Shikhandi was born to King Drupada in the kingdom of Panchala. She was born as a girl but was raised as a boy. All the versions of Mahabharatha say that Shikhandidni was Amba reborn.
Years before Shikhandi was born, Bhishma developed a grudge with the princess of Kashi, Ambala. She tried to lure in all the kings against Bhishma, but no one wanted to fight against his power. Parashurama, Bhishma’s Guru who is the seventh avatar of lord Vishnu, helped Ambala but Parashurama himself was not able to defeat Bhishma.
Not able to face the defeat against Bhishma, Amba killed herself many times until she was born as a male and in a community that would give her the chance to kill Bhishma. According to the C. Rajagopalachari’s version of Mahabharatha, Amba received a boon from lord Kartikeya, she was given a blue lotus garland and anyone that wears the garland will become the cause of Bhishma’s death. Failing to find anyone who will wear the blue lotus garland, Amba left it on the door of Panchala kingdom.
Shikhandini, when young, wore the blue lotus garland and gained the power to be the cause of Bhishma’s death. King Drupada fearing to become an enemy of Bhishma, raised Shikhandini as a boy and was called Shikhandi.
Shikhandi was married to princess of Darshana but she soon found out that that her husband is a woman. Shikhandi immediately fled to the forest and met a Yaksha – a spirit of nature and exchanges her gender and will remain a man until his death in the battle of Mahabharatha.