Arjuna had four wives. Most of the people know only Draupadi and Subhadra. But, he had two more wives Uloopi and Chitrangadaa.
When Arjuna was on the pilgrimage as penance, he went to farther northeastern Kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent. As mentioned in the story of Uloopi in the previous post, Arjuna entered the room of Yudhishthira when he was with Draupadi, hence as penance went into exile. While moving in a naturally beautiful and mystic kingdom of Manipur, where the king of Manipur Chitravahana, asks him to stay with him in the royal palace. There Arjuna sees Chitrangadaa, daughter of King of Manipur Chitravahana.
Chitrangadaa was very beautiful and powerful. She was also well versed in battle techniques, archery. In fact, according to the stories, Chitrangadaa was as strong as Arjuna. During a war, Arjuna sees Chitrangadaa fighting with enemies and falls in love with her by looking at her prowess and elegance. Attracted towards her, Arjuna asks for her hand to Chitravahana. At first, Chitravahana was reluctant to the marriage of Chitrangadaa and Arjuna.
The reason behind that was that Chitravahana did not have any son. Also, according to the tradition of Manipur of the day, a kind of Matriarchy where the son of the daughter inherits the kingdom. Chitravahana was afraid that Arjuna will take Chitrangadaa and their sons with himself back to Hastinapur. So before agreeing to the marriage, Chitravahana put his clause that, Arjuna will leave Chitrangadaa and their sons with Chitravahana in Manipur. Chitrangadaa gives birth to Arjuna’s son Babruvahana. Chitravahana adopts Babruvahana and Babruvahana gets the throne of Mahabharata. He defeats Arjuna in later part of Mahabharata, which will be covered in the post related to Babruvahana.
Story of Chitrangada according to Popular culture:
Chitrangadaa’s father wants a son but is given a daughter by the gods. He raises this daughter as a man, a warrior, and during a hunt, she captures the handsome Arjuna, who is on a twelve-year exile from his own land. She falls in love with him but fears Arjuna will reject her because she is manly (in fact, he assumes she is a man because she is such a good warrior). So Chitrangadaa asks Madan, god of love, to make her more womanly. She approaches Arjuna thus, and Arjuna falls for her.