Ramayana and Mahabharata are household books in
and the heroes appearing in these two epics are very well known. While many of us remember the five Pandavas and their deeds, we can remember only a few of the Kauravas like Duryodhana and his brother Dushashana. We are unable to remember the names of the rest of Duryodhana’s brothers. India
I thought it would be of help if I compiled a list of all the 101 Kauravas, born of Gandhari, wife of Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur. (Hastinapur today is a small village near
in Uttar Pradesh. It has many Jain temples and only a handful of structures and all of them in ruins associated with the great city that it was during the Mahabharata period.) Meerut
However, before naming all the Kauravas, here is a story of their birth.
Nearly 3,500 years ago, Sage Vyasa had come to Hastinapur. The then queen of Hastinapur, Gandhari, looked after the sage so well that he was pleased by her devotion. “Ask for any boon”, he told Gandhari.
The Queen wanted 100 sons and asked for it.
Gandhari became pregnant but even after two years she did not deliver any baby. Meanwhile, another queen of Dhristra had already delivered a baby who came to be called Yudhistra.
Subsequently, Gandhari delivered a lump of flesh. Deeply disappointed she decided to throw it away. Vyasa then intervened and told her that his boon could not go in vain. He asked her to get 100 jars and placed a piece of flesh in each one of those jars filled with ghee.
Gandhari replied that she wanted a daughter too apart from the 100 sons. Vyasa nodded in approval and cut the lump if flesh into 101 pieces. He then asked Gandhari to wait for two more years before opening the jar.
Two years passed and when an anxious Gandhari opened the first jar, she found a baby boy whom she named Duryodhana. According to Aadhi Parva, (Chapter 114, Sloka 17) when Duryodhana started crying, several animals too started howling. Vidura, an adviser to Dhritarashtra, said it was an evil omen and asked Gandhari and Dhritarashtra to abandon it. But that was not to be and the rest as they say is history or rather Mahabharata. (Duryodhana’s real name was Suyodhana and he changed it to Duryodhana which means unconqurable)
When the Kauravas were being taken out of the jars, Bheema was born to Kunti in the forest. After 100 sons, Gandhari took out Duhshala, a baby girl, from the 101st jar. Check out the Adi Parva (The book of the beginning) in the Mahabharata which deals with the birth of the Pandavas, Kauravas and other related aspects Duhshala married Jayadratha who was killed by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata war.
Yuyutsu was the son of Dhritarastra from his marriage with a Vyasa woman Sauvali. He was younger than Duryodhana and elder than the rest of the ninety-nine Kuru brothers and Dushala. Eventually, he was the only son of Dhritarashtra who survived the Kurukshetra war. After the war, he took charge as the guardian of King of Hastinapur.
Sauvali was a maid servant in the royal household and she used to attend on Dhitrarastra. The king fell for the maid’s charm she gave birth to Yuyutsu. This was the time when Gandhari was having problems delivering her children. (The Kauravas were not friendly towards their step brother and kept taunting him about his caste). Yuyutsu took the side of the Pandavas in the war with his brothers and he is the only one of them to have survived.
The Mahabharata has 18 Parvas and each one refers to a specific issue or subject. The fifth parva deals with the preparations by both the Pandavas and Kauvaras for the epic war. This is called Udyog Parva. The subsequent four Parvas deals with the Kurukshetra war starting with the Bheesma Parva, Drona Parva, Karna Parva and Shalya Parva which deals with the events of the last day of the war. Apart from these 18 Parvas, there is another parva (this is an appendix) called Harivamsa Parva which details the events in the life of Krishna which are not contained in earlier parvas, particularly the Mausala Parva which deals with the destruction of the Yadava clan, the submergence of Dwaraka and the events leading to Krishna and Balarama leaving the mortal world.
Historians date the Mahabharata war to 3067 BC. For those sceptics who say the Mahabharata is only a work of fiction, here is some food for thought. The Mahabharata mentions that the southern kingdoms of Pandyas and Cholas took part in the war and that they were on the side of the Pandavas.
Excavations by Dr. S R Rao of
at Dwarkara have revealed the existence of a city that was submerged. Fragments of pottery and stone pillars have been recovered. Indraprastha is near Bangalore and it was in this area that the Purana Qila is constructed. Here too excavations have yielded artifacts dating to the Mahabharata period. Delhi
Duryodhana was killed by Bheema after the war had been won. Bheema challenged Duryodhana to a mace fight (Gada Yuddha) and killed him. Bheema also killed Dushashana during the war. It is said the Duryodhana did not cry when all his brothers were killed in the war by Bheema. The only time he wept inconsolably was when Arjuna slew Karna.
It was Sahadeva who killed Shakuni. The Mahabharata says Sahadeva first killed Shakuni’s son Uluka. When Shakuni started to run away, Sahadeva taunted him about the dice game that he had rigged and killed him with a spear.
Today, Kurukshetra is in Haryana state and the battleground covers several areas. There are more than 360 sight seeing places associated with the Mahabharata in the vicinity of Thaneswar or Tanesar and Kurukshetra towns. Some of the areas I have been able to come out with are Jyoti Sar where
Krishna preached Bhagavath Geeta to Arjuna. There is the progeny of a banyan tree under which Krishna revealed the Geetha. It is on the Pehowa Road and is 12 kms from Kurukshetra town.
This is the place where Bheeshma was felled by Arjuna’s arrows. Arjuna shot an arrow into the ground to quench Bheeshma’s thirst as he lay on a bed of arrows. It is 12 kms from the town of
Kurukshetra which is well connected to . Delhi
Coming back to the main theme of this article, here is a list of the Kauravas
101. Dussala (Daughter)