Kuru Queen
A print on Madri by Raja Ravi Varma
IssueSons Step-sons (Kunti)
DynastyMadra (by birth)
Kuruvamsha (by marriage)

Madri (Sanskrit: माद्री, IAST: Mādrī) was the princess of Madra Kingdom and the second wife of Pandu, the king of Kuru Kingdom in the epic Mahabharata. Madri, with the assistance of her co-wife Kunti, invoked the twin deities Nasatya and Darsa, collectively known as the Ashvins, and from their blessings, gave birth to the youngest Pandavas—the twin brothers Nakula and Sahadeva.


The word Mādrī means 'woman of Madra'.[1]

Marriage and children

Madri was the sister of Shalya, the king of the Madra Kingdom. The Adi Parva of the Mahabharata states that Bhishma, a statesman of Kuru Kingdom and the grandsire of the royal family, travelled to Madra and asked for the hand of Madri for Pandu, the ruler of the kingdom.[2] Shalya assented, but according to their family custom, he was unable to 'bestow' his sister to the Kurus. So, Bhishma presented him with wealth, gold, elephants, and horses, and took Madri with him to Hastinapura, the capital of Kuru, and got her married to Pandu.[3]

While hunting in a forest, Pandu sees a couple of deer in the process of coitus, and shoots arrows at them, only to find out that it was a sage named Kindama and his wife who were making love in the form of deer. The dying sage curses Pandu, that if he would approach his wives with the intent of making love, he would die. Upset and seeking to repent his action, Pandu renounces his kingdom and lives as an ascetic with his wives.[4]

Birth of Nakula and Sahadeva

Due to Pandu's inability to bear children, Kunti uses a boon by Sage Durvasa to give birth to her three children Yudhisthira, Bhima, and Arjuna from divine fathers. She later shared the boon with Madri, who invoked the divine twins, the Ashvins, to beget Nakula and Sahadeva.[5][6]


One day, Pandu becomes captivated by the beauty of Madri and engages in intercourse with her. Madri, despite her best efforts, is unable to fend him off from the act. As a result of the sage's curse, Pandu dies. Attributing her husband's death to herself, Madri takes her own life.[7] A stanza in the Mahabharata states that Madri performed suicide by sati. However, this account is contradicted by the very next stanza, which states that her dead body and that of her husband were handed over by sages to the Kaurava elders in Hastinapura for the funeral rites.[8]

In popular culture


  1. ^ (15 June 2012). "Madri, Mādrī, Mādri, Madrī: 14 definitions". Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  2. ^ Uberoi, Meera (1996). The Mahabharata. ISBN 9788170702313.
  3. ^ Debalina (20 December 2019). Into the Myths: A Realistic Approach Towards Mythology and Epic. Partridge Publishing. ISBN 978-1-5437-0576-8.
  4. ^ Ramankutty, P.V. (1999). Curse as a motif in the Mahābhārata (1. ed.). Delhi: Nag Publishers. ISBN 9788170814320.
  5. ^ "The five pandavas and the story of their birth". Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  6. ^ Williams, George Mason (2003). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-106-9.
  7. ^ Fang, Liaw Yock (2013). A History of Classical Malay Literature. Institute of Southeast Asian. ISBN 978-981-4459-88-4.
  8. ^ M. A. Mehendale (1 January 2001). Interpolations In The Mahabharata. pp. 200–201.
  9. ^ "31 years of Mahabharat on Doordarshan: Interesting facts about one of most popular TV shows ever". The Financial Express. 2 October 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  10. ^ "An epic for an epic, on small screen - All-new Mahabharata". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 31 May 2022. Retrieved 9 May 2020.