Exile of pandavas
When Dhritarashtra came to know that the Pandavas were alive , he invited them to Hastinapur . But till then , Duryodhana was crowned as the king . So , in order to appear fair and just , Dhritarashtra presented Pandavas with Khandavprastha , which was a barren land devoid of vegetation
.But very soon the five brothers with their hard work converted the barren land into a green and lush city full of vegetation.The city was comparable to heaven and was thus named Indraprastha.
When Duryodhana learnt about the prosperity of Indraprastha , he was filled with jealousy. He forced Dhritarashtra to invite Pandavas for a game of gambling . When the Pandavas played the game they lost every chance .
As a result their kingdom now belong to Duryodhana and they were ordered an exile of 12 years and an Agyaatvas of 1 year with a condition that if they were identified during their Agyaatvaas , they would suffer another exile of 12 years.
A brief description of major events that happened during the period of these 13 years is as follows :
KRISHNA SUGGESTS WAR
Krishna along with Dhrishtadyumn ( brother of Drauapadi ) arrives at Yudhisthira and suggest war to regain their territory . Yudhisthira tells Krishna that it was against Dharma and the exile was the punishment to him for gambling and keeping his brothers and wife on stake . Krishna knew that it was an opportunity for them to improve themselves spiritually and physically. Then Krishna and Dhrishtadyumn takes the children of pandavas to their kingdoms.
FLOWERS AND BHIMA
During their stay at Badarikasrama forest , Draupadi scented the Saugandhika flower and was deeply attracted to it.Bhima went in search of the flowers and in the way he meets Hanuman ,disguised in the form of an old monkey ,lying on the ground.
When Bhima tried to remove the monkey from the way by throwing it away from its tail, he could not even lift up the tail. This was done to remove the arrogance of Bhima on his strength.
On moving further he reached the palace of Kuber . On his way he was stopped by demons called Krodhavasas. After killing them he finally reached the pond he killed another wicked demon called Maniman. Bhisma fell asleep at the shore of pond and Krishna along with Pandavas came there in search of him. Kuber provided them the flowers and greeted Bhima for killing the demons.
POSSESSING DIVINE WEAPONS
Sage Vyasa visited the Pandavas and advised Arjuna to attain the Pashupatashra from Shiva . And he was taken to heaven by his father Indra , for almost 10 years. During his stay at Swargalok he possessed the divine weapons ,learned new fighting skills and improved his archery skills.
Once Urvashi( apsara of heaven ) was attracted at his physique. Arjuna turned away her advances and displeased Urvashi cursed Arjuna to become eununch for one year as per his wish.
Arjuna used this curse and acted as dance master for the royal household, especially Uttara, the daughter of Virat( king of Virat nagar, which was a janapad during Mahabharata times). After one year, when Virat recognised the dancer as Arjuna he married his daughter Uttara to Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu.
SHIVA BLESS ARJUNA
Arjuna left his brothers to perform severe penance to please Shiva . He travelled to the mountain Indra keeladri, Vijayawada and sat in a meditating position.
Shiva appeared in a disguised form and Arjuna unable to recognise him at first, had a fight with him. Shiva was pleased at the bravery of Arjuna and granted him Pashupathastra.Other than these ,Arjuna possessed almost all divine weapons given by other Gods which includes Brahmashira, Brahmastra.
Once when Bhima was out for hunting Jatasura a giant demon, disguised as a Brahmin abducted Yudhisthira ,Nakul ,Sahdev and Draupadi. On returning back Bhima learns about this evil act of Jatasura from a sage .
Bhima reaches at jatasura and this results in a fierce combat in two powerful warriors . At the end Bhima becomes victorious and captivates Jatasura ,finally smashing his head and crushing his body.
Similarily when Jaydrath abducted Draupadi, his head was shaved by Bhima leaving back just five hair on his head.
The time period of one year of agyaatvaas of Pandavas was filled with many interesting incidents . The five brothers and Draupadi after completing the twelve years of exile decided to stay at Matsya kingdom in disguised forms . Each of them changed their forms as follows:
Yudhistir : He assumed the name of Kanka and became a sabhasad of the king Virata.
• Bheem : He assumed the name Ballav and became the cook.
• Arjuna : He assumed the name Brihannala and became the dance, etc. teacher of princess Uttaraa.
• Nakula : he assumed the name Granthik and took the charge of maintaining the horses.
• Sahadev : he assumed the name Tantripal and took the charge of maintaining the cows.
• Draupadi : she assumed the name Sairindhri and became the assistant of queen Sudeshna.
Brihannala – Arjuna at Virata’s Kingdom
When Arjuna was at heaven he was entertained by the divine females there . He also learnt the art of singing and dancing from them . He learnt to play musical instruments.Arjuna utilised the curse given by Urvashi during this one year and also the arts he learnt .
He worked as a trainer of dance and singing at the court of Virat . After one year, when Virat recognised the dancer as Arjuna he married his daughter Uttara to Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu.
At the end of Kurukshetra war the son of Abhimanyu and Uttara was the last and only successor of Kuru dynasty- Maharaja Parikshit.
Death of Kichaka
The army commander of Virat named Kichaka tried to sexually abuse Draupadi ,when she was disguised as a maid in Virat kingdom. One night Bhima was dressed as a female ,waiting in Draupadi’s room for Kichaka to arrive. When Kichaka arrives Bhima killed him by smashing his body mercilessly.
Hearing about the death of Kichaka ,Kauravas suspected that the Pandavas were residing in the Matsya kingdom. They sent and expedition to attack the kingdom of Virat.
Uttar , the son of Virat had to single handedly fight a part of kauravas army. He had Arjuna in disguise as his charioteer. When he reached the battlefield he tried to flee away in fear and at this situation Arjuna takes the charge by exchanging his postion . He single handedly defeated the warriors of kauravas army like Karna. Bhisma etc.
Bhima as cook
Bheem was disguised as a cook named Vallabh. There was a wrestling bout where a wrestler from a different state, Jimuta proved to be invincible. Much to the delight of King Virata and his subjects, Bhima challenged Jimuta and knocked him out in no time. This greatly enhanced the reputation of the Pandavas in an unfamiliar territory.
Similarily Nakul worked as horse trainer and worked as a horse cartaker for the royal stable .He killed a demon called Kshemankara during this period.
Sahdeva disguised himself as a Vaishya with the name Tantipal. He supervised the maintenance of cows in Virat’s kingdom.
After successfully completing the 12 years of exile and one year of Agyaatvaas without getting identified , the Pandavas with the advise of Krishna decided to call for a war against Kauravas and regain their territory .
And thus began the greatest war in the world history – The Kurukshetra War!!