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Mahabharata character
FamilyShantanu (father) Satyavati (mother) Chitrangada (brother) Bhishma (half-brother)
SpouseAmbika and Ambalika
ChildrenDhritarashtra and Pandu

Vichitravirya (Sanskrit: विचित्रवीर्य, vicitravīrya) was a king in ancient India. In the Mahabharata he is the younger son of queen Satyavati and king Shantanu and grandfather of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

His short reign[edit]

Vichitravirya had an elder brother named Chitrāngada, whom his half-brother Bhishma placed on the throne of the kingdom of the Kurus after Shantanu's death. He was a mighty warrior but the king of the Gandharvas defeated and killed him at the end of a long battle. Thereafter, Bhishma consecrated Vchitravirya, who was still a child, to the kingdom.[1]

When he had reached manhood, Bhishma married him to Ambika and Ambalika, beautiful daughters of the king of Kasi. Vichitravirya loved his wives very much and was adored by them. But after seven years he fell ill of consumption and could not be healed despite the efforts of his friends and physicians.[2] Like his brother Chitrangada, he died childless. Subsequently, through a levirate (niyoga) marriage to his half-brother sage Vyasa, his wives and a maid gave birth to three children, namely Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura.[3]


  • Vicitravirya in: M.M.S. Shastri Chitrao, Bharatavarshiya Prachin Charitrakosha (Dictionary of Ancient Indian Biography, in Hindi), Pune 1964, p. 841
  • J.A.B. van Buitenen, Mahabharata, vol. 1, Chicago 1973


  1. ^ van Buitenen (1973), p. 227
  2. ^ Bhanu, Sharada (1997). Myths and Legends from India - Great Women. Chennai: Macmillan India Limited. pp. 35–6. ISBN 0-333-93076-2.
  3. ^ van Buitenen (1973), pp. 230; 235-36

See also[edit]

External links[edit]