Dhritarashtra's wife and queen mother of the Kauravas. Gandhari is a character in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. In the epic, she was an incarnation of Mati, the Goddess of Intelligence, as the daughter of Subala, the king of Gandhara, or the modern Kandahar(a region spanning northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan) from which her name is derived. Gandhari is also known as Gandhararajaduhita, Saubaleyi, Saubali, Subalaja, Subalaputri, Subalatmaja in the Mahabharata. Gandhari's marriage was arranged to Dhritarashtra, the eldest prince of the Kuru kingdom, a region in Delhi and Haryana region.
Gandhari voluntarily blindfolded herself throughout her married life. Her husband Dhritarashtra was born blind and on realizing this, she decided to share the pain of her blind husband. Gandhari, after an unusually long period of pregnancy, bore a hundred sons(collectively known as the Kauravas) and one daughter Dushala, who married Jayadratha. The Kauravas, principally Duryodhana, were the villains of the Mahabharata. When the first son, Duryodhana, was born, he began braying like a jackal and evil omens appeared during his birth year. Kripacharya and Vidura counseled the king and queen to kill the baby, but they refused.
Gandhari made a single exception to her blindfolded state, when she removed her blindfold to see her eldest son Duryodhana. She poured all her power into that one glance, rendering Duryodhana's entire body, except his loins as strong as iron. Krishna foiled Gandhari's plan by meeting Duryodhana and asking him to cover up his privates before meeting his mother. On their decisive encounter on the eighteenth day of the Kurukshetra battle, Bhima smashed Duryodhana's thighs, a move both literally and figuratively below the belt.
All of Gandhari's sons were killed in the war against their cousins, the Pandavas, at Kurukshetra, specifically at the hands of Bhima. Upon hearing the news, it is said that through a small gap in the blindfold, her gaze fell on Yudhisthira's toe. His clean toe was charred black due to her wrath and power. Her wrath extinguished, she embraced the Pandavas and consoled them for their losses.
Gandhari's anguish in the loss of her hundred sons, resulted in her cursing Krishna, in effect ensuring the destruction of the Yadavas.