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Story Of Gandharva Chitraratha Who Gifted Tireless Horses To Pandavas

Chitraratha, also known as Angaraparna, was a prominent king of the Gandharvas, a group of celestial beings known for their skills in music and combat. He was the son of Sage Kashyapa, a revered sage in Hindu mythology, and his wife Muni. Chitraratha played a notable role in the Mahabharata, particularly in the lives of the Pandavas.

Encounter with the Pandavas

Chitraratha's first encounter with the Pandavas occurred when they were in exile. The Pandavas, accompanied by their mother Kunti, were traveling through a dense forest. One night, as they were resting by the banks of the Ganga, Chitraratha happened to pass by with his retinue of Gandharvas.

Battle with Arjuna

A confrontation ensued between Chitraratha and Arjuna. Chitraratha, mounted on his celestial chariot and armed with divine weapons, engaged in a fierce battle with Arjuna. Despite his prowess and the magical abilities of his Gandharva troops, Chitraratha was eventually overpowered by Arjuna’s exceptional archery skills.

The Aftermath and Friendship

Recognizing Arjuna's valor and the divine qualities of the Pandavas, Chitraratha chose to make peace. After his defeat, Chitraratha was impressed by Arjuna’s prowess and the nobility of the Pandavas. He revealed his identity and expressed his desire for friendship. The Gandharva king then bestowed upon the Pandavas several gifts as a token of goodwill. Among these gifts were divine horses.

The Divine Horses

The horses gifted by Chitraratha were extraordinary. These celestial steeds were known for their remarkable endurance and speed. They were described as tireless, capable of running great distances without fatigue. This gift proved invaluable to the Pandavas during their travels and battles, enhancing their mobility and strategic advantage.

Chitraratha’s Wife

Chitraratha’s wife was Kumbhinasi, a celestial being of great beauty and virtue. While the texts do not delve deeply into her background, her association with Chitraratha underscores the alliance between powerful celestial families and the divine heritage of the Gandharvas.

Significance in the Mahabharata

Chitraratha’s encounter with the Pandavas highlights several themes in the Mahabharata. It underscores the importance of valor, respect among warriors, and the forging of alliances. The exchange between Arjuna and Chitraratha also emphasizes the recognition of mutual strength and the establishment of camaraderie even after conflict.

Moreover, the gift of the tireless horses symbolizes the support and blessings the Pandavas received from various divine and celestial beings throughout their journey. These gifts and alliances were crucial in aiding the Pandavas in their eventual quest to reclaim their kingdom and establish dharma.


Chitraratha remains a memorable figure in the epic, representing the benevolent and supportive nature of the Gandharvas towards the protagonists of the Mahabharata. His interaction with the Pandavas exemplifies the blending of mortal and divine narratives that characterize much of the epic’s storytelling.