There is a poem written by Tagore on Panchakanyas. All the ladies mentioned above are called panchakanyas. Is there any significance that they are called so? Why did Sita didn't make it on the list?

  • 1
    In my version, Sita replaces Kunti. They are called pathivrathas. Also see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchakanya
    – Narayanan
    Nov 27, 2015 at 11:19
  • 2
    1. Sita is adi parasakti. The others are also great women and great souls but cannot be compared to the moola prakriti. 2. One of the reasons these 5 ladies are called kanyas is that even though they had multiple spouses, they retained their virtue.
    – user1195
    Nov 28, 2015 at 17:23
  • @Narayanan I think you should post answer with quoting that verse showing significance.
    – Pandya
    Jan 10, 2017 at 15:52
  • Panchakanya is a subhashita, and is not found in scriptures Aug 4, 2020 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


The five you mention had relations with more than one partner:

  1. Ahalya with Indra despite being married to Gautam. [Reference: Valmiki Ramayan, Baalkand Sarga 49, https://sanskritdocuments.org/sites/valmikiramayan/baala/sarga49/bala_49_frame.htm - several shloks address the story of Ahalya who was seduced by Indra and then cursed by her MUCH older than her husband Gautam Maharishi]

  2. Tara was wife of Vali, who after the death of her husband, chose to marry her husband's brother Sugriva. [References: Valmiki Ramayan, Kishikand, Sarga 19-24 describe the events of Vali's death and Tara & Sugreev's reaction, lamentation and conclusion of that. Their marriage in not mentioned in Ramayan but in Mahabharat Book 3 Varna Parva 278, "And after Vali had been thus slain, Sugriva regained possession of Kishkindhya, and along with it, of the widowed Tara also of face beautiful as the moon." ]

  3. Mandodri was wife of Ravana, and upon his death she married his brother Vibhishan to keep the peace in Lanka. [Reference: Valmiki Ramayan, Yuddh Kand, Sarg 111 - this chapter well establishes Mandodri's reaction to Ravan's death. It does say in Valmiki Ramayan that she marries Vibhishan, but it is mentioned in Ram Katha Manas Mandodri 424]

  4. Kunti had 4 sons with 4 separate gods. Karan (Surya), Yudhistra (Dharmaraja), Arjun (Indra) and Bheem (Vayu), Nakul and Sehdev are not Kunti's sons.

  5. Draupdi had 5 husbands, through no fault of her own.

You can delve deep in the stories of each and why they are considered Kanya (virgin).

Sita on the other hand did not have any such relations. Ram suggested as such only to get Sita to volunteer to take Agnipriksha, through which she came out unharmed, thus proving he chastity - as per the literature.

Hope my answer helps.

  • Hello Karan, it'd be helpful if you'd add some sources into your answer. Thank You.
    – user29449
    Jan 29 at 16:52
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    Jan 29 at 16:52

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