From Academic Kids

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.



The Pandava Army

  • The Pandava Brothers:
  • The Kingdom of Panchala:
  • The Kingdom of Matsya:
    • King Virata, Friend of the Pandavas
    • Prince Uttara, Son of King Virata
  • The Kingdom of Dwaraka:
    • Prince Satyaki
    • Prince Krishna (Served as Charioteer to Arjuna - vowed not to lift weapons during the war)
  • Others
    • Demon Ghatotkacha, Son of Bhima through the demoness Hidimba
    • Prince Abhimanyu, Son of Arjuna through Princess Subhadra of Dwaraka
    • Prince Yuyutsu, The only Kaurava who crossed over to fight for the Pandavas.

The Kaurava Army

  • The Kaurava Brothers:
    • Prince Duryodhana, Eldest son of King Dhritarashtra
    • Prince Dushasana, Second son of King Dhritarashtra
    • Various other princes, the ninety-six other sons of King Dhritarashtra(who also fathered Yuyutsu and a daughter).
  • The Kingdom of Hastinapur:
    • Bhishma, Grand-uncle to Pandavas and Kauravas, forced to side with Kauravas due to loyalty to King Dhritrashtra
    • Drona, Teacher to Pandavas and Kauravas, forced to side with Kauravas due to loyalty to King Dhritrashtra
    • Ashwathama, Son of Drona
    • Shakuni, Maternal uncle to the Kauravas
    • Kripa, Family Sage and Advisor to the Kuru Dynasty, forced to side with Kauravas due to loyalty to King Dhritrashtra
  • The Kingdom of Anga:
    • Karna, illegitimate and abandoned elder brother of Pandavas, believed by most at the time to be son of a charioteer, but actually the son of Kunti
  • The Kingdom of Madra
    • King Shalya, Maternal uncle to the Pandavas, tricked into giving a promise to fight for the Kauravas by Duryodhana and Shakuni
  • The Tribe of Trigartha
  • The Kingdom of Dwaraka
  • The Kingdom of Sindh
  • Others


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

  • Bow and arrows- Arjuna, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Abhimanyu
  • Mace- Bhima, Duryodhana
  • Spear- Yudhishtira
  • Dagger/Sword- Nakula, Sahadeva

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:

  • Karuncha vyuha- Heron formation
  • Makara vyuha- Fish formation
  • Kurma vyuha- Turtle formation
  • Trishula vyuha- Trident formation
  • Chakra vyuha- Wheel or Discus formation
  • Kamal vyuha- Lotus formation

The Rules

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

  • Fighting must begin no earlier than sunrise and end exactly at sunset.
  • Multiple warriors may not attack a single warrior.
  • Two warriors may "duel," or engage in prolonged personal combat, only if they carry the same weapons and they are on the same mount (no mount, a horse, an elephant, or a chariot).
  • No warrior may kill or injure a warrior who has surrendered.
  • One who surrenders becomes a prisoner of war and a slave.
  • No warrior may kill or injure an unarmed warrior.
  • No warrior may kill or injure an unconscious warrior.
  • No warrior may kill or injure a person or animal not taking part in the war.
  • No warrior may kill or injure a warrior whose back is turned away.
  • The rules specific to each weapon must be followed. For example, it is prohibited to strike below the waist in mace warfare.
  • Warriors may not engage in any "unfair" warfare whatsoever.

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

External Links

Kurukshetra (http://www.haryana-online.com/Districts/kurukshetra.htm)hi:कुरुक्षेत्र kn:ಕುರುಕ್ಷೇತ್ರ


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools