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This article is about tragic hero of the Hindu epic. For other uses, see Abhimanyu (disambiguation).
Uttaraa pleads to Abhimanyu as he leaves for the war
Spouse(s) Uttara
Children Parikshit

Abhimanyu (Sanskrit: अभिमन्यु) was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra. He was the nephew of Lord Krishna and was married to Uttara, the princess of Matsya Kingdom.[1]


Abhimanyu was the reincarnation of the Varchas, son of the moon-god (Chandra). When the moon-god was asked to let his son incarnate himself on earth, he made a pact that his son will only remain on earth for 16 years as he could not bear to be separated from him.[2][better source needed]

Thirteenth Day[edit]

Abhimanyu's story came to prominence on the 13th day of the war when he entered the powerful Chakravyuha battle formation of the Kaurava army.[3][better source needed], Abhimanyu claimed that he could decimate the entire kaurava and pandava army in a fair combat. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07034.htm

Abhimanyu was trained in warfare by pradyumna (sri krishna's son) and Arjuna himself. Abhimanyu learnt the art of breaking into the chakravyuha when he was in subhadra's womb, It was when arjuna was narrating the art of breaking into chakravyuh to Subhadra. http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07031.htm

Inside the Chakravyuha, the trapped Abhimanyu went on a killing rampage, intending on carrying out the original strategy by himself and killing tens of thousands of Kaurava soldiers. He defeated great warriors like Drona, Kripa, Karna, Ashwatthama, Duryodhana, Salya, Dussasana, Bhurisrava and killed many prominent heroes including Duryodhana's son Lakshmana, Salya's son Rukmaratha, Kritavarma's son Matrikavata, Salya's brother, King Brihadbala and many others.[4][better source needed]

Finally, a strategy was formed and a joint attack on Abhimanyu followed. Karna cut off Abhimanyu's bow, Kripa killed his two chariot-drivers, and Kritavarma killed his horses; Abhimanyu took up a sword and a shield but these weapons were cut off by Drona and Karna (though in other versions of the story, the perpetrators change while the acts remain the same). Abhimanyu then took up a chariot-wheel and threw it at Drona but Karna and Aswatthama saved Drona by cutting the wheel. With variations depending on the version of the story, Abhimanyu continues to fight, picking up discarded weapons as he requires. In one prominent ending, Abhimanyu defends himself with a chariot-wheel in a final stand; he is killed when numerous warriors simultaneously attack him from all sides. In another version, a badly wounded and exhausted Abhimanyu was finally killed by Dussasana's son, who smashed the fallen Abhimanyu's head with his mace. Abhimanyu died at an early age of sixteen.[5][better source needed]

Merciless killing of Abhimanyu


Arjuna Kills Jaydhratha with his heavenly arrow

After hearing the details of Abhimanyu's death, Arjuna vowed to kill Jayadratha the very next day by sunset, and failing to do so, promised to immediately commit suicide by self-immolation. On the fourteenth day of battle, Arjuna ravaged the Kaurava army, decapitating Jayadratha by the end of the day.[6][better source needed]

Abhimanyu's son, Parikshit, became the sole heir to the Pandava empire and succeeded Yudhishthira to the throne. Parikshit, born after the war's conclusion, remained the sole survivor of the Kuru clan at the conclusion of the Mahabharata. Abhimanyu is often thought of as a very brave warrior on the Pandava side, willingly giving up his life in war at a very young age. Abhimanyu was praised for his audacious bravery and absolute loyalty to his father and his uncles.[7][better source needed]