Rukmi (Marathi रुक्मी) the ruler of Vidarbha according to the epic Mahābhārata. He was the son of king Bhishmaka and elder brother of Rukmini.[1] The Harivamsha mentions that Rukmi was trained in the arts of warfare by the Kimpurusha Druma and acquired celestial weapons from Parashurama. Krishna married Rukmini by abducting her from the Vidarbha kingdom, though Rukmi wanted to give her as bride to Chedi king Shishupala. He fought with Krishna, but was defeated. When Krishna was about to kill him, Rukmini begged that spare her brother's life. Krishna agreed and let Rukmi go free, but not before having his head shaved as a visible sign of a warrior's defeat.[2]

Miniature Painting, Krishna releases the defeated Rukmi, Guler style, 1770, Chamba Museum, Himachal Pradesh
FamilyBhishmaka (father)

Rukmi never returned to his capital Kundinapuri in Vidarbha. Instead he created another capital called Bhojakata to the west of Kundina and started ruling the country from there. Rukmi’s daughter Rukmavati, married Krishna’s son Pradyumna. Rukmavati and Pradyumna had a son Aniruddha. [3]

Rukmi later became friends with Krishna. However Rukmi was not accepted by Arjuna or Duryodhana as an ally in the Kurukshetra War, because of his boastfulness. Thus Rukmi's Vidarbha army stayed away from the Kurukshetra War, becoming a neutral army in the encounter between the Kauravas and the Pandavas.

Rukmi was killed by Balarama because he cheated Balarama in dice game.


  1. Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883–1896). The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose.
  2. Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency: Kathiawar (Public Domain text). VIII. Printed at the Government Central Press, Bombay. 1884. p. 380.
  3. Amar chitra Katha Bhagawat Krishna Avatar
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