According to the Indian epic poem Mahābhārata, a dynastic succession struggle between two groups of cousins of an Indo-Aryan kingdom called Kuru, the Kauravas and Pandavas, for the throne of Hastinapura resulted in the Kurukshetra War in which a number of ancient kingdoms participated as allies of the rival groups. The location of the battle was Kurukshetra in the modern state of Haryana in India. The conflict is believed to form an essential component of an ancient work called Jaya and hence the epic Mahābhārata.
Mahābhārata states that the war lasted only eighteen days during which vast armies from all over the Indian Subcontinent fought alongside the two rivals. Despite only referring to these eighteen days, the war narrative forms more than a quarter of the book, suggesting its relative importance within the epic, which overall spans decades of the warring families.
The narrative describes individual battles of various heroes of both sides, battle-field deaths of some of the prominent heroes, military formations employed on each day by both armies, war diplomacy, meetings and discussions among the heroes and commanders before commencement of war on each day and the weapons used. The chapters (parvas) dealing with the war (from chapter six to ten) are considered amongst the oldest in the entireMahābhārata.