The Strength of One Akshauhini

Note: As we read in the previous post, Sauti described the battles that took place at Samanta-Panchaka, and why the site is considered holy. He mentioned the word, akshauhini, while speaking of the strength of the armies that had assembled for the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas. After hearing the story of Samanta-Panchaka, the rishis wanted to know the meaning of akshauhini and the number of soldiers, horses, and elephants that constituted one akshauhini. The following are Sauti’s words to the rishis as he explained the meaning of one akshauhini. 

One Patti is made up of one chariot, one elephant, five foot soldiers, and three horses.

One Sena-Mukha is made up of three Pattis.

One Gulma is made up of three Sena-Mukhs.

One Gana, constitutes three Gulmas.

One Vahini is made up of three Ganas.

One Pritana is made up of three Vahinis.

Three Pritanas make up one Chamu.

Three Chamus form one Anikini.

One Akshuhini is made up of ten Anikinis.

If we do the math, one Alshauhini is made up of 21,870 Pattis. Therefore, one Akshauhini has:

  • 21,870 chariots
  • 21,870 elephants
  • 65,610 horses
  • 109,350 foot-soldiers

Note: Sauti continued with additional information about the commanders and how long they fought.

  • Bhishma fought for ten days. 
  • Drona fought for five days. 
  • Kama fought for two days.
  • Salya for half a day. 

Then, for half a day, Duryodhana and Bhima fought with clubs. That night, Aswatthaman and Kripa destroyed the remainder of the Pandavas’ army while they were sleeping.

Table of Contents

Previous: The Story of Samanta-Panchaka

Next: A Brief Outline of all the Eighteen Parvas of the Mahabharata