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Keechaka Vadham – Story of Kichaka in the Mahabharata

Keechaka Vadham, or the killing of Kichaka, in the Mahabharata happened during the life incognito in exile period of the Pandavas. Pandavas had taken refuge in the kingdom of Virata. Matsya, the king of Virata, had married Sudeshna, sister of Kichaka. A powerful warrior, Kichaka and 105 brothers known as Upakichakas too lived in Virata.

Kichaka was the chief commander of the army of Virata. He and his brothers were a manifestation of Bana, the eldest of the Kalakeyas (a group of demons). His earthly parents were Kekaya and Malavi.

Pandavas led the life incognito in the palace of Virata assuming various roles. Panchali (Draupadi) assumed the role of chaperon. She looked after queen Sudeshna and her daughter Uttara.

Kichaka was enamored by the beauty of Panchali and wanted to possess her. All advances of Kichaka were rejected by Panchali. She had spread a lie that she was married to a Gandharva.

Kichaka, who was smitten by lust, took the help of Sudeshna. Ordered by the queen, Panchali took a plate of food to Kichaka much against her will. Kichaka attempted to violate her. But she ran out the place.

Panchali then went and informed Bhima about the evil advances of Kichaka. Bhima had assumed the role of a cook in the palace.

Bhima asked Panchali to invite Kichaka to a specified place for a secret meeting at night. Panchali did as told by Bhima. At the specified place, Kichaka found a woman sleeping on a cot. Kichaka quickly moved towards the cot and caught hold of the sleeping woman thinking it was Panchali and started kissing.

But instead of warm embrace of a woman, Kichaka was suddenly caught in iron grips. Before he could realize what was happening. He was crushed by Bhima who was sleeping on the cot. 

Next morning, the palace woke up to the news that Kichaka was killed by the Gandharva husband of Panchali.

The brothers of Kichaka wanted to kill Panchali as they thought she was responsible for their brother’s death.

The brothers were all easily overpowered and killed by Bhima.