Who was king Mahabali ?

Epic/ Belief/ History, August 31st, 2023
illustration by Manish

King Mahabali, also known as Maveli, is a legendary figure in Hindu mythology and is particularly associated with the southern Indian state of Kerala. He is a benevolent and much-loved king who ruled during a golden era of prosperity and harmony. The story of King Mahabali is closely connected to the festival of Onam.

According to the myth, Mahabali was a virtuous and generous king who was loved by his people. His popularity and success drew the attention of the gods, particularly Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu took the form of Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, and approached Mahabali to ask for three paces of land. Mahabali, known for his generosity, agreed to the request.

However, Vamana grew in size and covered the entire universe in just three steps. To fulfill his promise, Mahabali offered his own head for Vamana’s third step. Impressed by Mahabali’s devotion and sacrifice, Vamana granted him a boon. Mahabali requested to visit his kingdom and people once a year. This visit is celebrated as Onam, where people believe Mahabali returns to Kerala to ensure their well-being.

Mahabali’s story is often seen as a reflection of humility, sacrifice, and the importance of fulfilling one’s promises. He is revered as a just and compassionate ruler, and his legacy is remembered and celebrated during the Onam festival.

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