The Mahabharata centers on the exploits of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, two families of royal cousins descended from two brothers, Pandu and Dhritarashtra, respectively. Because Dhritarashtra was born blind, Pandu inherited the ancestral kingdom, comprising
a part of northern India around modern Delhi. The Pandava brothers were Yudhishthira the eldest, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. The Kaurava brothers were one hundred in number, Duryodhana being the eldest. When Pandu died at an early age, his young children were placed under the care of their uncle Dhritarashtra who ascended the throne since the Pandavas were minors.
The Pandavas and the Kauravas were brought up together in the same household and had the same teachers, the most notable of whom were Bhishma and Dronacharya. Bhishma, the wise grandsire, acted as their chief guardian, and the Brahmin Drona was their military instructor. The Pandavas were endowed with righteousness, self-control, nobility, and many other knightly traits. On the other hand, the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra, especially Duryodhana, were endowed with negative qualities and were cruel, unrighteous, unscrupulous, greedy, and lustful. Duryodhana, jealous of his five cousins, contrived various means to destroy them.