Arjuna's chariot had 4 horses, or we can say all the important warriors had chariots with four horses.

I want to know how these four horses were arranged, were they placed parallel to each other or were they placed in two rows of two.

As Arjuna's chariot was special, it might have a different arrangement than others.

It would be better to give reference to verses, instead of referring to pictures.

  • 3
    never imagined horses in row to pull a chariot.. :)
    – YDS
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


The meaning of pārṣṇi and its related words – frequently used in the battle scenes of Bhīṣma, Droṇa and Karṇa parvas – suggests that all major warriors had their chariots drawn by four horses standing parallel to each other. The two outside horses each required a separate charioteer.

pārṣṇi    f. the extremity of the fore-axle to which the outside horses of a four-horse chariot are attached (the two inner horses being harnessed to the dhur, or chariot-pole), MBh.

pārṣṇivāh    m. an outside horse, MBh.

pārṣṇisārathi    m. dual number. the two charioteers who drive the outside horses (cf. prec.), MBh.

E.g., Yudhiṣṭhira, while recounting his battle with Karṇa (from which he had to retreat) says his two pārṣṇi charioteers were killed:

Yudhishthira said, "Welcome, O thou that hast Devaki for thy mother, and welcome to thee, O Dhananjaya! The sight of both of you, O Acyuta and Arjuna, is exceedingly agreeable! I see that without being wounded yourselves, you two, his foes, have slain the mighty car-warrior Karna! He was in battle like unto a snake of virulent poison. He was accomplished in all weapons. The leader of all the Dhartarashtras, he was their armour and protector! While fighting he was always protected by Vrishasena and by Sushena, both of whom are great bowmen! ... In gravity he was unfathomable as the Nether world. The enhancer of the joys of friends, he was like the Destroyer himself unto foes! Having slain Karna (who was even so) in dreadful battle, by good luck it is that you two have come, like a couple of celestials after vanquishing an Asura! Today, O Acyuta and Arjuna, a great battle was fought between myself exerting with might and that hero resembling the Destroyer himself, while seeking to exterminate all creatures! My standard was cut down, and my two Parshni drivers also were slain by him. I was also made steedless and carless by him in the very sight of Yuyudhana...

The Sanskrit verse is:

08,046.011a   tena ketuś ca me chinno hatau ca pārṣṇisārathī
08,046.011c   hatavāhaḥ kṛtaś cāsmi yuyudhānasya paśyataḥ

There is no reason to suspect Arjuna's chariot were drawn any differently. Kṛṣṇa was most likely steering the two horses in the middle.

  • 2
    So, it means in any 4 horse chariot there are 3 drivers ?? I never read any such mention. Also, during the mahabharat war, there are various instances when someone kills one Saarthi (driver) in order to stall his chariot after which his chariot runs awild.
    – V.Aggarwal
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 4:49
  • 1
    Additionally, as far as I understand when the words parshv or parshv-rakshak is used, it means one who protect the flanks of the main charioteer. It is very beautifully described when Arjuna fought to kill Jaidhrath, and his two guards (Uttmauja and Yudhamanyu) could not keep up with him and later joins him
    – V.Aggarwal
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 4:50
  • 1
    Did you notice the Sanskrit word used? (पार्ष्णिसारथि m. pArSNisArathi - "two charioteers who drive the outside horses") - I thought you were looking for the original Sanskrit verse and not artistic imagination. @V.Aggarwal Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 15:13
  • 2
    Yes, I did, I was just amazed by this information, the presence of additional saarthi for the outside horses, I wasn't expecting that. Anyways the original question is answered, The horses were indeed parallel. :)
    – V.Aggarwal
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 3:38
  • any chance if you could help in this one too, hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/35706/…
    – V.Aggarwal
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 3:40

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