Kaurava is a Sanskrit term which refers to descendants of Kuru, a legendary king of India who is the ancestor of many of the characters of the epic Mahabharata. Usually, the term is used for the 100 sons of King Dhritarashtra and his wife Gandhari. Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vikarna and Chitrasena are the most popular among the brothers. They also had a sister named Dussala and a half-brother named Yuyutsu.

Kaurava army (left) faces the Pandavas. A 17th-18th century painting from Mewar, Rajasthan.


The term Kauravas is used in the Mahabharata with two meanings ,

The rest of this article deals with the Kaurava in the narrower sense, that is, the children of Dhritarashtra Gandhari. When referring to these children, a more specific term is also used – Dhārtarāṣṭra (Sanskrit: धार्तराष्ट्र), a derivative of Dhritarashtra.[citation needed]

Birth of Kauravas

After Gandhari was married to Dhritarashtra, she wrapped a cloth over her eyes and vowed to share the darkness that her husband lived in. Once Sage Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa came to visit Gandhari in Hastinapur and she took great care of the comforts of the great saint and saw that he had a pleasant stay in Hastinapur. The saint was pleased with Gandhari and granted her a boon. Gandhari wished for one hundred sons who would be as powerful as her husband. Dwaipayan Vyasa granted her the boon and in due course of time, Gandhari found herself to be pregnant. But two years passed and still, the baby was not born.[2] Meanwhile, Kunti received a son from Yama whom she called Yudhishthira. After two years of pregnancy, Gandhari gave birth to a hard piece of lifeless flesh that was not a baby at all. Gandhari was devastated as she had expected a hundred sons according to the blessing of Rishi Vyasa. She was about to throw away the piece of flesh while Rishi Vyasa appeared and told her that his blessings could not have been in vain and asked Gandhari to arrange for one hundred jars to be filled with ghee. He told Gandhari that he would cut the piece of flesh into a hundred pieces and place them in the jars, which would then develop into the one hundred sons that she so desired. Gandhari told Vyasa then that she also wanted to have a daughter. Vyasa agreed, cut the piece of flesh into one hundred and one-pieces, and placed them each into a jar. After two more years of patient waiting the jars were ready to be opened and were kept in a cave. Bhima was born on the same day on which Duryodhana was born thus making them of the same age. Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva were born after Duryodhana was born.[3]

Children of Dhritarashtra

The children of Dhritarashtra by Gandhari are also referred by a more specific and frequently encountered term - Dhārtarāṣṭra, a derivative of Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Dhritarashtra).[dubious ]

According to the epic, Gandhari wanted a hundred sons and Vyasa granted her a boon that she would have these. Another version says that she was unable to have any children for a long time and she eventually became pregnant but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a hundred and one-pieces and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl.[4]

The birth of these children is relevant to the dispute over the succession of the kingdom's throne. It attributes the late birth of Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, despite his father's early marriage and legitimizes the case for his cousin Yudhishthira to claim the throne, since he could claim to be the eldest of his generation. All the sons of Dhritarashtra (excluding Yuyutsu) were killed in the Battle of Kurukshetra.

Names of the Kauravas

The Mahabharata notes the names of all Kauravas, of which only Duryodhana, Dushasana, Vikarna and Chitrasena play a significant role:[5]

  1. Duryodhana
  2. Dushasana
  3. Vikarna
  4. Chitrasena
  5. Upachitran
  6. Suvarma
  7. Dussaha
  8. Jalagandha
  9. Sama
  10. Saha
  11. Vindha
  12. Anuvindha
  13. Durdharsha
  14. Subahu
  15. Dushpradarshan
  16. Durmarshan
  17. Durmukha
  18. Dushkarna
  19. Yuyutsu
  20. Salan
  21. Sathwa
  22. Sulochan
  23. Chithra
  24. Chitraksha
  25. Charuchithra
  26. Sarasana
  27. Durmada
  28. Durviga
  29. Vivitsu
  30. Viktana
  31. Urnanabha
  32. Sunabha
  33. Nanda
  34. Upananda
  35. Chitravarma
  36. Suvarma
  37. Durvimochan
  38. Ayobahu
  39. Mahabahu
  40. Chitranga
  41. Chitrakundala
  42. Bhimvega
  43. Bhimba
  44. Balaki
  45. Balvardhana
  46. Ugrayudha
  47. Sushena
  48. Kundhadhara
  49. Mahodara
  50. Chithrayudha
  51. Nishangi
  52. Pashi
  53. Vridaraka
  54. Dridhavarma
  55. Dridhakshatra
  56. Somakirti
  57. Anudara
  58. Dridasandha
  59. Jarasangha
  60. Sathyasandha
  61. Sadas
  62. Suvak
  63. Ugrasarva
  64. Ugrasena
  65. Senani
  66. Dushparajai
  67. Aparajit
  68. Kundusai
  69. Vishalaksha
  70. Duradhara
  71. Dridhahastha
  72. Suhastha
  73. Vatvega
  74. Suvarcha
  75. Aadiyaketu
  76. Bahvasi
  77. Nagaadat
  78. Agrayayi
  79. Kavachi
  80. Kradhan
  81. Kundi
  82. Kundadhara
  83. Dhanurdhara
  84. Bhimaratha
  85. Virabahi
  86. Alolupa
  87. Abhaya
  88. Raudrakarma
  89. Dhridarathasraya
  90. Anaghrushya
  91. Kundhabhedi
  92. Viravi
  93. Chitrakundala
  94. Dirghlochan
  95. Pramati
  96. Veeryavan
  97. Dirgharoma
  98. Dirghabhu
  99. Kundashi
  100. Virjasa

The Kauravas also had a half-brother, Yuyutsu, and a sister, Duhsala.

Marriages and children of Kauravas

All the 100 Kauravas were mentioned to have wives in the Adi Parva.[6] Some of them had children - Duryodhana was mentioned to have a Kalinga princess as his wife. They had three children: a son Lakshmana Kumara and two daughters named Lakshmana and one unnamed daughter. Lakshmana Kumara participated in the Kurukshetra War and killed Shikhandi's son Kshatradeva on the 12th day of the war. He is killed by Abhimanyu on the 13th day of the war.

Lakshmana was said to have married Krishna's son Samba. Dushasana was also said to have two sons, who killed Abhimanyu in the war. Dushasana's first son was killed by Shrutasena in the war. Dushasana's second son was killed by Abhimanyu.

Dushasana also had an unnamed daughter. Chitrasena's son was said to have been killed by Shrutakarma in the Kurukshetra War. Chitrasena also had an unnamed daughter. However, it was mentioned that all these sons of the Kauravas were killed by the sons of the Pandavas.

In literature

Harivamsa Purana (8th century CE) narrates the Jain version of their story.[7]

In popular culture

The term Kaurava is used as the name of a fictional planetary system in the 2008 real-time strategy video game Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Soulstorm, as well as the names of the system's planets.

See also


  1. ^ Monier-Williams, Sir Monier (1872). A Sanskṛit-English Dictionary Etymologically and Philologically Arranged: With Special Reference to Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, Anglo-Saxon, and Other Cognate Indo-European Languages. Clarendon Press.
  2. ^ "Kauravas". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Mahabharat Chapter 6 - Birth of Pandavas and Kauravas". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  4. ^ The Birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas
  5. ^ Pattanaik, Devdutt (2010). Jaya: an Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata. Gurgaon, Haryana, India. ISBN 978-0-14-310425-4. OCLC 692288394.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section CXVII".
  7. ^ Upinder Singh 2016, p. 26.