Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Kurukshetra is a district in the modern state of Haryana, India.

In the Mahabharata, which is part of Indian mythology, Kurukshetra, literally "Land of the Kurus," was the battleground on which a war, also known as the Kurukshetra war, was fought between two clans of the Kuru dynasty.

The two sides to the war were the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Earlier during the Mahabharata, the Kauravas cheated the Pandavas at a dice game, forcing their Pandava cousins to go into exile for thirteen years, including twelve years of forest exile, and one year of anonymous exile. If the Pandavas were caught during the year of anonymity, they would have to go to twelve years of exile again. After the exile, the eldest of the Kaurava brothers, Duryodhana, refused to return the kingdom to the Pandavas. In order to regain the kingdom, the Pandavas fought the war.

Table of contents
1 Introduction
2 The War


The Pandava Army

The Kaurava Army


During the Kurukshetra war, several weapons were used. The weapons, and their most notable users, included:

Divisions and Formations

Each army consisted of several divisions; the Kauravas had eleven while the Pandavas controlled seven. A new division ("akshauhini") includes 21,870 chariots and chariot-riders, 21,870 elephants and riders, 65,610 horses and riders, and 109,350 foot-soldiers.

At various times during battle, the Supreme Commander could order special formations ("vyuhas"). Each formation had a specific purpose; some were defensive while others were offensive. Furthermore, each formation had specific strengths and weaknesses. The formations were named after the animal or item it resembled as follows:

The Rules

The two Supreme Commanders met and framed "rules" for the war. The rules included:

The War

Before the War

The Pandavas appointed Dhrishtadhyuma the Supreme Commander of their Army, while the Kauravas gave a like honor to Bhishma. Bhishma ordered that as long as he be Supreme Commander, Karna would not fight in the Kaurava army. He secretly knew Karna's identity, but he officially gave several other feeble excuses.

Day One

Days Two to Nine

Day Ten

Day Eleven

Day Twelve

Day Thirteen

Day Fourteen

Day Fifteen

Day Sixteen

Day Seventeen

Day Eighteen

After the War