Gandhari (character)

From Academic Kids

Alternate meanings: see Gandhari

Gāndhārī is a character in the India epic, the Mahabharata. In the epic, she was a princess of Gandhara (modern day Kandhahar), a region spanning northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, from which her name is derived. Gandhari's marriage was arranged to Dhritarashtra, the eldest prince of the Kuru kingdom.

Gandhari voluntarily blindfolded herself throughout her married life. Her husband Dhritarashtra was born blind, and on meeting him and realizing this, she decided to deny herself the pleasure of sight that her husband could never relish.

Gandhari bore a hundred sons, (collectively known as the Kaurava), and one daughter. The Kaurava, principally Duryodhana and Dusshasana, were the villains of the Mahabharata, and were all killed in their war against their cousins, the Pandava, at Kurukshetra.

Although Gandhari's sons were portrayed as villains, the Mahabharata portrays Gandhari as devout, virtuous, and of high moral standards. When her son Duryodhana asked her blessing before the Kurukshetra war, she said that she hoped the righteous side would win. Gandhari was also an ardent worshipper of Lord Shiva.

Gandhari made a single exception to her blindfolded state, when she removed her blindfold to see Duryodhana. Gandhari ended her life with her husband and her sister-in-law Kunti in the Himalayas, where they die in a forest fire.

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