|Children||Kshatradharman, Kshatravarman, Kshatranjaya and Dhrishtaketu (sons)|
According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Dhrishtadyumna (Sanskrit: धृष्टद्युम्न, romanized: dhṛṣṭadyumna, lit. 'he who is courageous and splendorous') was the son of Drupada—the king of Panchala Kingdom—and the twin brother of Draupadi.
Dhrishtadyumna was born from a yajna (fire-sacrifice) organised by Drupada, who wanted a son capable of killing his enemy Drona. When the Pandava prince Arjuna—disguised as a brahmin—won the hands of Draupadi in marriage, Dhrishtadyumna figured out his identity. Later in the Kurukshetra War, Dhrishtadyumna supported the Pandavas and was a successful commander-in-chief of their army. On the fifteenth day of the war, he beheaded Drona, fulfilling the mission of his birth.
Dhishtadyumna, along with Draupadi, is described as an "ayonija", one not born from a woman's womb. His birth is narrated in the Adi Parva of the epic. According to the legend, Drupada once humiliated his childhood friend Drona because of his poor financial condition and this led to hatred between them. Drona then became the teacher of the Pandava brothers and they defeated and captured Drupada. Though Drona spared Drupada's life because of their past friendship, he forcefully took half of Panchala. Humiliated by his defeat, Drupada wanted vengeance but since none of his children and allies was powerful enough to defeat Drona, he decided to perform a yajna (fire-sacrifice) to obtain a powerful son.
Drupada appointed the sages Upyaja and Yaja as the head-priests and the yajna was conducted. After it was completed, the sages instructed the queen of Drupada to consume the offering to have a son. However, the queen had scented saffron in her mouth and asked them to wait till she had a bath and washed her mouth. Unable to wait, the sages poured the offering into the sacrificial altar, from which, a youth emerged. He was of fiery complexion and wore a crown on his head, an amour on his body and carried a sword, a bow as well as some arrows in his hands. He then went to a chariot and the people of Panchala rejoiced after seeing him. Soon after his birth, a divine voice prophesied,
This prince hath been born for the destruction of Drona. He shall dispel all the fears of the Panchalas and spread their fame. He shall also remove the sorrow of the king.
This was followed by the emergence of a beautiful maiden from the fire. The sages named the youth Dhrishtadyumna and the maiden was named Krishnaa but she is better known by her patronymic, Draupadi.
After some time, Drona heard about Dhrishtadyumna and invited him to his kingdom. Even though Drona knew about Dhrishtadyumna's prophesy, he happily accepted him as a student and taught him advanced military arts,making him a very powerful warrior and highly knowledgeable about celestial weapons.Dhrishtadyumna became an Maharathi under Guru Drona tutelage.
Dhrishtadyumna hosted his sister Draupadi's swayamvar and told its rules to the kings and princes. When a young Brahmin won Draupadi in front of all the princes and nobility, Dhrishtadyumna secretly followed the Brahmin and his sister, only to discover that the Brahmin was in fact Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers.
Dhrishtadyumna had multiple wives. He had 4 sons - Kshtradharman, Kshatravarman, Kshatranjaya and Dhrishtaketu. The first 3 were killed in the Kurukshetra War by Drona, whereas Dhrishtaketu was killed by Karna.
Dhristadyumna was appointed as the Senapati (commander-in-chief) of the Pandava Army in the Kurukshetra War against the Kauravas. He maintained his position till the end of the war. On the 15th day of the war, Drona killed Drupada. The Pandavas conceived a plot to capitalize on Drona's only weakness, his son Ashwatthama. The Pandava Bhima killed an elephant named Ashwatthama. The Pandavas spread the rumour of Ashwatthama's death. When Drona approached the eldest Pandava Yudhishthira, he confirmed that Ashwatthama was killed, but murmured that it's the elephant; the latter part of his reply was overshadowed by conches of Pandava warriors. Thinking his son had died, Drona was heartbroken and surrendered his weapons. Drona sat down, started to meditate and his soul left his body in quest of Ashwatthama's soul. Dhristadyumna took his sword and decapitated Drona, killing him.
On the 18th night of the war, Ashwathama attacked the Pandava camp during the night, and killed Dhristadyumna. As Dhristadyumna begs for an honourable death, asking to die with a sword in his hand, Ashwathama ignores him, proceeding to beat and smother him to death rather than beheading him.
In one of the many side-stories of the Mahabharata, there is a drama centred around the fact that Dhrishtadyumna, despite not being Drupada's eldest, is his heir. While Drupada and others give many reasons for this, it is implied that the real reason is that Dhristadyumna has a godly parent, and thus more coveted as a ruler since his rule would seem more blessed. Dhristadyumna somewhat internalizes this, looking down upon Satyajit's pacifism and Shikhandi's single-minded hatred of Bhisma.