Bahlika was the second of the three sons of Pratipa and his wife Sunanda, the king and queen of Hastinapur. With his eldest son Devapi set to inherit, Pratipa gifted some newly-conquered land (though in some versions of the story, this is the land Jarasandha gifted Bahlika for agreeing not to join Panchal in a war against Magdha) to his second son; the land was given the name Bahlika as a result. However, due to leprosy, Pratipa’s eldest son Devapi refused to ascend the throne and retired into the woods to perform penance. Bahlika was next in line to ascend the throne, but felt that he would be an inadequate emperor, having never been raised as such. Shantanu then became the crown prince and upon Pratipa’s death became the king of Hastinapur, with Bahlika’s blessing.