The battle of 18 Akshouhinis

As we all know very well, the combined strength of the army of the Pandavas and Kauravas in the Mahabharata war was 18 Akshouhinis. Pandavas had 7 Akshouhinis and Kauravas had 11. The Akshouhini is roughly equivalent to the regiment of the modern day military. The number of ‘resources’ in each Akshouhini though was humongous.

Let’s see some numbers to get an idea of what constituted an Akshouhini.

Legend: C for chariots, E for elephants, H for horses and S for foot-soldiers

1 C, 1 E, 3 H and 5 S = 1 Patti : 1C, 1E, 3H, 5S
3 Pattis = 1 Sena mukha : 3C, 3E, 9H, 15S
3 Sena mukhas = 1 Gulma : 9C, 9E, 27H, 45S
3 Gulmas = 1 Gana : 27C, 27E, 81H, 135S
3 Ganas = 1 Vahini : 81C, 81E, 243H, 405S
3 Vahinis = 1 Pritana : 243C, 243E, 729H, 1215S
3 Pritanas = 1 Chamu : 729C, 729E, 2187H, 3645S
3 Chamus = 1 Ankini : 2187C, 2187E, 6561H, 10935S
10 Ankinis = 1 Akshouhini : 21870C, 21870E, 65610H, 109350S

One Akshouhini constituted 21,870 chariots, 21870 elephants, 65610 horses and 1,09,350 foot-soldiers. The total number of soldiers comes up to (109350 + 65610 + 21870 + 21870) = 218700. Adding the charioteers and mahouts (assuming one per chariot and elephant), the total number of people involved in one Akshouhini comes to (218700 + 21870 + 21870) = 262440.

The total number of people involved in the war were 18 * 262440 = 47,23,920!

Out of these 4 million+ people who fought the war, hardly a handful survived – Pandavas, Krishna, Satyaki, Ashwathama, Kripa, Kritavarma and Yuyutsu.

Another interesting thing about the Akshouhini. It has a strong affiliation to the number 18.

Chariots : 21870 : 2 + 1 + 8 + 7 + 0 = 18
Elephants : 21870 : 2 + 1 + 8 + 7 + 0 = 18
Horses : 65610 : 6 + 5 + 6 + 1 + 0 = 18
Foot-soldiers : 109350 : 1 + 0 + 9 + 3 + 5 + 0 = 18
Total people : 262440 : 2 + 6 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 0 = 18

Total Akshouhinis in the war = 18
Total number of days war was fought = 18
Number of chapters in the Bhagavadgita = 18
Number of Parvas in the Mahabharata = 18
Original name of Mahabharata = Jaya = Ja – Ya = Ya – Ja = 1 8 = 18

18 is therefore an extremely significant number in the Mahabharata!

15 Responses to “The battle of 18 Akshouhinis”

  1. Ashish Says:

    Hello All,

    I just stumbled on this web page , when I was searching about Mahabharata War Soldiers. Really good description given by everybody here.
    Please if any body could do more research on this subject & tell me :
    On How much space did soldiers fought the battle, since 108 crores was in one Akshouini. Somebody has said , it was fought till Siberia.

    How could Economy in those times , sustain such a large number of soldiers & population.

    I will be eager to hear any kind of new information (or any link) on this subject. Guys kindly revert.

  2. ajay Says:

    great how efficient ancient people were


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