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Kurukshetra (pronunciation (help·info)) is a city in the state of Haryana, India. It is also known as Dharmakshetra ("Holy Place") and as the "Land of the Bhagavad Gita". Kurukshetra lies at distance of 160 km from New Delhi and about 93 km from Chandigarh - city with the nearest airport.
|• Total||1,530 km2 (590 sq mi)|
|• Additional official||English, Punjabi|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-HR|
According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is a region named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas, as depicted in epic Mahabharata. The importance of the place is attributed to the fact that the Kurukshetra War of the Mahabharata was fought on this land and the Bhagavad Gita was preached here during the war when Lord Krishna found Arjuna in a terrible dilemma.
Before the establishment of a refugee camp named Kurukshetra in 1947, Thanesar was the name of the tehsil headquarters and the town. Thanesar or Sthaneswar is a historical town located adjacent to what is now the newly created Kurukshetra city. Thanesar derives its name from the word "Sthaneshwar", which means "Place of God". The Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva, is believed to be the oldest temple in the vicinity. Local hearsay identifies the legendary "Kurukshetra" with a place near Thanesar. A few kilometers from Kurukshetra is the village known as Amin, where there are remnants of a fort which is believed to be Abhimanyu's.
In most ancient Hindu texts, Kurukshetra is not a city but a region ("kshetra" meaning "region" in Sanskrit). The boundaries of Kurukshetra correspond roughly to the central and western parts of the 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.
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 (dried up before 1900 BCE) 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. Vishnu gave him two boons: first that this land forever will be known as a Holy Land after his name as Kurukshetra (the land of Kuru); second that anyone dying on this land will go to heaven. The land of Kurukshetra was situated 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. According to the ancient Hindu text, the Battle of Mahabharata was fought on this land, during which Lord Krishna preached Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Kurukshetra reached the zenith of its progress during the reign of King Harsha, during which Chinese scholar Xuanzang visited Thanesar.
International Gita MahotsavEdit
Gita Jayanti has been celebrated in Kurukshetra for decades. For long it was known as Kurukshetra Utsav. In 2016, The Government of Haryana decided to give it a global flavour and thus organised International Gita Mahotsav at Kurukshetra from 1 December to 11 December. The Gita Jayanti was celebrated on 10 December as per the traditional calendar. In 2016, over 2 million people visited the event. Later in 2017 Gita Jayanti was celebrated on 30 November as per traditional calendar, and over 2.5 Million people visited the event. As per Hindu calendar, it comes on Mokshda Ekadashi in the month of Margshirsh. The idea of celebrating International Gita Mahotsav came from Swami Gyananand (Founder of GIEO Gita).
The climate of the district is as high as 47 °C in summer, and as low 1 °C in winter, with rains in July and August.
In 2017, the government declared Kurukshetra a Holy City and the sale, possession, and consumption of meat are banned within the limits of the Municipal Corporation owing to its religious significance.
Places of interestEdit
Hindu Religious SitesEdit
- 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. It is supposed to be the world's largest man-made pond. The Hindu genealogy registers at Kurukshetra, Haryana are kept here.
- 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 bestows blessings equivalent 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.
- Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre: A depicting the Mahabharata war.
- Dharohar Museum: tradition and culture of Haryana; located in Kurukshetra University.
Other Religious/Historical SitesEdit
- Sheikh Chilli's Tomb: This monument is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. It was built during the Mughal era in remembrance of Sufi Saint Sheikh Chehli, believed to be the spiritual teacher of Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh. However, this is an erroneous belief, since the Prince's main 'Murshid' or 'Sheikh' (Spiritual Guide) is historically known to have been Hazrat Sheikh Mian Mir Sahib, of Lahore, although Sheikh Chehli might have been an additional/minor guide. There is another theory that the site of the supposed 'makbara'[what language is this?] or tomb was one of the meditative 'Chillas' or sites of Hazrat Mian Mir Sahib, who might have visited the area during his wanderings. It is possible that a later caretaker, some disciple of the Hazrat/Sheikh lies buried here, at the place sanctified by his 'Chilla'.
- Gurdwara Raj Ghat Patshahi Dasvin
- Gurdwara Teesari Patshahi
- Gurdwara Chhevin Patshahi
- Gurdwara Siddh Bati Patshahi Pahili
General tourist SitesEdit
- Crocodile Breeding Centre, Kurukshetra
- Chhilchhila Wildlife Sanctuary – 10 km on Ladwa road
- Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary – 40 km
- Kalpana Chawla Planetarium: The Kalpana Chawla Planetarium is situated between Brahma Sarovar Lake and Jyotisar Lake. Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin in space when she flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in the year 1997. In the year 2003, she died during her second flight on Space Shuttle Columbia. Haryana Government honored the achievements of Kalpana Chawla by building a planetarium in her name.
48 Kos ParikramaEdit
Kurukshetra has immense 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 90 miles (1kos = 3km) circle around the holy city of Kurukshetra. The picture depicts the complete map of all these sites. For a complete list, main page as mentioned above may be seen.
- Kurukshetra University was 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
- National Institute of Design, Kurukshetra: It is an autonomous body under the DIPP, ministry of commerce. The institute offers courses in industrial design, visual communication and textile
- Shri Krishna AYUSH University, Kurukshetra. This is the first University related to the Indian system of medicine in the State as well as the first University of this kind in India and all over the world.
- The Deputy Commissioner, an officer belonging to the Indian Administrative Service, is in charge of the General Administration in the district. He is assisted by a number of officers belonging to Haryana Civil Service and other Haryana state services.
- The Superintendent of Police, an officer belonging to the Indian Police Service, is responsible for maintaining Law & Order and related issues in the district. He is assisted by the officers of the Haryana Police Service and other Haryana Police officials.
- The Deputy Conservator of Forests, an officer belonging to the Indian Forest Service, is responsible for the management of the Forests, Environment and Wild-Life in the district. He is assisted by the officers of the Haryana Forest Service and other Haryana Forest officials and Haryana Wildlife officials.
- Sectoral development is looked after by the district head/officer of each development department such as PWD, Health, Education, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Statistics, etc. These officers are from various Haryana state services.
- Shahbad, Ladwa, Pehowa, Babain, Ismailabad and Jhansa are other towns in the district with significant populations.
Kurukshetra is well connected with NH1 and has much access by road, rail, and air. The journey is comfortable with facilities provided in route.
- By road: Buses of Haryana Roadways and other State Corporations ply through Kurukshetra and connect it to Delhi, Panipat, Ambala, Kaithal, Pundri Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jammu, Amritsar and Shimla.
- By air: The airports close to Kurukshetra are at Delhi and Chandigarh, which are well connected by road and rail. Taxi service, as well as bus service, is also available.
- By rail: Kurukshetra railway station is a railway junction station, well connected with all important towns and cities of the country. The Shatabdi Express (not all) halts here. Dhoda Kheri, Dhirpur, Dhola Majra Shahabad Markanda and Mohri are the railway stations between Kurukshetra to Ambala of Indian railway route.
Kurukshetra in Popular ArtsEdit
Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' has written an epic poem by the title of Kurukshetra. It is a narrative poem based on the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. It was written at a time when the memories of the Second World War were fresh on the mind of the poet.
Several films have been named Kurukshetra as it stands identified for the place of most deadly war in Indian history. A Bollywood film titled Kurukshetra in year 2000 directed by Mahesh Manjrekar is a famous example.
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- IANS (28 January 2010). "Haryana grants second language status to Punjabi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
- "History of Kurukhsetra". Archived from the original on 11 March 2012.
- Agarwal, Vishal: Is There Vedic Evidence for the Indo-Aryan Immigration to India? Archived 28 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine (PDF)
- The Lost River, by Michel Danino. Penguin India 2010
- "Haryana bans meat in holy towns of Kurukshetra, Pehowa". The Indian Express. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Lahore Gazetteer, 1887, p.203
- Dr. A. Rasul Jilani, Suifiya I Hind, 1969, pp. 112-119
- Das, Sisir Kumar (1995). A History of Indian literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 908. ISBN 978-81-7201-798-9.