It's well-known that the Pandavas were all sons of gods: Yudhishthira was the son of Yama god of death, Bhima was the son of Vayu the wind god, Arjuna was the son of Indra king of the gods, and Nakula and Sahadeva were sons of the twin Ashwini Kumaras. But these weren't the only gods they were incarnations of. Let me explain.
This chapter of the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata describes how the gods were once conducting a Yagna when they saw a golden lotus floating in the Ganga river. Indra traced the lotus back to the source of the Ganga, where he saw a woman weeping while her tears being transformed into golden lotuses. When he asked her why she was crying, she took him to a mountain in the Himalayas where a young man and a woman were playing dice. Indra tried to introduce himself as the lord of the Universe, but the young man showed no interest in it. Indra angrily repeated his statement, when suddenly the young man revealed himself to be Shiva. To punish Indra for his arrogance, Shiva forced Indra into an underground cave, which contained other five people. It turns out that Shiva had given the same test to five previous Indras as well, and he imprisoned them because they failed it. But Shiva offered the Indras a way to redemption:
Those that are of disposition like thine never obtain my grace. These others (within the cave) had at one time been like thee. Enter thou this cave, therefore, and lie there for some time. The fate of you all shall certainly be the same. All of you shall have to take your birth in the world of men, where, having achieved many difficult feats and slaying a large number of men, ye shall again by the merits of your respective deeds, regain the valued region of Indra. Ye shall accomplish all I have said and much more besides, of other kinds of work.
As a result, the five previous Indras were born as the five Pandavas. The present Indra served as the father of one of them, Arjuna, to redeem himself as well. And the weeping woman, referred to in the text as Sri or Lakshmi, incarnated as the Pandavas' wife Draupadi. (Madhvacharya says that this isn't Vishnu's wife Lakshmi, however, but rather an almagamation of the goddesses Syamala, Bharati, Sachi and Ushas, denoted as Sri because of their opulence.)
But my question is, who were the five previous Indras who were born as the Pandavas? All the Mahabharata tells us is that their names were "Vishwabhuk, Bhutadhaman, Sivi of great energy, Santi the fourth, and Tejaswin". But what were their life stories, and when did they live?
There are fourteen Manvantaras in a Kalpa, and during each Manvantara a different Indra rules the three worlds. As described in this chapter and this chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam, before the current Indra (named Purandara or Sakra), the previous Indras of the present Kalpa were Yagna (an incarnation of Vishnu), Rochana, Satyajit, Trishikha, Vibhu, and Mantradruma. None of these seem close to the names of the five cursed Indras. So did they rule in a previous Kalpa?