Angkor Wat: Battle of Kurukshetra – Death of Bhishma

Battle of Kurukshetra bas-relief depicting the death of Bhishma

Battle of Kurukshetra bas-relief depicting the death of Bhishma

Death of Bhishma
The image shows a section of the Battle of Kurukshetra bas-relief depicting Bhishma, the grand-uncle of both the Kauravas and Pandavas and the commander of the Kaurava army, lying on the bed of arrows fired at him by Arjuna. He led the Kaurava army for the first ten days of the battle.

The death of Bhishma is a well-known episode narrated in Mahabharata. Here is the story in brief:

As the Kurukshetra Battle rages, Krishna realizes Bhishma is an obstacle to Pandava’s victory because Arjuna is unable to beat Bhishma in the battle. To ensure Pandava’s victory, Krishna devises a clever plan involving Shikhandi, a eunuch, to kill Bhishma. Krishna knew Bhishma took an oath not to fight the other gender.

As per the plan, Shikhandi accompanies Arjuna in his chariot on the tenth day of the battle. When the battle between Arjuna and Bhishma starts, Arjuna hides behind Shikhandi and fires arrows at Bhishma. Unable to fight back because of his oath, Bhishma lays down his arms. Seizing this opportunity, Arjuna fires arrows at Bhisma, and as Arjuna’s arrows pierce through Bhishma’s body, he falls down with the arrows on his body. As you can see from the image, it appears as though Bhishma is lying on a bed of arrows.

The Battle of Kurukshetra bas-relief is carved on the southern section of the west gallery, located on the perimeter of the lower level of the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Related Images
Advancing Kaurava army
Melee of Kaurava and Pandava warriors

Related Pages
Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Bas-Reliefs, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei
Phnom Kulen, Tonle’ Sap, Cambodia
Bali, Prambanan, Prambanan Bas-reliefs, Borobudur, Indonesia

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