and they slept while Bhima stood on guard. Hidimba saw them and asked his sister Hidimbi to capture them. Hidimbi approached them in the form of a beautiful woman. She fell in love with Bhima and tried to seduce him. Bhima ignored her. They began talking and the conversation went on. Meanwhile, Hidimba became impatient and rushed at Bhima. The Pandavas woke up thanks to the sounds of their battle and finally Bhima killed Hidimba. Yudhishtira stopped him from killing Hidimbi. Hidimbi requested Kunti to accept her as a daughter-in-law. They agreed with the condition that she could spend the mornings with Bhima but he should return by dusk. She agreed and they spent many days together. The son that was born to them was Ghatotkacha and his physical prowess has been described in Mahabharata Adiparva Chapter 155. According to Mahabharata Adiparva Chapter 155 verse 47, Indra gave him the strength to be a worthy opponent to Karna.
Ghatotkacha was very attached to the Pandavas. As the Pandavas were leaving the forest, Kunti called Ghatotkacha and told him that though he was Bhima’s son, all the Pandavas would always consider him their eldest son. Ghatotkacha promised to come to their aid whenever they called him.
Once, during their stay in the forest, the Pandavas became very tired. None of them could take a step further. Bhima thought of Ghatotkacha and he appeared with his rakshasa friends. They carried the Pandavas and only returned after leaving them with the Naranarayanas at Badaryashrama as per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 145. From there, the Pandavas went to visit Kuber and they were carried back by Ghatotkacha as per Mahabharata Vanaparva Chapter 176 verse 21.
Ghatotkacha fought bravely on the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra war. On the first day he fought Alambusha, Duryodhana and Bhagadatta and so fierce was he that he scared the Kaurava army into stopping the day’s battle early, as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapters 45, 57, 58. He defeated the Vanga king and killed his elephant as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapter 92 verse 12.He defeated Vikarna as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapter 92 verse 36.
After an onslaught by prominent Kaurava warriors, Ghatotkacharose high into the sky as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapter 93 verse 6. He made the Kaurava army flee with his magic as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapter 94 verses 41-47. He wrestled with Durmukha as per Mahabharata Bhishmaparva Chapter 110 verse 13. Dhritarashtra praised Ghatototkacha’s valour as per Dronaparva Chapter 10 verse 62. He fought with Alayudha as per Dronaparva Chapter 96 verse 27. He killed Alambusha as per Dronaparva Chapter 109 verse 28. Drona’s son Ashwathama killed Ghatotkacha’s son Anjanaparva as per Dronaparva Chapter 156 verse 56. Ghatotkacha fought Karna as per Dronaparva Chapter 175 and Jatasura as per Dronaparva Chapter 174. He killed Alayudha as per Dronaparva Chapter 178 verse 31.
Karna was unable to defeat Ghatotkacha and finally used the Vaijayanthi Shakti. It was given to him by Indra in return for donating his armour and earrings. Karna had kept the Shakti for use against Arjuna. But he was forced to use it on Ghatotkacha who died as a result. The weapon disappeared after splitting Ghatotkacha’s chest as per Dronaparva Chapter 18.
Ghatotkacha hated brahmins and their rituals as per Dronaparva Chapter 181 verse 27. Once Vyasa invoked the souls of those who had died in the Mahabharata war, on the banks of the Ganga.Ghatotkacha too arrived there as per Mahabharata Ashramavasikaparva Chapter 32 verse 8. According to Mahabharata Swargarohanaparva Chapter Chapter 5 verse 37, he lived with the yakshas after his death.
He is also known as Bhaimaseni, Bhaimi, Bhimasenasuta, Bhimasenatmaja, Bhimasunu, Bhimasuta, Haidimba, Haidimbi, Rakshasa, Rakshasadhipa, Rakshasapungava, Rakshaseshwara, Rakshasendra.