Mahabharata or Mahabharat war last for 18 long days. But do you know that only 12 warriors survived Kurukshetra war among millions of warriors who fought it. These 12 warriors include only 3 Kauravas!!
This war is fought by approx. 3.94 million warriors. Many warriors died in the field of Kurukshetra. But here we are talking about the people who actively participated and survived Kurukshetra war.
Therefore Draupadi, Kunti, Vidura, Dhritarashtra etc are not considered here as they do not actively participate in the war.
Thus the 12 warriors who survived Kurukshetra war Mahabharata are Krishna, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, Nakula, Sahadeva, Yuyutsu, Satyaki, Kritavarma, Ashwatthama, Kripacharya and Vrishaketu.
12 Warriors who survived Kurukshetra war in Mahabharata are:
This is the most obvious answer. Krishna is the supreme god himself. He fought in the war as the charioteer of Arjuna. He constantly guides Arjuna during the Kurukshetra war.
Krishna preaches “BHAGAVAD GITA” to Arjuna when he refused to fight against his own family members (Kauravas). Arjun is directed by Krishna to follow his Kshatriya (warrior) duty to fight and establish Dharma.
One of the most famous shlokas of Srimad Bhagavad Gita is:
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥४-७॥
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥४-८॥
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All the five Pandavas namely Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, Nakula and Sahadeva survived the war.
Among Pandavas, Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira are the sons of Kunti and Pandu. While Nakula and Sahadeva are the sons of Madri and Pandu. (Pandu has two wives, Kunti and Madri)
Yuyutsu is the only son of Dhritarashtra who survived the war. He is the son of Dhritarashtra with Sughada/Sauvali, Gandhari’s maid.
Yuyutsu is born at the same time as other Kauravas. So he is of the same age of other Kaurava. He is one of the warriors who survived Kurukshetra war.
He is also famous (well not so famous) because he chooses the path of virtue. Apart from being a Kaurava, he fought on the side of the Pandavas. He is the only Kaurava who fought for Pandavas.
After ruling Hastinapur for over 36 years, Pandavas decide to renounce the world and begin their journey toward Swarga (heaven). They made Yuyutsu supervisor (निरीक्षक) of the kingdom.
Satyaki belongs to the Vrishi clan of Yadavas, to which Krishna also belongs. He considers himself as the student of Arjuna and was devoted to Krishna.
He also fought on the side of the Pandavas, apart from the fact that Yadava army is promised to Kauravas by Krishna.
Kritavarma is one of the two important warriors of Yadava clan. While Satyaki joined Pandavas, Kritavarma joined Kauravas and led the Yadava army.
He also helps Ashwathama in accidentally killing five sons of Draupadi (one with each Pandava) along with Dhristadyumna and Shikhandi.
Ashwathama or Ashwatthama is the son of Dronacharya and Kripi (sister of Kripacharya). He along with his father fought on the side of Kauravas.
Since he was born Chiranjivi, it is virtually impossible for anyone to kill or defeat him. That’s why he survived Kurukshetra war.
He also commits the sin of the killing of five sons of Draupadi during the night time. Krishna cursed Ashwathama that for 3000 years he will roam in the forests with blood and puss oozing out of his injuries and cry for death.
It is believed that he is still roaming on earth in and around the Narmada river in India.
Kripacharya is the teacher of both of Pandavas and Kauravas. His sister is married to Drona (or Dronacharya). He is also one of the eight Chiranjivi(s) just like Ashwatthama.
He is one of the only three Kauravas including Ashwatthama & Vrishaketu who survived the war.
Vrishaketu or Vrishakethu is one of the nine sons of Karna. He is the only son of Karna who survived the war. He fought on the side of Kauravas.
Later on, Arjuna gets to know that Karna is his real elder brother and he killed him. He feels guilty for his actions.
Thus, he took Vrishakethu under his protection. Vrishaketu grew close to the Pandavas after the war.
He took part in many battles after the war. Later during the Ashvamedha yagna, Arjuna’s son Babruvahana killed him.