Bhishma abducts the princesses Amba, Ambika and Ambalika from the assemblage of suitors at their swayamvara
  • Kashya (Father)
RelativesKauravas (grand children)

In the epic Mahabharata, Ambika (Sanskrit: अंबिका, ambikā) is the daughter of Kashya, the King of Kashi, and wife of Vichitravirya, the King of Hastinapura.


Mahabharata Partial Family Tree
Mahabharata Partial Family Tree

Along with her sisters, Amba and Ambalika, Ambika was taken by force by Bhishma from their swayamvara, the latter having challenged and defeated the assembled royalty. He presented them to his step-mother, Satyavati for marriage to Vichitravirya. While Amba expressed her desire not to marry him as she was in love with a king named Salwa, Ambika and Ambalika married Vichitravirya and spent seven years in their husband's company. Vichitravirya was afflicted with tuberculosis and subsequently died from the disease.[1][2]

After Vichitravirya's death, his mother Satyavati sent for her first born, Rishi Veda Vyasa. She asked him to sire children with the widowed queens of Vichitravirya according to the prevalent custom of Niyoga. Veda Vyasa had come from years of intense meditation and as a result, he looked tremendously unkempt. When he approached Ambika, she closed her eyes in fear. As a result, the blind Dhritrashtra was born from their union. When he approached Ambalika, she turned pale in fear. Her son Pandu, the result of their union, was born with a pale appearance.[3][4]

After the death of Pandu, Ambika accompanied her mother-in-law Satyavati and sister Ambalika to the forest and spent the rest of her days in spiritual retreat.[5]


  1. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CII". Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  2. ^ Bhanu, Sharada (1997). Myths and Legends from India - Great Women. Chennai: Macmillan India Limited. pp. 35–6. ISBN 0-333-93076-2.
  3. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CV". Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  4. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CVI". Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  5. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CXXVIII". Retrieved 15 August 2012.