Virat (Sanskrit: विराट, lit. huge), in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, was the king of Matsya Kingdom with its Virata Kingdom, in whose court the Pandavas spent a year in concealment during their exile. Virata was married to Queen Sudeshna and was the father of Prince Uttara and Princess Uttarā, who married Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna. Abhimanyu and Uttara's son Parikshit succeeded Yudhishthira to the throne of Hastinapura, after the war of Mahabharata.[1]

A lithograph of Virata in his court by Ravi Varma Press, 1920
FamilySahtanika (brother)
ChildrenUttara, Uttarā, Shveta, and Shankha


Virata was a good ruler. He married his commander-in-chief Kichaka's elder sister Sudeshna. Though he was a fierce warrior, he was afraid of Kichaka's might. So he obeyed all orders of Kichaka. He was warned by Kichaka that if he wouldn't obey his orders, he (Kichaka) will destroy his whole kingdom. He was unable to stop Kichaka when he was insulting Draupadi in disguise of Sairandhari. After Bhima killed Kichaka, Virata became independent. He also insulted Duryodhana who was blaming Virata for Kichaka's death. When Trigarta's king Susharma attacked him on Duryodhana's order from another direction, he fought with him bravely but when Susharma was about to kill him, he was saved by Bhima. His daughter Uttarā was married to Arjuna's son Abhimanyu whose son Parikshita succedded Yudhishthira's throne.

Role in the Kurukshetra War and DeathEdit

He supported Pandavas in the war. Before, the war Sahadeva preferred Virata to be the commander-in-chief of their army, but Yudhishthira and Arjuna preferred Dhrishtadyumna.

On the very first day of war, he fought with his main enemy Susharma and defeated him.

On the 2nd day of war, he killed Shalya's son Madranjaya.

He defeated Shakuni on 12th day of war and was also defeated by him on the night war.

He was killed by Drona on the 15th day of the war. In different version he was killed during a Kaurava attack in the Kurukshetra War along with his sons.

After Virata's death, Arjuna became the king of Virata's former kingdom.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dowson, John (1888). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History, and Literature. Trubner & Co., London. p. 1.
  • Swami Ramsukhdas: Shrimad Bhagvadgita - Sadhaka-Sanjivani, translated into English by S.C. Vaishya, Gita Press Gorakhpur, ISBN 81-293-0063-X