Panch Pandav History and Family Tree

This post shares with you Panch Pandav History and Family Tree. The Pandavas (Sanskrit: पाण्डव) are said to be the “five” sons of King Pandu of Hastinapur and his two wives Kunti & Madri.

Their names are as follows:

  1. Yudhishtira
  2. Bhima
  3. Arjuna
  4. Nakula
  5. Sahadeva
Panch Pandav

These Panch Pandav are the central characters in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. All of them were married to the same woman named Draupadi.

The Pandavas fought the Great Kurukshetra War against their cousins Kauravas for the throne of Hastinapur.

The word “Pandava” has been derived from their father’s name, which is Pandu. In fact, the word Pandava means “descendants of Pandu.”

Here are some other epithets that have been given to the Pandavas. They are as follows:

  • Panduputra meaning sons of Pandu
  • Pāṇḍavakumāra meaning young Pandavas
  • Kaunteya meanings sons of Kunti (Yudhishtira, Bhima, and Arjuna. Karna also came to be known as Kaunteya when his actual identity as Kunti’s son was known after the Kurukshetra War)
  • Madreya meaning sons of Madri (Nakula and Sahadeva)

Description of the Panch Pandav

Yudhishthira

He is the eldest of Pandava brothers. The meaning of his name is “the one who is steadfast even during the war.” His parents were Kunti & Pandu.

He was the spiritual son of Yama, who is the god of virtue, justice, and morality.

Yudhishthira was a skilled warrior, he had mastery in spear fighting & chariot race. He was also good in bow & arrow.

Yudhishthira helped King Virata to fight his enemy King Susharma. He was a virtuous man who was skilled in the duties as a king and followed the path of Dharma.

He was an able king who ruled over the prosperous city of Indraprastha. With the help of Lord Krishna and his brothers’ conquests, Yudhishthira became the emperor of the world.

Yudhishthira performed two “Ashwamedha” sacrifices and one Rajasuya sacrifice. He was good at playing chess. He learned to control the dice from Sage Brihadaswa.

Some of his other names are Ajatshatru (“without enemies) and Dharmaraj (“admired for virtues”). Yudhishthira was the only Pandava brother who entered heaven with the mortal body without dying.

Bhima

He was the second of the Pandava brothers. His name means “one who possesses terrible might.” Bhima was the son of Kunti and Pandu. He was the spiritual son of God Vayu – the lord of the atmosphere.

Bhima was known for his might. He was very athletic and possessed the strength equivalent to a 1000 elephants, he was extremely aggressive and prone to anger.

Bhima was devoted to his family and came out to be their natural protector. He had mastery in wielding the mace. In fact, Bhima was a powerful mace fighter and an invincible wrestler. He was even skilled in archery.

He bought many battles against Ashwatthama, Karna, and Drona. Moreover, Bhima was skilled in diverse areas of warfare, such as wrestling, charioteering, and sword fighting, and riding elephants.

Bhima conquered many kingdoms in the east and south. He overpowered Jarasandh in a wrestling bout, he killed demons Hidimba and Bakasura.

During his exile, Bhima killed many powerful demons such as Jatasura and Kirmira, Krodhavamshas. He killed Kichaka for attempting to molest Draupadi.

In the Kurukshetra War, Bhima slew one hundred Kauravas and Duryodhana himself. He was also good at cooking, culinary arts, chopping woods, and sciences. Bhima possessed divine bow Vayuvya as well as divine conch Paundra given that was given to him by Vayu Deva.

Along with Draupadi, Bhima married another woman Hidimbi during his exile from Hastinapur. Hidimbi was a rakshashi. He had a son named Ghatotkachh from Hidimbi.

Arjuna

He was the third of the Pandava brothers. Arjuna means white, silver, and shining. Arjuna was white in complexion, he was the son of Kunti and Pandu.

He was the spiritual son of Lord Indra, who is the King of Gods.

It is said that Arjuna was the incarnation of sage Nara (a divine form of Lord Vishnu). He possessed virtuous traits and avoided unjust acts.

Arjuna had single-minded concentrated, dedication, determination, commitment, and passion. He was immensely devoted to Lord Krishna.

He was the one to whom Lord Krishna displayed his complete Universal form. In fact, Lord Krishna imparted spiritual knowledge to Arjuna in the form of Bhagavad Gita during the battle of Kurukshetra.

Arjuna was the favorite of Bhishma. He was very popular among the people and was very attractive to women. In fact, he was the favorite disciple of Guru Dronacharya.

He was the best archer of his time, he mastered archery to the best possible level. Arjun defeated Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, and Karna.

Arjuna possessed the divine bow Gandiva which was gifted to him by Agni Deva (God of Fire). He was popularly known as Gandivadhari (wielder of Gandiva). He was a grandmaster in archery, he possessed divine and celestial weapons. Arjuna knew the secrets of invoking and recalling them.

He acquired divine weapons from Indra and other gods. He obtained the Pashupatastra from Lord Shiva himself.

Arjuna had command over many devastating weapons such as Brahmashira, Brahmastra, Rudra, Vajra, and Vaishnavastra. He was skilled in destroying all war strategies called “Vyuhas,” including the powerful Chakravyuh. He was even a talented singer and dancer.

Nakula

Nakula was the fourth Pandava brother. The meaning of his name is “without kula or lineage.” He was the son of Madri and Pandu. Nakula was the spiritual son of Ashwin twin Nasatya.

Nakula was very attractive, humble, helpful, and diplomatic. He conquered the western direction during the Rajasuya Yagna.

During the Kurukshetra War, Nakula killed many sons of Karna as well as the son of Shakuni, Vrikaasur. He was an excellent sword fighter. He was skilled in wielding unusual weapons.

Nakula was also a master of equestrian arts and sciences. He possessed exceptional skills in chariotry and riding horses, he was known for his excellent skills in understanding horses.

Sahadeva

Sahadeva was the youngest brother of the Pandavas. His name means “with gods.” He was the son of Madri and Pandu. Sahadeva was the spiritual son of the Ashwin twin Dasra.

Sahadeva was considered the wisest of the Pandava brothers. He was the most mysterious and introverted, he was an expert in sword fighting. He was also a master in Axe fighting.

Additionally, he was an able cowherd. He was capable of maintaining cattle. He could assess their health, milk them, and produce milk products. Sahadeva had mastery over religious scriptures and other branches of knowledge. He had a strong sense of premonition.

Sahadeva had conquered the southern direction (up to the kingdom of Lanka) during the Rajasuya War. In the Kurukshetra War, Sahadeva killed the wicked Shakuni and his son Ulooka.

Note: For the full Mahabharata story, please visit the page – Mahabharat Story and War

Parents of Panch Pandav

The first three Pandavas (Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna) were the sons of Kunti, Pandu’s first wife.

Nakula and Sahadeva were the sons of Madri, Pandu’s second wife.

However, King Pandu had been cursed that if he had intercourse with a woman, he would die.

So, the actual fatherhood of the children has been attributed to the various gods.

In fact, Kunti had a boon from Sage Durvasa that he could bear children from Gods without having a marital affair with them. Kunti also transferred her boon to Madri. Kunti and Madri used this boon to produce children.

Thus,

  • Yudhishtira was the son of Yama
  • Bhima was the son of Vayu
  • Arjuna was the son of Indra
  • Nakula was the son of Ashwin Kumar Nasatya (God of Health)
  • Sahadeva was the son of Ashwin Kumar Darsa (God of Medicines)

Panch Pandav Wives

You would probably know that the Panch Pandav in the epic Mahabharata shared a wife named Draupadi.

Draupadi Krishna
Draupadi telling story to Lord Krishna

However, apart from that, Yudhishtira married Devika, who was the daughter of Govasana Tribe. They had a son named Yaudheya.

Bhima married Valandhara, who was the daughter of King Kashi. They had a son named Sarvaga. Bhima also married a Rakshansi named Hidimba. She fell in love with Bhima and shared her feeling with Kunti, who allowed Hidimba to marry Bhima. They had a son named Gathotkaksha.

Nakula married Karenumati, who was the princess of Chedi. They had a son named Niramitra.

Sahadeva married Vijaya, who was the daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra. They had a son named Suhotra.

All these wives used to live with their sons in the house of their fathers.

Though Draupadi’s favorite, Arjuna had many wives.

Arjuna was married to Naga Ulipi, who was the princess of Chitrangada of Manipur. Arjuna also married Lord Krishna’s sister Subhadra. Moreover, according to the Tamil retellings of the Mahabharata, Arjuna married as much as seven (7) women.

One of them was Ali, who was a warrior woman.

Pandavas Family Tree

Panch Pandav belonged to the Kuru dynasty.

Their family tree begins with the King Shantanu of Hastinapur, who was married to Ganga. They had a son named Devarath.

Shantanu Goddess Ganga
Shantanu Meets Goddess Ganga

Devarath was also known as Bhishma. The title was given by his father Shantanu because he took the oath of never marrying any woman and to service the Throne of Hastinapur throughout his life.

Later, Shantanu married Satyavati and had two sons, namely Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Upon growing up, Chitrangada became the King of Hastinapur. However, he was killed by a Gandharva. So, Vichitravirya became the King of Hastinapur.

Vichitravirya married Ambika and Ambalika, who were daughters of the King of Kashi. He had three sons—one each from queens and one from a servant.

His sons were Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidur.

Dhritarashtra was married to Gandhari. He had 100 sons (Kauravas) and a daughter Dushala.

Pandu was the father of Pandavas and King of Hastinapur. However, Pandu gave up his throne because he accidentally killed a sage during hunting.

Vidur was the Prime Minister of Hastinapur.

All the sons of the Pandavas died in the Kurukshetra War of Mahabharata. They had no successor except Abhimanyu’s son Parikshit.

Abhimanyu was married to Uttara. He had a son named Parikshit, who later was crowned as the King of Hastinapur.

How did Pandavas die?

It is said that the Pandavas ruled over the Hastinapur for 36 years. They established a righteous kingdom. After Lord Krishna left the Earth, they decided that it’s time to renounce the world.

So, the Pandavas (along with Draupadi) started on the path of Liberation. All of them climbed Mount Kailash leading to the Swarga Loka. On their way, all of them died (one by one) except Yudhishtira. He was accompanied by a dog who was considered to be God Yama himself.

The first to die was Draupadi.

She was imperfect as he loved Arjuna more than other Pandava brothers.

Then it was Sahadeva who died because he was overconfident about his knowledge in science.

Nakula followed him. He died because he was over-enthusiastic about his good looks.

Then it was the turn of Arjuna. He died because he was proud of his archery skills.

Next was Bhima. He died because he killed his enemies brutally.

It was only Yudhishtira who reached the door of Swarga Loka. When he arrived in heaven, he found Duryodhana, who was sitting on a divine throne.

So, Yudhishtira asked for an explanation from Lord Yama.

Lord Yama told Yudhishtira that the Kauravas had been allowed into heaven (Swarga Loka) as they had died as warriors on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Yudhishtira wanted to know about his brothers and Draupadi. He was then taken to hell. Lord Yama explained that they were facing the reactions of their actions. However, it was temporary. They would soon join him in Swarga.

Yudhishtira preferred to live in hell with his brothers and Draupadi. Then, Lord Yama told Yudhishtira that it was an illusion that was created by him to test his merits and reactions.

All the Panch Pandav brothers, along with Draupadi, reached heaven soon after their deaths.

So, it was only Yudhishtira who reached heaven with his mortal body.

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