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Arjuna Kills Jaydhratha with Aindrastra
In-universe information
FamilyVridhakshatra (father)

In the epic Mahābhārata, Jayadratha (Sanskrit: जयद्रथ) was the king of Sindhu Kingdom. He was married to Dushala, the only sister of the 100 Kaurava brothers. Besides Dussala, he had another two wives, one from Gandhara and the other from Kamboja. He was the son of the king Brihanmanas. He was killed by Arjuna with the help of Krishna. His son's name was Surath.


The word Jayadratha is derived from two Sanskrit words, jayat meaning 'victorious' and ratha meaning 'chariot'. Thus the word Jayadratha means, 'having victorious chariots'. His other names are-

Abduction of Draupadi[edit]

Jayadratha abducts Draupadi

One day, during the time the Pandavas were in exile, the Pandavas went hunting to gather food. They left Draupadi alone at the ashrama and requested Sage Trunabindu and Dhaumya to watch over her. On that day Jayadratha saw Draupadi and sent his minister Kotikasya to inquire as to who she was. Kotikasya went over to her and after learning about her identity, informed Jayadratha that she was Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas. Jayadratha in spite of learning her identity, went to Draupadi and proposed to marry her. Initially welcoming him as the Pandavas’ brother-in-law, Draupadi vehemently refused his proposal. Infuriated, Jayadratha abducted Draupadi and started moving towards his kingdom. The Pandavas returned to their ashrama to find Draupadi missing and learned about the event that had unfolded by the account of Draupadi's friend Dhaatreyika, who had witnessed Jayadratha forcefully carrying Draupadi away. Yudhishthira then ordered his younger brothers to rescue Draupadi. They rushed in their chariots towards Jayadratha and his host with great fury, and started to slay all of his soldiers. When Jayadratha, the King of Sindhu, saw that his warriors were slain, he became anxious, and in confusion, leaving Draupadi there, fled for his life. Arjuna perceiving that Jayadratha had fled, exhorted his brother Bhima to refrain from slaughtering the troops, saying, it's not their fault. Yudhishthira returned with Draupadi while commanding his brothers to pursue Jayadratha. On learning that the enemy was a full two miles ahead of them, they spurred their horses to greater speed in pursuit of him. And the mighty Arjuna performed a wonderful deed, killing the horse of Jayadratha, although they were full two miles ahead of them, using a divine weapon. Bhima seized Jayadratha by his hair, slammed him on the ground with violence, and started to kick him on his head. Phalguna dissuaded the wrathful Bhima by reminding him of Yudhishthira's words. Suppressing his wrath, Bhima shaved the hair of the prince's head, leaving five tufts in as many places. Thrusting him in a chariot in chains, they approached Yudhishthira. Bhima asked Draupadi for his fate. Draupadi, reading the King's mind, said, 'Let him off!'. She suggested that he was already treated like a slave. So bowing down to the merciful Yudhishthira, he returned to his capital.[1]

In the Kurukshetra war[edit]

Abhimanyu fights the Kauravas in the chakrayudha (left); while Jayadratha on the elephant on the right prevents the Pandavas from aiding Abhimanyu.

After his humiliation at the hands of Pandavas, Jayadratha gives control of his kingdom to his wife and did severe penance towards Lord Shiva. Pleased with his austerities, Shiva appears before him and grants him a boon, Jayadratha asked,'May I be able to defeat in battle all the five sons of Pandu on their chariots!'. Shiva, however, told him 'This cannot be as it is destined for combination of Krishna and Arjuna cannot be defeated in any war.. Still unchanged, to his wish, Jayadratha asked that he must cause a paramount destruction to Pandavas. The lord twisted his word and gave the boon that " For any one whole day of his choice, during the oncoming war, Jayadratha can beat any warrior from the opposite side, except Arjuna". Saying these words, the consort of Uma, vanishes with his followers. Jayadratha returns to ruling his kingdom and waiting for that one day. 2 years later, naturally, Jayadratha fights on the side of his brother-in-law Duryodhana in the Kurukshetra War. On the 1st day of the Mahabharata war, in the noon he defeated King Drupada, but spares him. On the 13th day of the Mahabharata war, when the chakravyuha is launched by Dronacharya, Jayadratha makes use of Lord Shiva's boon and invokes his supreme strength. Arjuna's son Abhimanyu manages to enter the formation; he intends for the Pandava forces to follow after him and smash the formation from the inside. Jayadratha moves to close the gap, and is able to hold all of the Pandava brothers and their forces at bay with ease. As part of Drona's strategy, Arjuna and Krishna are busy battling Susharma and the Trigata Army elsewhere. Abhimanyu, who does not know how to exit from the chakravyuha, is trapped and brutally killed by the Kaurava Warriors in a combined attack, and the day ends.

The Pandavas are startled after finding that Jayadratha was able to hold the world's most powerful warriors at bay. In particular, Draupadi, Yudhishthira, and Bhima feel very guilty for not killing Jayadratha when they did have the chance. Arjuna blames Jayadratha to be the cause for Abhimanyu's death. He vows to kill him the very next day before sunset, failing which Arjuna would kill himself by jumping in a pyre of fire. This sets the stage for the epic 14th day of battle.

Arjuna's revenge[edit]

Dronacharya arranged a combination of 3 vyuhas (military formations) in order to protect Jayadratha from Arjuna. The first one was Shakata vyuha, the cart formation; the second one was Suchimukha Vyuha, the needle formation; and the final was Padma Vyuha (Lotus Formation).

Jayadratha's head falls in his father's lap

Bhima, Satyaki and Arjuna tear through the Kaurava army. But it was clear that Arjuna couldn't accomplish the goal before the sunset. At a climactic moment, with the sun nearly set and thousands of warriors still between Arjuna and Jayadratha, Krishna sends his Sudarshana Chakra in order to mask the sun and create an illusion of sunset. The Kaurava warriors rejoice over Arjuna's defeat and look forward for his imminent suicide. Jayadratha, who was hiding behind Duryodhana, is relieved that he was saved. Therefore, he comes out of the formation. Suddenly the sun is free from the eclipse and Krishna tells Arjuna, pointing at the sun that the sun had not set, but it was only an illusion by him. He then points at the hiding Jayadratha, telling Arjuna to sever his head and shoot the head into the lap of Jayadratha's father. Arjuna quickly picks up his Gandiva and shoots the Pashupatastra at Jayadratha. Jayadratha's head is taken with the arrow far from the battlefield, finally landing on the lap of his father, Vridhakshatra.

Jayadratha beheaded by Arjuna, made by Mughal artists Baswan and Miskin, a folio of Razmnama

His father, being a sage had granted him a boon that whosoever will be responsible for his son's severed head to fall onto the ground will have his head burst into 100 pieces. Therefore, when his father, horrified at having his son's head in his lap, hurriedly got up, the severed head fell to the ground, killing Vridhakshatra at the same moment.


Jayadratha is succeeded by his son Suratha through his wife Dushala, who did not participate in the War. However, some months later, after Yudhishthira becomes the king, he performs the Ashvamedha Yagna. He sends an army to guard the horse, with Arjuna as the commander-in-chief. Arjuna soon marches towards Sindhu Kingdom, and when this news reaches Suratha, he ends his life fearing that it will be impossible for him to face Arjuna. When Arjuna reaches Sindhu, he hears of what happened and feeling bad for his sister Dushala, he installs Suratha's infant son as the next king of Sindhu, and returns without a battle.


  • Pratāpacandra Rāya (1889). The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. Calcutta: Bharata Press. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  1. ^ Sacred text http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03270.htm. Missing or empty |title= (help)