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In Hinduism, Vamana is the fifth avatar of Vishnu, a dwarf. He tricks the Devas' enemy Bali Chakravarthi into giving up all of the heavens and earth. Vamana asks for a piece of land only three paces wide and Bali agrees to this wish, against Asuraguru Sukracharya's warning. Vamana grows in size and steps across the earth in one step, the heavens in the second and elects not to claim the underworld, leaving that for Bali to keep. However, Bali does not wish to leave his promise unfulfilled. Therefore, Vamana agrees to use the third step for Bali's own head and thus pushes him to the patala or the underworld. Bali was made immortal, and is said to be in the underworld to this day.

Bali is supposed to return every year to the land of his people, to ensure that they are prosperous. This is celebrated as the Onam festival in Kerala, where he is called Maveli or Mahabali.

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Hinduism | Dashavatara
Matsya | Kurma | Varaha | Narasimha | Vamana | Parashurama | Rama | Krishna | Balarama/Buddha | Kalki