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The Story of Uloopi and Arjuna – Ulupi – the Naga Princess

Uloopi was a Naga Princess and she got married to Arjuna, the third of the Pandava brothers. She was the daughter of the Serpent King, Kauravya, who ruled the underwater kingdom of snakes in the Ganga River. Ulupi was an expert warrior and she taught the art of warfare to Babruvahan, Arjuna's son by his another wife, Chitrangada. Uloopi brought back Arjuna to life after he was killed by Babruvahan.

Arjuna Goes on Exile for a Year and Meets Ulupi
It is mentioned in the Mahabharata that Arjuna was once forced to break the rule of not entering the palace of Panchali – the wife of the Pandavas. As Panchali, or Draupadi, was married to the five Pandava brothers, they had agreed that one Pandava brother will spend a year with Panchali and the other four will not enter her palace during the period. If the rule is broken, then the one who breaks the rule will go on an exile for a year.

Arjuna had broken this rule once as he had forgotten his bow and arrow (Gandiva) in the palace of Draupadi and he needed them to help a poor man. So he broke the rule and had to go on exile.

Marriage of Arjuna and Uloopi
It was during this exile period that Arjuna met Uloopi, the Naga Princess. Ulupi was impressed by Arjuna and took him to under water world. Here she convinced Arjuna to marry her. A son named Iravan was born to them.
Ulupi also gave the boon to Arjuna that all animals live in the water will obey him and he will be invincible under the water.

Arjuna is Killed by Babruvahan and Uloopi Brings Him Back to Life
Years after when Pandavas performed the Ashvamedha sacrifice, the sacrificial horse was stopped by Babruvahan when it entered his territory. Babruvahan was taught the art of warfare of Ulupi.
Babruvahan was not aware that Arjuna was his father and he fought the army led by Arjuna which was following the sacrificial horse. During the course of the battle, Babruvahan’s arrow hit Arjun and he fell unconscious.

Uloopi who came to know about the incident rushed to the spot and saved the life of Arjuna using the knowledge only available to the Nagas. Later Uloopi united the father and son – Babruvahan and Arjuna.

The above incident is connected to yet another legend – it is said that Ganga Devi cursed Arjuna that he will be killed by his son as he had treacherously killed Bhishma in the battle of Kurukshetra by placing Shikandi (Eunuch) as a shield.

Ulupi who came to know about this curse prayed to Goddess Ganga for forgiveness. Ganga Devi told Ulupi that Babruvahan will kill Arjuna but she will be able to bring him back to life with the help of Mritasanjivani.

When the Pandavas started their final journey, Uloopi is said to have to returned to the under water kingdom in the Ganga River.

Image Source - Image from the title cover of comic title Uloopi published by Amar Chithra Katha