Shri Krishna challenging Bhishma in the war of Kurukshetra

Eighteen days of Mahabharata war

 Mahabharata war which lasted eighteen days

In the context of Mahabharata, eighteen is an important number. Duryodhana had 11 akshouhini soldiers and Pandavas had 7, making a total of eigtheen. There are eighteen chapters in the epic and last but not the least, the war has lasted for exactly eighteen days.

 

Mahabharata war

Mahabharata war

Day One and Two – The Grandsire’s amazing skills on display

Uttara and Sweta, sons of Virata, were killed on day one of Mahabharata war. Shalya killed Uttara and Bhishma killed Sweta. This day belonged to Kauravas. Second day belonged to Pandavas and Satyaki killed Bhishma’s charioteer. Bhishma dazzled in kurukshetra and Yudhishthira was forced to thinking that how would they conquer this army which has warriors like Bhishma.

Uttara - prince of Virata

Uttara – prince of Virata

Day Three – Day Eight (Bhima kills few Kauravas)

On day three, Bhishma killed many soldiers of Pandava army.  On fourth day, Bhima killed eight brothers of Duryodhana. Day eight spelled some misery for pandavas, as Arjuna’s son Iravan was killed.

Day Ten (Bhishma’s downfall)

On ninth day, Shri Krishna lost his patience and intended to attack Bhishma. Bhishma so far was proving too much for pandavas army, but Arjuna pacified him. He devises a strategy to cause Bhishma’s downfall. Interestingly, the secret of his downfall was given by Bhishma only. This was made possible by Shikhandi facing him and Arjuna using Shikhandi as shield. (Tenth day). Pandava’s chances only improved after Bhishma was removed from the equation.

Indian mythology story from Mahabharat

Bhishma on his death bed

Bhishma downfall

Bhishma’s  downfall

Day Twelve and Thirteen – Chakravyuha formation and death of Abhimanyu

On Twelfth day, Susharma engaged Arjuna. Susharma was part of the Duryodhana’s plan to capture Yudhishthir to win the war. On thirteenth day, while Arjuna was fighting Bhagdatta and Susharma, Drona made Chakravyuha formation. Nobody in pandavas knew the key to this apart from Arjuna. Abhimanyu knew how to enter but did not know how to come out of it. Once he entered, Jayadrath ensured that no pandava could follow him. Trapped, Abhimanyu fought valiantly before dying in hands of son of Dushasana, Durmashana.

 

Abhimanyu in Mahabharata war, he was killed on thirteenth day

Abhimanyu fought valiantly

Abhimanyu killed Brihadbala. He also defeated Duryodhana but let him live because Bhima was under oath to kill him. Seeing this, Karna snaps Abhimanyu’s bow from behind while Drona kills Abhimanyu’s horses and charioteer from the front. Then all Kauravas attacked him simultaneously. Dushasana’s son crushed his skull with a mace. However, Abhimanyu killed him with his own mace before dying. He also killed more than half akshouhini’s of Kaurava’s that day.

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Day Fourteen and Fifteen – When Arjuna was close to death and Yudhishthrira spoke a half lie

Next day (fourteenth), Arjuna kills 5 Akshouhini’s of Kauravas and Jayadrath after coming to touching distance of death. This could have doomed pandava’s chances of winning the battle had Krishna not intervened. Karna kills Ghatotkacha with Indrastra, this again ensures that one more factor of  Arjuna’s death is taken care of. Satyaki killed Bhurisravas.

on Day fifteen, Drupad and Virata were killed by Drona. This was indeed Drona’s day, as he was decimating pandava’s army with the help of brahmadanda. Bhima killed an elephant, named Ashwaththama, and claimed that Drona’s son was killed. Drona dropped his arms after Yudhishthira confirmed this and was killed by Dhristdyumna.

Dhrishtdyumna killing Drona (The Teacher) in the battle of Mahabharat

Dhrishtdyumna killing Drona (The teacher of princes) in the battle of Mahabharat on day fifteen

Day Sixteen and Seventeen

On sixteenth day, Dushashana was killed by Bhima. Bhima tore his arm and drank the blood from his heart. Draupadi could finally tie her hairs with the blood from Dushashana’s heart.

Day seventeenth saw the demise of Karna in hands of Arjuna. He was killed in the same way as Abhimanyu, helpless. Earlier that day, Karna spared Sahdev and Arjuna. Nakula, the most handsome of kuru clan, killed Shakuni’s son Uluka. He took this oath during the gambling loss of killing Uluka. Nakula also killed three of Karna sons, Chitrasena, Sushena and Satyasena. Shalya became the commander of Kaurava’s army on seventeenth day of Mahabharat war.

Karna's chariot stuck in mud

Karna’s chariot stuck in mud

Final Day – Eighteenth day of Mahabharata war

On final (eighteenth) day, Shalya,  who acted as the charioteer of Karna, was killed by Yudhishthir.  There was a strange ability to him that he would grew more stronger in a battle as the aggression of his enemies grew. Only Yudhishthir could kill the powerful warrior because the eldest Pandava was not a man of aggression. Sahdev killed Shakuni to avenge the events which followed dice game. Seeing his eminent defeat, Duryodhana sought refuge in a lake. Pandavas found him there and Yudhisthira made a mistake. He offered Duryodhana to pick any of the Pandavas for a duel. Duryodhana chose Bhima. Balrama also watched this great duel between strength and agility. Bhima finally breaks Duryodhana thighs which enrages Balrama as this was against the rules of the war. Incidentally, Bhima vowed after the dice game that he would break Duryodhana’s thighs.

Bhima and Duryodhana - Mahabharata (eighteenth day)

Bhima and Duryodhana – Mahabharata (eighteenth day)

The night of shame – Ashwaththama’s misdeeds

Later in the night, Ashwaththama slays sons of Pandavas while they were sleeping. He also kills Shikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna. Dhrishtadyumna was the commander of Pandavas that day. He also attempted to kill unborn son of Abhimanyu who was saved by Shri Krishna. Ashwaththama was later cursed by Shri Krishna. Ashwaththama was supported by Kritvarma and Kripacharya.

Draupadi’s secret longing for another man

Mahabharata  stories

Comments

  1. Mahabharata is one of my absolute favorite books and you have done a wonderful job encapsulating important events and facts from the story here on your blog. Thanks for refreshing the memories of some good days spent reading the text 🙂

    -Abhijit – Reflections

    1. Ritu says:

      Thanks Abhijit. Saw and liked you blog. You write good poetry. Keep witing…………..

  2. Gajanan Kaley says:

    Great job. Your brief narration of 18 days war of Mahabharat augmented my curiosity still further.
    to understand whole Mahabharat precisely.

  3. Thanks Gajanan. We feel humbled by your kind words and strive to churn out more articles which appeal to our leaders. An all time favourite on ritsin.com is http://ritsin.com/seven-unknown-facts-about-mahabharat-indian-mythology-story.html/
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  4. Nachiket says:

    There is a correction in the above description. It is written that Arjuna used Shakuni was a sheild. However it was Shikhandi whom Arjuna used as shield. As he was a lady in previous birth and Bhisma would not wield weapons against ladies and children. It is against the kshatra dharma.

  5. Vishnu Kumar says:

    This Mahabharata war is also being waged every day within us. Good against Evil. We have full freedom to choose to be part of Pandavas or Kauravas, Dharma against Adharma etc.- regards

  6. Mann says:

    Great information!!

  7. Thanks for illustrating detailed happenings on 18 days war.

  8. Mallik Arjun says:

    thelusukovalasina vishayam

  9. Mallik Arjun says:

    thelusukovalasina vishayam

  10. aaryamaam says:

    good info of olden times . got to know more . great job

  11. Grandsire Bhishma patimah laid with hundreds of arrows piercing his body for fifty seven days. How could the war only last eighteen days? The Mahabharata lasted eighteen years!

  12. facts and incidents of Mahabharat is still prevailent in India's social and political field.

  13. facts and incidents of Mahabharat is still prevailent in India's social and political field.

  14. kishore kumar says:

    very interesting and nice. Great things I known by this post

  15. Bala Jj says:

    on which mounth mahabaratha war starts

  16. What is total count of worriors as per current count system in Mahabharat War