In a final attempt at securing peace, Krishna returns with the Pandavas’ final proposal: the Pandavas would give up all claims to Indraprastha and Hastinapur in exchange for five villages. Scoffing, Duryodhana says he will not even give “five needlepoints of land” to the Pandavas. Duryodhana, in some versions of the story an outright atheist, brushes off the incident, not convinced of Krishna’s divinity, and believing that strength of arms, not philosophy, would win him a war.
At the end of the exile term, Duryodhana refuses to return Yudhishthira’s kingdom, despite the counsel of Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Vidura. Although Dhritarashtra criticizes his son, he tacitly desires that Duryodhana retain his throne.
On the eighteenth day of the war, with his army reduced to himself, Ashwatthama, Kripa and Kritvarma, Duryodhana goes to meditate in a lake. When the Pandavas and Krishna eventually find him, Duryodhana tells them that he wants to gift the kingdom to them, and retire to the forest. Yudhishthira balks at the offer, telling him that Hastinapuram is not Duryodhana’s to gift. Instead, he offers that Duryodhana may pick any of the Pandava brothers to fight against one-to-one with a weapon of his choice, with the winner of the conflict the victor of the war. Despite his proposed advantage over Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Nakula, or Sahadeva with the gada, Duryodhana picks his nemesis Bhima.
Duryodhana manages to thrice defeat all the Pandavas and protect his army. As Shalya is killed by Yudhishthira, Duryodhana’s paltry army-once eleven akshauhinis strong-breaks, and the army is essentially routed. Having lost his horse, Duryodhana leaves the battlefield. He cools his body by entering a lake, all hope of winning lost, yet he prepares for his final battle; for a death befitting a warrior on the battlefield and hoping to reunite with his friends and relations in the afterlife. He re-emerges from the lake after Ashwatthama and Kripa counsel him to face his destiny with courage.
Gandhari is a prominent character in the Hindu epic the Mahabharata. The princess of gandhar. She was the wife of Dhritrashtra, the blind king of Hastinapura, and the mother of a hundred sons, the Kauravas. As a pativratha (devoted wife) without parallel, Gandhari is regarded as an epitome of virtue, and is among the most respected moral forces in the epic. She was not only married to a blind man, but at the time of her wedding, she resolved to spend the remainder of her life as a blind woman herself, in order to share the debility and pain of her husband. For the rest of her life, she kept a cloth tied to her eyes and thus deprived herself of the power of sight. At certain critical junctures, she gave advice to her husband which was impeccable from a moral standpoint; she never wavered in her adherence to dharma (righteousness), even to a very bitter end. She was fated to witness the death of all her hundred sons within the space of 18 days, during the Great War between them and their cousins; she also curses the lord krishna when she was full of sorrow on the death of her 100 childrens that his vansh would also be destroyed in the same manner as that of her. she then retired with her husband to spend her last days in a forest hermitage.
According to many stories, Gandhari’s marriage was a major reason for the story’s central conflict. Her brother, Shakuni, was enraged that Hastinapur, already having humiliated Gandhar in a war of conquest where all of Shakuni’s brothers were killed, would offer for his prized sister a blind man. Shakuni swore to destroy the Kuru dynasty and played an instrumental role in fueling the flames of conflict between the cousins.
Gandhari’s marriage was arranged to Dhritarashtra. The Mahabharata depicted her as a beautiful and virtuous woman and a very dedicated wife. Gandhari was married with Dhritarashtra, king of Hastinapur. Their marriage was arranged by Bhishma. When she found it out that her would-be husband was born blind, she decided to blindfold herself in order to be like her husband. What was going through the young girl’s mind when she found it out that she was going to marry a blind man is not depicted in the epic. Popular narration said that the act of blindfolding herself was a sign of dedication and love.
During the birth of her first son Duryodhana, many ill omens occur, worrying Vyasa, Bhishma and Vidura. They foresee that this child might cause the great destruction to their kingdom, and advise to kill him. But Dhritarashtra and Gandhari outrightly reject that idea, and in later life they both turn blind to his misdoings.
Some folk fore narrate that Gandhari made a single exception to her blindfolded state, when she removed her blindfold to see her eldest son Duryodhana. She poured all her power into her son’s body in one glance, rendering Duryodhana’s entire body, except his loins, as strong as iron. Krishna foiled Gandhari’s plan by asking Duryodhana to cover up his privates before meeting his mother. On their decisive encounter on the eighteenth day of the Kurukshetra battle, Bhima smashed Duryodhana’s thighs, a move both literally and figuratively below the belt. This story is not mentioned in the original version of the Mahabharata which was written by Veda Vyasa. As per Vyasa’s Mahabharata, Duryodhana, while fighting against Bhima, displayed his superior mace skills, due to which Bhima could not defeat him and had to break rules to kill him.
All of Gandhari’s sons were killed in the war against their cousins, the Pandavas, at Kurukshetra, specifically at the hands of Bhima. When she heard the news of the death of all the sons of Pandavas (Upapandavas), she embraced the Pandavas and consoled them for their losses. Later her wrath turned to Krishna for allowing all this destruction to happen. She cursed that he, his city and all his subjects would be destroyed. Krishna accept the curse but reminds her that she applauded her sons when they committed wicked deeds before the war and she is questioning justice in and after war, a justice she denied others before the war. Her curse took its course 36 years after the great war when Yadu dynasty perished after a fight broke out between yadavas at a festival. Lord Krishna ascended to his heavenly abode after living for 126 years. The golden city of Dwarka drowned exactly seven days after his disappreance.