Shikhandi / शिखंडी
- Shikhandi was a son of king Drupad of Panchal and the father of Kshatradev.
- He was a rebirth of Amba, the princess of Kashi. After Amba received the boon from Shiv that she would be able to slay Bhishma in her next birth, she killed herself.
- In the meanwhile, king Drupad, who had no children of his own, was performing penance, when Shiv came to him and told him that his wife would soon deliver a daughter, who would later become a man.
- Thus Amba was reborn as the daughter of king Drupad and she was named Shikhandini. But Shikhandini was dressed up as a boy and taught to behave like a boy and was called Shikhandi.
- When she was of marriageable age, the king arranged for her to be married to the daughter of king Hiranyavarma of Dasharn.
- On learning of the sex of Shikhandi, Hiranyavarma prepared for war with Drupad. Shikhandi, upset with the whole incident, went into the forest where she met the Yaksh Sthunakarn and told him her whole story.
- The two decided to exchange their sexes for sometime. Hence, Shikhandi became a man and Sthunakarn a woman. Shikhandi returned to the palace, where Hiranyavarma had come to check if, as king Drupad insisted, Shikhandi was really a man.
- Having examined him and satisfied that he was a man, Hiranyavarma returned to his kingdom, where after a few years he died. In the meanwhile, Sthunakarn, because of his womanly form, could not come out to receive Kuber on his arrival, as a result of which Kuber cursed him and said that their sexes would remain changed forever.
- Sthunakarn begged him to release him from the curse, at which Kuber modified the curse. Sthunakarn would regain his manhood, but only after Shikhandi's death. As Hiranyavarma was dead, Shikhandi went back to the forest to see Sthunakarn, but when he learnt of the events taken place, he returned to his kingdom.
- In the Mahabharat war, Shikhandi fought against the Kauravs. Here Shikhandi got a chance to avenge her-self against Bhishma. Bhishma, knowing Shikhandi was born a woman, refused to take up arms against her, and therefore Arjun used Shikhandi as a shield and fired arrows at Bhishma, which led to the latter's death. Shikhandi was himself slain in the battle by Ashvatthama.
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