Kurukshetra

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Kurukshetra
City
Bronze Chariot with Lord Krishna and Arjuna in Kurukshetra.
Bronze Chariot with Lord Krishna and Arjuna in Kurukshetra.
Kurukshetra is located in Haryana
Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra is located in India
Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra
Coordinates: 29°57′57″N 76°50′13″E / 29.965717°N 76.837006°E / 29.965717; 76.837006Coordinates: 29°57′57″N 76°50′13″E / 29.965717°N 76.837006°E / 29.965717; 76.837006
Country India
StateHaryana
DistrictKurukshetra
Area
 • Total1,530 km2 (590 sq mi)
Population
 • Total964,655
 • Density630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Languages
 • OfficialHindi
 • Additional officialPunjabi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN
136118
Telephone code911744
ISO 3166 codeIN-HR
Vehicle registrationHR-07
Websitekurukshetra.gov.in

Kurukshetra (Loudspeaker.svg) is a city in the state of Haryana, India. It is also known as Dharmakshetra ("Holy Place"). It is also known as the "Land of Bhagwad Gita".

According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is a region named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas. This is place where Mahabharata war was fought. Also the Bhagavad Gita was explained there during the war when Lord Krishna found Arjuna in a difficult situation.[1]

Before 1947, Thanesar was the name of the tehsil headquarters and the town. Thanesar or Sthaneswar is a historical town next to newly created Kurukshetra city. Thanesar derives its name from the word "Sthaneshwar", which means "Place of God".

In most ancient Hindu texts, Kurukshetra is not a city but a region ("kshetra" meaning "region" in Sanskrit). The boundaries of Kurukshetra lies to the central and western parts of state of Haryana and southern Punjab. Thus according to the Taittiriya Aranyaka 5.1.1., the Kurukshetra region is south of Turghna (Srughna/Sugh in Sirhind, Punjab), north of Khandava (Delhi and Mewat region), east of Maru (desert) and west of Parin.[2]

History[change | change source]

A manuscript of Mahabharata depicting the war at Kurukshetra

It is written in Puranas that Kurukshetra is named after King Kuru of the Bharata Dynasty, ancestor of Pandavas and Kauravas.

The Vamana Purana tells how King Kuru came to settle here. He chose this land at the banks of Sarasvati River which dried up before 1900 BCE[3] for embedding spirituality with eight virtues: austerity (Tapas (Sanskrit)), truth (Satya), forgiveness (Kshama), kindness (daya), purity (Shuddha), charity (Daana), Yajna and Brahmacharya. Lord Vishnu was impressed with the act of King Kuru and blessed him. God gave him two boons: one that this land forever will be known as a Holy Land and the other that anyone dying on this land will go to heaven. The land of Kurukshetra was between two rivers — the Sarasvati and the Drishadvati. This land has been known as Uttarvedi, Brahmavedi, Dharamkshetra and Kurukshetra at different periods. When King Kuru came on this land it was called Uttarvedi. Over the period this land has been ruled by many empires. The Bharata Dynasty came and settled here.

By the archaeological grounds it has been proved that Ashoka the Great made Kurukshetra a centre of learning for people from all over the world. It reached the peak of its progress during the reign of King Harsha, during which Chinese scholar Xuanzang visited Thanesar.

Places of interest[change | change source]

Hindu Religious Sites[change | change source]

Brahma Sarovar
  • Brahma Sarovar: Every year lakhs of people come to take a holy bath at Brahma Sarovar on the occasion of "Somavati Amavasya" (Sacred No-Moon Day that happens on a Monday) and on solar eclipse believing that a bath in holy sarovar frees all sins and cycle of birth-death.
  • Sannihit Sarovar: This sarovar is believed to be the meeting point of seven sacred Saraswatis. The sarovar, according to popular belief, contains sacred water. Bathing in the waters of the tank on the day of Amavasya (night of complete darkness) or on the day of an eclipse give blessings equal to performing the ashvamedh yajna.
  • Jyotisar: The famous site where Bhagavad Gita was delivered to Arjuna under the tree. The tree of that time is the witness to Gita.
  • Srikrishna Museum[4] has some historical artifacts and paintings represent the Mahabharata war.
  • Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre: A panorama represent the Mahabharata war with scientific explanations justifying every episode in the war.
  • Jyotisar Light and Sound Show: A newly built tourist attraction which shows some aspects of Geeta Saar using lights and sound.
  • Dharohar Museum: A museum to know the tradition and culture of Haryana; in Kurukshetra University.
The kund believed to be created by Arjun's arrow to satisfy the thirst of Bheeshma while he lay on the bed of arrows
  • Bhishma Kund at Naraktari: The place where Arjuna shot an arrow towards the earth to satisfy Bhishma Pitamah's thirst.

Other Religious/Historical Sites[change | change source]

Sheikh Chilli Tomb, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India
  • Sheikh Chilli's Tomb: This monument is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. It was built during the Mughal era in memory of Sufi Saint Sheikh Chehli, believed to be the spiritual teacher of Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh. However, this is an wrong belief, since the Prince's main 'Murshid' or 'Sheikh' (Spiritual Guide) is historically known to have been Hazrat Sheikh Mian Mir Sahib, of Lahore,[5] although Sheikh Chehli might have been an additional/minor guide. There is another theory that the site of the supposed 'makbara' or tomb was one of the meditative 'Chillas' or sites of Hazrat Mian Mir Sahib, who might have visited the area during his journeys from place to place.[6]

48 Kos Parikrama[change | change source]

Map with description of 48 kos parikrama (48 miles circle) around the holy city of Kurukshetra, displayed at Ban Ganga/Bhishma Kund

Kurukshetra has great importance as a Hindu pilgrimage. There are several pilgrimages around the city of kurukshetra and a complete parikrama means to visit all these pilgrimages. 48 kos parikrama is a Hindi phrase meaning 48 miles circle around the holy city of Kurukshetra.[7]

Educational Institutes[change | change source]

  • Kurukshetra University: one of the India's leading universities, established in 1956
  • University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kurukshetra University
  • National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra: Established as the Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra in 1963. It is an Institute of National Importance and one of the top most engineering colleges in the country.
  • National Institute of Design, Kurukshetra: The institute offers courses in industrial design, visual communication and textile and apparel design.

References[change | change source]

  1. "History of Kurukhsetra". Archived from the original on 11 March 2012.
  2. Agarwal, Vishal: Is There Vedic Evidence for the Indo-Aryan Immigration to India? Archived 28 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine (PDF)
  3. The Lost River, by Michel Danino. Penguin India 2010
  4. "Srikrishna Museum". kurukshetra.gov.in.
  5. Lahore Gazetteer, 1887, p.203
  6. Dr A. Rasul Jilani, Suifiya i Hind, 1969, pp. 112-119
  7. "Culture & Heritage, District Kurukshetra, Haryana". Retrieved 23 July 2018.