Least Known Characters Of Mahabharata – Bhanumati
Although she did not play any major role on the battlefield of Mahabharata, she played her role in the life of Duryodhana. Bhanumati was the wife of Duryodhana. She and Duryodhana had a son Lakshamana and a daughter Lakshamanaa.
Bhanumati was daughter of Chitrangada, King of Kalinga. She did not play any major role in Mahabharata. She is mentioned only two places. Stri Parva and Shanti Parva. In the Stri Parva, Queen Gandhari (mother of Duryodhana) describes Bhanumati as a beautiful and attractive woman with large hips and long dark hair. According to Gandhari, Bhanumati was very intelligent and physically strong as well. She used to mock and challenge Duryodhana for wrestling. Gandhari said Bhanumati had changed a lot after seeing and living with Duryodhana. Also, she said that Bhanumati still is a very beautiful woman but very sad and broken from inside. (Stri Parva is the book of the time after Kaurava’s are dead, Pandava’s are mourning the dead)
In Shanti Parva, Narada describes Bhanumati’s swayamvara. Duryodhana participated in that swayamvara. Apart from him many valiant kings and princes of India like Rukmi, Shishupala, Jarasandha, Bhishamaka, Vakra etc. The rule of swayamvara was such that, every participant will rise and tell his name and lineage. Beautiful Bhanumati enters the room surrounded by a maid. She is wearing all sorts of jewelry and gems, a red and golden dress with a garland in her hand.
Duryodhana gets attracted by her and determines to get her as his wife. Bhanumati was walking near each participant and listening to their names and lineage. But to his disappointment, she walks away from him. Duryodhana could not accept this rejection. Along with Karna, Duryodhana abducts Bhanumati. Other warriors try to stop him but Karna defeats all those warriors. When they reach Hastinapur, Duryodhana justifies his act by giving reference of how Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika were abducted by Bhishma for Vichitravirya. Bhanumati finally accepts Duryodhana as her husband. (Shanti Parva is of the time when war is over and Yudhishthira is installed as King of Hastinapur)