In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the Upapandavas (IAST: Upapāṇḍava, Sanskrit: उपपाण्डव, lit. junior Pandavas), also known as Pandavaputras (IAST: Pāṇḍavaputra, Sanskrit: पाण्डवपुत्र, lit. sons of Pandavas), Draupadeyas or Panchakumaras (IAST: Pañcakumāra, Sanskrit: पञ्चकुमार, lit. five sons) are the five sons of Queen Draupadi from each of the five Pandavas. They are Prativindhya, Sutasoma, Shrutakarma, Shatanika and Shrutasena.[1][unreliable source?][2] They were Maharathis, as mentioned by Bhishma, and fought the Kurukshetra war on the side of the Pandavas and slew many enemy warriors. They were as ferocious as their fathers but other than that, not much is said in the Mahabharata about the brothers. They were very strong and they were only defeated by remarkably few Kaurava warriors.

They had half and full paternal brothers, 3 of whom - Abhimanyu, Ghatotkacha and Iravan, also fought in the War. All 8 of these brothers perished in the battle.

The Upapandavas, along with Abhimanyu, also battled the demon king Alambusha.


Prativindhya (IAST: Prativindhya, Sanskrit: प्रतविन्ध्य, lit. shining like the sun or towards Vindhya) or Shrutavindhya (IAST: Śrutavindhya, Sanskrit: श्रुतविन्ध्य, lit. related to the Buddhi[3]) was son of Yudhishthira and Draupadi and was the eldest of the Upapandavas. He was described to be a skilled fighter, known to face troops like "the thunder-wielding Shakra (Indra)".[4] In the Kurukshetra War, Prativindhya fought Shakuni.[5] On the 9th day, Prativindhya struck Alambusha unconscious.He also rescued his father Yudhishtira from Dronacharya showing his courage

On 14th day he killed Dushasan's son Dumrasan who had killed abhimanyu and took revenge. On the 14th night, he fought some of the Kauravas along with Sutasoma. On the 15th day, he stopped Ashwatthama's advance by holding him off long enough but ultimately had to retreat from the battle after being overpowered by Drauni. He killed Chitra, the king of Abhisara, on the 16th day.[6]


Sutasoma (Sanskrit: सुतसोम, lit one who has extracted soma or the one who has the beauty of the moon[7]) was son of Bhima and Draupadi, second of the Upapandavas. He also handled the troops in the warHe excelled in Mace fighting and archery. He battled the Kaurava prince Vikarna on the first day of the war. He played a major role in the battle by nearly killing Shakuni. Sutasoma, on the 12th day, stopped the advance of the mighty Kaurava Vivismati, towards Dronacharya. He also battled some of the Kauravas on the 14th night, accompanied by his half-brother Prativindhya.[8] He played a major role along with Yudhishthira and other Upapandavas in holding off Dushasana and the other Kauravas on the 15th day.[9]


Shatanika (IAST: Śatānīka, Sanskrit: शतानीक, lit. he who has hundred troops) was the son of Nakula and Draupadi. He was the third of the Upapandavas. He was named after a famous Rajarshi in the Kuru lineage who was considered to be an avatar of Visvadevas. He was nominated as a deputy commander-in-chief under his maternal uncle and teacher Dhrishtadyumna, in was charge of Vyuha planning.[10] He was the strongest among the Upapandavas. He massacred the army of Kaurava ally Bhutakarma, as well as Bhutakarma.[11] Shatanika also defeated Kaurava prince Dushkarna on the 6th day. On the 11th day he defeated by Karna’s son Vrihasena.[12] He defeated the Kauravas Jayatsena, Chitrasena and Shrutakarman and killed a prince of Kalinga. Shatanika caused huge destruction of the Kaurava army on the 17th day too.[13]


Shrutsena (IAST: Śrutasena, lit. the commander of the army of celestials) was son of Sahadeva and Draupadi and the fourth of the Upapandavas; like his father he was smart and intelligent. In the Chatahurdi analysis of the Mahabharata, he was defeated by Shakuni during the battle; he killed Shala, the younger brother of Bhurishravas on the 14th day of the war.[14] He fought with other warriors like Dushmanara and Durmukha and defeated them. He also killed the son of Kaurava warrior Devavraddha.[15]


Shrutakarma (IAST: Śrutakarma, lit. he who is known for his good deeds) was the son of Arjuna and Draupadi,[16] and the youngest of the Upapandavas. His horses were supposed to bear the colour of kingfishers.[17] He was a capable archer like his father and defeated Kamboja ruler Sudakshina on the first day. He also defeated the Kaurava Jayatsena on the 6th day.[18] He fought against Dushasana and Ashwathama in an archery duel in the battle and gave them a good fight. He killed King Chitrasena, another king of Abhisara, on the 16th day.

Order of their birth

The order of birth of the Upapandavas was not the same as that of their fathers.

1. Prativindhya - sired by Yudhishthira

2. Sutasoma - sired by Bhima

3. Shatanika - sired by Nakula

4. Shrutasena - sired by Sahadeva

5. Shrutakarma - sired by Arjuna

This is because, the first 4 children of Draupadi were born during the first exile of Arjuna. After begetting sons from the eldest 2 Pandavas, it is Nakula's turn to enter Draupadi's chambers, and after him, is Sahadeva's turn. After Arjuna returns from his exile, he sires Shrutakarma with Draupadi.


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Ashwatthama propitiates Shiva before making a night attack on the Pandava camp

On the last night of the war after Duryodhana's death and the Kauravas' defeat, Ashwathama gathered the only other surviving Kaurava warriors - Kritavarma and Kripacharya, and attacked the Pandava camp. He killed Dhrishtadyumna and many other prominent warriors of the Pandava army while they were sleeping or tried to fight him back.

Ashwatthama killed all the Upapandavas who were awake by then along with Shikhandi when they came out of their chambers after hearing the screams of other soldiers to fight Ashwatthama. In some versions of the story, he believes them to be the five Pandava brothers due to darkness; in others, he purposefully attacks the Pandavas' heirs in order to hurt the Pandavas emotionally by destroying their lineage.

Ashwatthama was eventually cursed by Krishna for his heinous act of attempting to kill the baby Parikshit in the womb of Uttara, to roam the world for 3000 years with loneliness, incurable bruises and ulcers.

In the Jataka tales version of the Mahabharata, Parikshit's mentors included Sutasoma. Prativindhya, Shrutakarma, and Shatanika at least (who even in Sauptika Parva is shown as wounded not dead) have definite longer lives in Jatakas.


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  2. ^ van Buitenen, J.A.B., ed. (1981). The Mahābhārata. Translated by van Buitenen (Phoenix ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226846644.
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  4. ^ "Prativindhya - AncientVoice".
  5. ^ Mahabharata Book Six (Volume 1): Bhishma. October 2016. ISBN 9781479852123.
  6. ^ "The Real Mahabharat of Sage Vyasa on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 30 April 2022.[user-generated source]
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  8. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva: Ghatotkacha-badha Parva: Section CLXVIII".
  9. ^ Roy, Pratāp Chandra (14 June 2015). The Mahabharata. ISBN 9781451015799.
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  11. ^ Parmeshwaranand, Swami (2001). Encyclopaedic dictionary of Purāṇas (1st ed.). New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788176252263.
  12. ^ "The Fifth and Sixth Days of the Great Battle [Chapter 6]". 9 January 2015.
  13. ^ The Mahabharata: Volume 7. June 2015. ISBN 9788184759440.
  14. ^ Parmeshwaranand, Swami (2001). Encyclopaedic dictionary of Purāṇas (1st ed.). New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788176252263.,
  15. ^ "Shrutakarma, Śrutakarmā: 3 definitions". 21 September 2015.
  16. ^ John Dececco, Devdutt Pattanaik (2014). The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore. Routledge. ISBN 9781317766308.
  17. ^ The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. 2012. ISBN 9781451018264.
  18. ^ "The Fifth and Sixth Days of the Great Battle [Chapter 6]". 9 January 2015.