By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Virata, VirATa, Viraata
Virāṭa was the king of Matsyadeśa and his capital was Virāṭanagari. Sudeṣṇā was his second wife and Uttarakumāra was his son from her. Uttarā was his daughter. When the Pāṇḍavas, after losing the game of dice, were banished, they had to spend twelve years in a forest and the thirteenth year was incognito. During this last year, they chose to live in the Virāṭanagari in disguise, as the employees of the king Virāṭa.
Immediately after the one year period was over, when the Pāṇḍavas revealed their identity, Virāṭa was happy and offered his daughter Uttarā in marriage to Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna. Virāṭa joined the Pāṇḍava army in the Kurukṣetra battle, fought for them but was killed by Droṇa. Matsyadeśa has now been identified with the area around the modern Jaipur city in the state of Rajasthan.
- Bhīma was then known as Valvala working as a cook.
- Yudhiṣṭhira was then disguised as a recluse by name Kaṅka.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore