King Mahabali

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King Mahabali, also known as Maveli, is a mythical king in Kerala folklore and a central figure in the festival of Onam. According to legend, Mahabali was a wise and benevolent ruler who brought great prosperity and happiness to the people of Kerala.

Mahabali was the grandson of Prahlada and the great-grandson of Hiranyakashipu, both of whom were characters from Hindu mythology. He was known for his virtuous rule and generosity towards his subjects. Under his reign, Kerala is believed to have witnessed a golden era where everyone was treated with equality and justice.

However, the gods felt threatened by Mahabali’s growing popularity and power, and they sought the help of Lord Vishnu to restore the balance. Lord Vishnu took the form of Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, and approached Mahabali for alms during a grand yagna (sacrificial ritual) organized by the king.

Impressed by Vamana’s demeanor, Mahabali promised to grant him any boon he desired. Vamana requested land measuring three steps, and Mahabali agreed. However, to the astonishment of everyone present, Vamana grew in size and covered the entire universe with his first two steps. With no place left to keep his third step, Mahabali offered his own head for Vamana to place his foot.

Moved by Mahabali’s devotion and sacrifice, Lord Vishnu granted him a boon. Mahabali requested permission to visit his kingdom, Kerala, once a year to ensure the well-being of his people. This visit is believed to coincide with the festival of Onam when the spirit of Mahabali is welcomed and celebrated.

The story of Mahabali symbolizes the triumph of humility, sacrifice, and righteousness. He is revered as a noble and just ruler who selflessly cared for his subjects. The festival of Onam is a tribute to his memory and a celebration of the values he represented.

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Kerala, India

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