Krauncha Vyuha – Heron Shaped Battle Formation in Ancient India



Krauncha Vyuha was an important battle formation (military maneuver) in ancient India. From above, the battle formation used to have the shape of a flying heron. Chariots, elephants, horses and infantry formed part of the formation. Both Kauravas and Pandavas employed Krauncha Vyuha in the Mahabharata war.

Krauncha Vyuha looked like a flying heron with a straight body, beak stretched forward, legs backward and outstretched wings extended sideways.

In the Mahabharata war, on the second day of the battle Pandavas attacked Kuaravas in Krauncha Vyuha formation. On the sixth day of the battle, Kauravas attacked Pandavas in this formation.

Brihaspati, the Guru of Devas, originally designed the formation. Therefore, it was first employed by Devas in their battle against Asuras.

Heron Shaped battle formation is both aggressive and defensive.

In the forefront would be the commander (the protruding beak), flanked by two senior warriors placed in the eyes position of the heron. The neck consists of chariots. The flanks and other parts filled by elephants, horses and infantry.

During defense, the outstretched wings would be closed together towards the head and beak, thus forming a solid block.

In the Mahabharata war during Krauncha Vyuha formation, Arjuna took the position on the protruding beak. Yudhishtira was placed in the center. For the Kauravas, Bhishma was on the beak. Kripa and Aswhattama were the eyes.