The name Kurukshetra itself rings a bell in the mind. It reminds us of the legends and the great stories of the Mahabharata that are associated with it. In fact, this is the reason why this city of Haryana still occupies a position of interest. In order for you to understand the entire glory and majestic nature of this city, it is important for us to go through the historical background of this place, once.
The history of Kurukshetra
If the word Kurukshetra is epistemologically broken up, then it would mean the region of the Kuru. It is important to remember that the name signifies and demarcates a region and not a city, but simply a region, which belonged to the Kuru. Now, this region is where the great battle of the Mahabharata was fought between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Kauravas are actually descendant of Kuru. In fact, if family history of the Pandavas and Kauravas be looked into again, we will find that they were first cousins, and hence, the Pandavas too were the descendants of Kuru. Thus, the battle was fought on the land of Kuru and also for the acquisition of the land of Kuru. That the great battle took place here gives this place a distinct colour of this own, and it is the historical mysticism that surrounds this place that draws many tourists towards it.
However, Kurukshetra today is not just about the story of the Mahabharata. It has developed into a fine tourist destination, best suited for couples or a large group of friends. One can also go for a family trip to this destination. There are a lot of things and activities to take part in at Kurukshetra. Want to get an idea about what to do at this place of historical interest? Well here’s a short and crisp list of things that you can try out:
- To the origin of the light of knowledge: When you are in Kurukshetra, you cannot escape from the pages of myths and legends and let’s admit it, it is fascinating. Though some believe that the Gita was added much later to the Mahabharata as its part, it is said that right before the Great War started, Arjuna began to question the point of fighting against his brothers and whether he was breaking his dharma (duty) by doing so. It was then that Krishna showed his real form to Arjuna by granting him divine vision and told him about the truth of the ways of the world- the past, present and future. The compilation of Krishna’s sayings is what we find in the Gita, and it is considered to be one of the most sacred books in India. Jyotiswar, which literally means the core meaning of knowledge (knowledge here is equated with the light of learning or jyoti), is said to be the place where Krishna is said to have propounded his teachings to Arjuna, thus making this the birthplace of the Bhagavad Gita. There is also a huge Banyan tree here, which is considered to be holy. The location of this site is on Pehowa Road, and you will easily be able to locate it with the help of your tourist guide or the local people.
- It’s all about the mini sea: One of the most principle attractions in Kurukshetra is the Brahmasarovar. Revered to be a holy place, this water body is actually a testimony to man’s brilliance. It is basically a bathing tank, considered to be the largest of its kind in the entire continent. Abul Fazl, the noted historian, who hailed from Akbar’s court preferred to call it the “mini sea that was made by man”. Taking a dip in this holy water of the sarovar is believed to be very auspicious especially during the time of solar eclipse. A calm and serene atmosphere that prevails here adds to the beauty of this man made wonder.
- A trip to a holy place: Book a car and set out for Phalgu to take part in the Phalgu tirtha or the pilgrimage to this holy place. Various forests surround Kurukshetra proper, like the Aditi Van, Pharal, Vyasa Van, Madhuvan etc. Of these, Pharal is the place where Phalgu is located. You will need to travel about 33 km. This place of Phalgu is considered auspicious since its name is found in both the Vamana Puranas as well as the Mahabharata. It makes for a nice trip to the surrounding areas of Kurukshetra.
- Water for the respected: A tale of respect for your guru or elders comes out from the story behind Bhishma Kund. Bhishma was a teacher for both the Pandavas and Kauravas when they were kids. However, during the battle, Bhishma, due to his allegiance to the throne, had to take the Kaurava side and was finally defeated by Arjuna, who pierced him with arrows. However, he had been granted a boon by his stepmother Satyavati that he would be able to choose the time of his death. Bhishma wanted to see the entire battle, and thus, Arjuna prepared a bed of arrows for him and when he asked for water, he pierced the ground with an arrow and water came sprinkling out. This is believed to be the story behind Bhishma Kund, and hence, this is too considered to be a holy place. Keep this as a part of your sightseeing plan in Kurukshetra.
- Praying at the temple: One of the most famous temples in this area is the Laxmi Narayan Temple. As the name itself suggests, it is dedicated to the Gods Laxmi and Narayan, who are considered to be the Gods of wealth and prosperity. The temple has a very simple structure, and it dates back to as early as the 1700s. Located right in the centre of this city, you can pay this temple a visit anytime you want. It is ideal if you go during the daytime, but being one of the holiest places, it is always quite crowded.
These are some of the places that you must visit when you go to Kurukshetra. They not only shed some light on the past glory of the place but also have interesting stories that you will learn when you go there. Kurukshetra is a city that is bound to transfer you to the age of when the myths and legends were a reality.