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18 Day War of Mahabharata

Writing article as an analytical thinker and as an enthusiast about philosophy and psychology who always crave more understanding


Mahabharat War

A lot of Hindu religion followers are used to speak a lot for Mahabharata war. But very few know detail event happened in 18 days in Mahabharat war. That is why this article is written to bring some light on those epic events of Mahabharata war. As per the Hindu religious scriptures, Lord Krishna was 83 years old and he died after 36 years of the end of Mahabharata war. War of Mahabharat took place some 5000 years ago on the battlefield of the city named Kurushetra in India. Lord Krishna was present in the conjunction period of the end of Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of Kali Yuga. According to astrological calculations, Kali Yuga started at 3176 years before Shakta Samvat(Indian calendar).

Brief Description of Kaurav And Pandav Armies

Before the Mahabharata war, the Pandavas stationed their army on the banks of Hiranyavati River (a tributary of the Saraswati River) near the Place named Samantha Panchak Tirtha on the southern bank of the Saraswati River in the western region of Kurukshetra. Now, this Saraswati River vanished but its dried bank is identified by Archeological Survey of India.

The Kauravas armies made their stay the eastern part of Kurukshetra. The Pandav armies made their stay on the western part of Kurushetra. as per description, the army camps on both sides had good arrangements for food and treatment of the wounded. Elephants, horses and chariots had different arrangements. In each of the thousands of camps, abundant food items, weapons, instruments and many medical and artisans were deputed.
Both Kaurav and Pandav armies left the 40-kilometre area in between to fight the battle.

Allied Kingdoms of Kaurav and Pandav Armies

Allied Kingdoms of Kaurav Armies Allied kingdoms of Pandavs Armies Neutral Kingdoms







Sindh,Dard, Abhisha, Magadh

Kashi, Karusha, Matsya, Kekay


Kamboj Kalinga, Sinhala

Srnjaya, Daksharana, Somak, Kunti


Pratik, Bahlik, Udichya, Ansh

Anantha, Dasherk, Prabhadraka, Anupak


Saurashtra, Avanti, Nishad, Shursen, Shibi

Kirat, Patchar, Tittir, Chola, Pandya


Vasati, Paurava, Tushar, Chuchupadesh, Ashwak

Agniveshya, Hunda, Danabhari , Shabar


Panday, Pulind, Pard, Chudrak, Pragjyotishpur, Mekal

Udbhas, Vatsa, Paundra, Pishachh


Kuruvind, Tripura, Shal, Ambastha

Pundra, Kundavish, Marut, Dhenuk, Tagan


Heroic Warriors of Kaurav & Pandav Armies

List of warriors who participated in Mahabharat war is unending but these are seen as main heroic warriors around whom entire war of Mahabharat happened as per ancient Hindu scriptures

Heroic warriors of Kaurav army Heroic Warriors of Pandav Armies

Duryodhana and his 99 brothers.











five sons of Draupadi


Satyaki, Uttamauja, Virat

Kritavarma, Kalingaraj, Shrutayudha

Drupada, Dhritadumun, Abhimanyu

Madernaresh Shalya, Bhurishvara, Alambush

Pandyaraj, Ghatotkacha, Shikhandi, Yuyutsu

Bhagadatta, Jayadratha, Vind-Anvind

Kuntibhoja, Uttamauja, Shaibya

Kambojaraja, Sudakshin, Brihadwal

Anuparaj Neel

Rules of Mahabharat war prefixed by Both armies

1.Daily war will last from sunrise to sunset. There will be no war after sunset.

2.After the end of the war, everyone will behave in love except deceit.

3. The chariot will fight with the chariot, the elephant with the elephant, and on foot.

4. The same hero will battle with a hero.

5. Weapons and weapons will not be attacked while fleeing or coming in the refuge.

6. No weapon will be taken on the hero who is unarmed.

7. No weapon shall be used on those who serve as servants in war

1st Day of War

On the first day, Krishna-Arjuna were standing between the armies on both sides with their chariot and Lord Krishna was teaching Arjuna the Gita. Bhishma Pitamah announced that the war was about to begin. At this time, any warrior who wants to change his camp is free to fight on whose behalf he wants. After this announcement, Dhritarashtra's son Yuyutsu went to the Pandavas camp, leaving the Kaurava playing the drums. After the preaching of Shri Krishna, Arjuna declared war by playing a conch named Devadatta.

Highlights of 1st Day War

  • 10 thousand soldiers died
  • Bhima attacked the Duhshashan & Abhimanyu cut Bhishma's bow and flag on his chariot.
  • The sons of Virat Naresh, North and White, were killed by Shalya and Bhishma respectively.
  • The Pandava's army suffered heavy losses at the end of the first-day war

Want to know more about Bhagwat Gita preached by Lord Krishna to Arjun Then try this

Lord Krishna Preaching Bhagwat Gita to Arjun


2nd Day of Mahabharata War

There was a war between Arjuna and Bhishma, Dhrishtadyumna and Drona. Satyaki injured Bhishma's charioteer. Dronacharya defeated Dhrishtadyumna several times and cut off many of his bows. Arjuna and Shri Krishna were injured many times by Bhishma. But still, Arjun successfully keeps confronting Bhishma and not allowed him to kill the army of Pandavas. Bhima fought with Kalingas and Nishad and thousands of Kalinga soldiers and Nishad were killed by Bhima.
Kaurav army lost Kalingaraj Bhakti, Ketuman, other Kalinga vali warriors.

At the end of the 2 days of the war, it was the Pandav army who was dominating the Kaurv Army contrary to 1st day.

3rd Day of Mahabharata War

The Kauravas created Garuda Yuha ( military formation) and the Pandavas created a Crescent moon-like Military formation. Bhima & his son Ghatotkacha were dominating Kaurav army. Seeing this, Bhishma causes horrific destruction on Pandav Army. Shri Krishna asks Arjuna to kill Bhishma, but Arjuna denies to fight with enthusiasm. This causes Shri Krishna to yield a weapon against Bhishma to kill by himself. So Arjun assures him and then starts, killing the Kaurava army.
Arjun by showering arrows on battleground kills Prachya, Sauvir, Khudrakar and Malav warriors.Duryodhana was stunned by Bhima's arrow and then his charioteer drove the chariot away to save his life

3rd Day of War is once again dominated by Pandav army

Military Formations in Mahabharat War

Garud Vyuh (Garud style Military formation) of Kaurav army

Garud Vyuh (Garud style Military formation) of Kaurav army

Chandra Vyuh (Cresent of Moon-like military formation ) of Pandav army

Chandra Vyuh (Cresent of Moon-like military formation ) of Pandav army

Interesting Facts of Various Military Formations in Mahabharata War

4th Day of Mahabharata War

The Kaurava army tried to limit Arjuna with their arrows, but Arjuna drove everyone away by showering arrows. Bhima was running horror on the Kaurava army. So Duryodhana sent his Elephant army to kill Bhima, but with the help of son named Ghatotkacha, Bhima destroyed them all. Even Bhima killed 14 Kauravas too but later controlled by King Bhagadatta (a Kaurav warrior). Later Bhishma was also fiercely challenged by Arjun and Bhima in battle.

4th day of war was also dominated by Pandav Armies with unparallel bravery and courage of Bhima and Arjun.

5th Day of Mahabharata War

Arjuna and Bhima fought fiercely. Satyaki kept Dronacharya from committing destruction of Pandav army. Satyaki was banished from the battlefield by Bhishma.
On this fateful day,10 sons of Satyaki were killed.

5th day was neutral for both armies of Kaurav and Pandav.

6th Day Mahabharat War

^th Day war was about one military formation fighting against another military formation
1.The Kauravas brought the Kronch Vyuh ( Bird like military formation) and the Pandavas created the Makarvuh-shaped army in the battlefield Kurukshetra.
2.Dronacharya lost his charioteer. and was getting too much frustrated due to losses in the war
3. Bhisma nearly eliminated the entire army of King Panchal who was allied to Pandav Camp.

6th Day also both armies were fighting with each other very fiercely

7th Day of Mahabharata War

The Kaurav Army created a Mandal Vyuh (military formation ) & Pandavas answered it by forming Vajra Vyuh (military formation). Arjuna, by his own tactics, creates a stampede and havoc in the Kaurava army. Pandav army General Dhrishtadyumna defeats Duryodhana in battle. Kaurav warriors Vind and Anuvind are defeated by Arjuna's son Iraavaan. Bhagadatta, Ghatotkacha and Nakula, Sahadeva together start dominating Kaurav armies. Seeing this, enraged Bhishma again start to kill the Pandava army fiercely. Kaurava side suffers heavy losses due to the death of Virat's son Shankh.

on 7th day of Mahabharata war, both sides keep fighting fiercely and detrimentally.

Mandal Vyuh /Mandal Military Formation of Mahabharat War

Mandala Vyuh of Kaurav army  is formed by  seven chariots guarding an elephant, seven charioteers guarding a chariot, seven archers for the defence of a charioteer, ten soldiers guarding for an archer

Mandala Vyuh of Kaurav army is formed by seven chariots guarding an elephant, seven charioteers guarding a chariot, seven archers for the defence of a charioteer, ten soldiers guarding for an archer

8th Day War of Mahabharat War

The Kauravas created a Kurma Vyuh ( Tortoise military formation) and the Pandavas created a Three- Prong Military formation (Tri Shul Vyuh). Bhima slaughtered eight Kaurav. The son of Arjuna's second wife Ulupi, Iravan is slaughtered by Bakasur's son, Aashtashrang. Ghatotkacha uses his supernatural power on Duryodhana, but King of Bang removes Duryodhana from his place and face this assault on himself and King of Bang dies due to this use of supernatural power of Ghatotkach. Then on the orders of Bhishma, the Bhagadatta defeats Ghatotkacha. By the end of the day, Bhim slays nine more Kaurav. Arjuna's son Iraavaan slaughtered by ambush. Total 17 KAurav got killed on this very 8th-day war.

9th Day Mahabharat War

Krishna's sermon to Pandavs lead to a fierce battle. Bhishma injured Arjuna and put his chariot in disrepair as Arjun was not fighting well against Bhishma. So looking at half-heartedness of Arjun Krishna break his vow in order to stop the horrific destruction of Bhishma. Sri Krishna takes a chariot wheel in hand and pushes on Bhishma, but he calms down due to promise of Arjuna to kill Bhishma as immediately as possible in the battle. But Bhishma keeps killing most of the army of Pandav on this day.

9th Day was clearly dominated by the Kaurav army due to unparallel bravery of Kurav General Bhishma. Pandav was frightened due to witnessing such slaughter of their soldiers.

Lord Krishana Trying to Kill Bhishma Forgetting His Pledge


10th Day of Mahabharat War

Bhishma destroys armies of kingdoms of Panchal and Matsya. Then Pandavas put Shikhandi to battle in front of Bhishma in the war zone as per trick advised by Lord Krishna. Seeing Shikhandi in front of the battlefield, Bhishma gave up his weapon. Then Arjun starts shooting arrows on Bhishma to let him lay on a bed of arrows. (Bhishma was immortal and bestowed by the boon of willful death from his father King Shantanu.)
While laying on arrow beds Bhishma witness rest of events of war , waiting for right time to leave immortal world as per his wish and boon.

Bhishma on Arrow Bed


Dramatic Representation of Killing of Bhishama

11th Day of Mahabharat War

As per the advice of Karna, Drona was made commander/General of Kaurav army by Duryodhana. Karna helps Drona to massacre the Pandava army on this day.
Drona proceeds to beat Yudhishthira in the battle to capture him but Arjun prevents this by showing extraordinary valour against Drona. Nakul and Sahdev also protect Yudhishthira from getting captured alive by Drona.Warrior named Virat from Pandav army got killed on 11th day

On 11th day, it was the Kaurav army which was dominating the battle.

Drona as Commander in Chief of Kaurav Army

12th Day of Mahabharat War

Shakuni and Duryodhana ask the king of Trigart Kingdom to keep Arjuna far away from Yudhishthira and fight him and keep him busy in the war there. But once again Arjuna arrives on time and Drona fails to capture Yudhishthir.On 12th day, Satyaki was the protector of Yudhishthira when the king of Trigarta Kingdom takes Arjuna away. Arjuna killed the king of Pragjyotishpur (a kingdom in the northeast), with special crescent-shaped arrow . Satyaki cut the wheel of Drona's chariot and killed his horses. Drona to answer this attack, beheaded Satyaki by a crescent-shaped arrow. But Lord Krishna saved the Satyki from dying. Satyaki killed many Top warriors of the Kaurava army as like Jalsandhi, Gajasena of the Trigart Kingdom, Sudarshana, Bhurishrava, Prasan. Every time Satyaki was saved by Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield from dying. At the end of 12 the day, Pandav army lost King Drupad and Kaurav army lost King of Trigart name kingdom as a result of the day-long battle.

On 12th day both armies were delivering tough fight to each other.

13th Day of Mahabharata War

The Kaurava army uses Chakra Vyuh (military battle formation) against Pandav army. Duryodhana reassigns duty to King Bhagadatta to keep Arjuna busy.
Lord Krishna protects Arjuna from taking the Vaishnavastra (ancient missile-like weapon ) released by Bhagadatta on himself. Arjun breaks Bhagadatta's blindfold, which causes him to lose sight on the battlefield and Arjun slays Bhagadatta with deceitfully. Drona makes a Chakravyuh( battle formation of the military) to capture Yudhishthira, which only Abhimanyu knew to break but did not know to leave.
So Arjuna sends Yudhishthira, Bhima etc. with him, but at the door of Chakravyuh they are all stopped by Jayadratha due to Shiva's boon and only Abhimanyu is able to enter. As per the advice of Karna, the seven Maharathis Karna, Jayadratha, Drona, Ashwatthama, Duryodhana, Lakshmana and Shakuni attacked Abhimanyu together. The mace that Laxman killed on Abhimanyu's head, the same mace Abhimanyu threw and killed Laxman. Due to this both of them died at the same time. Hearing the news of Abhimanyu's death, Arjuna pledged to kill Jayadratha before sunset tomorrow, otherwise, he promised to self immolate

Depiction of Ancient Military Battle Formation - Chakra Vyuh

Chakrayuh depiction

Chakrayuh depiction

14th Day of Mahabharata War

Hearing Arjuna's pledge to kill oneself, Kauravas get excited and then they planned that all the Kaurava warriors will put their lives to save Jayadratha in the war today and not reach Arjuna to reach up to Jayadrath to kill him to fulfil his pledge. Drona gives full assurance to save Jayadratha and hides him in the rear of the army.
Bhurishrava wanted to kill Satyaki but Arjuna cut off Bhurishrava's hands then Satyaki cut off his head.

Then Krishna sunset with his illusion. Seeing the sunset, Arjuna starts preparing for self-immolation as per his pledge. The hidden Jayadratha curiosity comes out and laughs to see Arjuna taking fire tomb, and then Lord Krishna immediately end his illusion and let the sunshine once again in the sky. Then Arjun immediately kills over-enthusiastic Jayadrath who came out of the protection of the Kaurav army.And then Jayadrath got killed by Arjun as per his pledge.

15th Day of Mahabharata War

Unparallel valour of Drona was panicking the Pandavas' army. Seeing the defeat of the Pandavas, Shri Krishna advised Yudhishthira to resort to deceit to kill Drona.
Under this idea of deceit, Bhima killed the war elephant named Ashwathama and started shouting, "Ashwathama was killed “ to confuse Drona as his son's name was also Ashwathama. When Guru Dronacharya wanted to know the truth of Ashwatthama from Dharmaraja Yudhishthira, he replied - 'Ashwatthama was killed, but the elephant.' Sri Krishna conceived las words by blowing couch, at the same time due to which Guru Dronacharya could not hear the last word 'elephant' and he understood that his Son was killed. Due to thoughts of losing the only son, Drona loses his confidence and sat down on the battlefield with eyes closed. Sighting a golden opportunity to kill unarmed Drona, Draupadi's brother Dhrishtadyumna beheaded him with a sword.

The killing of Guru Drona deceitfully was a true turning point as Pandav Army on this day literally own the entire battle of Mahabharata.

Dhrishtadyumna Killing Drona


Dramatic Depiction of Killing of Drona in Mahabharata War

16th Day of Mahabharata War

Finally, Karna is made the general on behalf of the Kauravas after the death of Drona. Karna destroys the Pandava army and he defeats Nakula and Sahadeva in battle, but as per the promise made to Kunti, he doesn't take their lives.
Karna killed Ghatotkacha by Amoghastra ( perfect weapon to kill anyone )as per the request of Duryodhana. This immense power was saved by Karna for killing Arjuna, but Duryodhana, who was afraid of Ghatotkacha, asked Karna to use this power and lost opportunity for Karna to kill Arjun on the battleground.Bhim starts the battle with Dushashan and after killing him drinks the blood of his chest to fulfil his pledge as per the description of Mahabharata war

Though this was an equal day for both armies, Kurav army has lost final opportunity to win the losing Mahabharat war by misusing Amoghastra of Karna for killing Ghatotkacha.

17th Day of Mahabharat War

King Shalya was made the charioteer of Karna. On this day, Karna defeats Bhima and Yudhishthira and but remembers the promise given to Kunti and does not take their lives. Later Karna starts fighting Arjuna. A fierce battle ensues between Karna and Arjuna. When the wheel of Karna's chariot stuck into the mud, as per the advice of Shri Krishna, Karna is killed by Arjuna in a helpless state. This event literally hammers the confidence and spirit of the Kaurav army, as the Kaurav army loses all its confidence and hopes of winning after witnessing the death of Karna as General on the battlefield. King Shalya a charioteer of Karna, was made the General of Kaurav army, but Yudhishthira also killed him at the end of the day.

At the end of the 17th day, Duryodhan lost more 22 brothers and may more warriors including Karna and King Shalya.

Karna Removing Stuck Wheel of His Chariot

Dramatic Depiction of Death of Karna on the Battlefield of Mahabharat

The killing of unarmed, helpless Karna

The killing of unarmed, helpless Karna

18th Day of Mahabharata War

On the last day of war, Three warriors-of the Kauravas- Ashwatthama, Kripacharya and Kritavarma remained on the eighteenth day. On this day, the pledge of the slaughter of Pandavas was taken by Ashwathama. The Pandava camp was attacked at night by Kritavarma Ashwatthama and Kripacharya. Ashwatthama killed all the five sons of Draupadi and other sleeping warriors of Pandav Army as like Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi etc. Lord Krishna due to such immoral and shameful act curses -Ashwathama to suffer from leprosy till the end of Kaliyuga.
Bhima kills the remaining Kaurav brothers of Duryodhana, Sahadeva kills Shakuni.
Due to loss of all of his warriors, Duryodhana hides in the lake. Meanwhile, Balarama returned from the pilgrimage and blessed Duryodhana to remain fearless. When the hidden Duryodhana is challenged by the Pandavas, he fights with mace Bhima and dies due to the thrashing of the thigh by Bhima. This was against the rule of mace fight but Bhima broke those rules to kill Duryodhana. In this way, the Pandavas emerge victoriously.

With the death of Duryodhana, finally, on 18th Day, Pandav army won the Mahabharat war with glory and magnanimity.

Dont Forget To Express Your Opinion For Mahabharat War

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Dr Nilesh Jaybhaye

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