Posted 25 November 2022
Everything to do when you visit Kurukshetra, the gateway to the Mahabharata
In the state of Haryana lies Kurukshetra, where the famous war of Mahabharata took place. It is also called Dharmakshetra or the ‘Land of Bhagavad Gita’. According to the Hindu Puranas, the region was named after King Kuru, the ancestor of the Pandavas and Kauravas who fought against each other in the battle of Mahabharata.
During the reign of King Harsha, Kurukshetra progressed to its zenith. In the 4th century, it came under the rule of the Mauryan Empire and became the centre of people practising Hinduism and Buddhism. For a brief time between the end of the 17th century and early 18th century, the region came under the rule of Marathas until the control was taken over by the Britishers, in 1803.
Legends of Kurukshetra
Situated on the banks of the River Saraswati, King Kuru chose this land, so that it will always be embedded with spirituality and virtues. The eight virtues include truth, kindness, austerity, purity, devotion, forgiveness, conduct and charity. Impressed by his choice, Lord Vishnu blessed the king with two boons – first, whoever will die on this land would go straight to heaven, and second, the land will always be considered holy and renowned after the name of the king. Another river that flows near the city is Drishadvati.
Places to visit in Kurukshetra
- Brahma Sarovar: It is a water tank in Thanesar, Kurukshetra. It is a sacred spot for Hindus and boasts incredible beauty. According to legends, the water of Brahma Sarovar can help people achieve salvation when they take a dip in it. With red and golden reflections in the water, sunsets here are stunning and attract a lot of tourists and locals during the evening. It features a small shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva in the middle that you can access via a small boat. It is a lively destination with street food shacks and handloom shops nearby.
- Krishna Museum: Krishna Museum was founded in 1987 and displays artefacts of Lord Krishna and his incarnation from 1st century AD to 11th century AD. It has six galleries that display his statues in the figures described in Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana. Other items on display include wooden panels, ivory works, woodcarvings, archaeological artefacts, stone sculptures, palm-leaf etchings and miniature paintings. It even features a tableau made from clay and Papier-Mache.
- Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple has an ancient Shivalinga. Many people believe that it is where Lord Krishna and Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva for his blessings before the beginning of the battle of Mahabharata. It also hosts a sacred water tank that is believed to cure diseases. Many believers take water home in a bottle or a small can.
- Kurukshetra Panorama & Science Centre: Kurukshetra Panorama & Science Centre explains the significance and use of science and technology in the traditional Indian religion. Interactive and functional displays of technology are merged with culture and displayed to the visitors. The centre offers in-depth knowledge on concepts of matter and properties that ancient people used. They also offer scientific justifications behind the lifestyle choices that affect the lives of people in ancient times.
- Kalpana Chawla Memorial Planetarium:This planetarium was set up in Kurukshetra to commemorate the journey and honour the memories of Kalpana Chawla. It teaches about astronomy and how it developed and advanced in the prehistoric Indian civilisation. It displays short films and exhibits interesting galleries that offer knowledge to students and visitors on the matter of astronomy.
- OP Jindal Park & Musical Fountain:This park and the musical fountain was built to honour the memory of Power Minister OP Jindal. Spanning over 14 acres, the park exhibits lush greenery in well-maintained lawns. It has a functioning play area, a jogging park, a rose garden and a meditation centre.
- Jyotisar:Associated with the legends of Mahabharata, Jyotisar is a divine and spiritual destination in Kurukshetra. It has a banyan tree, below which, it is believed that Lord Krishna recited Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. It prepared him to fight the war against his stepbrother Karan, cousins Kauravas, teacher Guru Dronacharya and grandfather Bhishma.
- Bhishma Kund: As the name suggests, this Kund is also associated with the legends of Mahabharata. In the war of Mahabharata, Arjuna laid Bhishma Pitamah on the bed of arrows. When he became thirsty, Arjuna shot the round with an arrow and sprouted a water spring for his grandfather. Therefore, this kund is named after Bhishma.
- Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb: Sheikh Chilli tomb was built in his memory. He was the Sufi master of Prince Dara Shikoh. It is an impeccable blend of Persian architecture with stunning floral designs. The premises of the tomb have the tomb of Sheikh and his wife. It also features a madrasa, a mosque made of red sandstone, an archaeological museum and a maintained lawn.
- Sannihit Sarovar: The sarovar is believed to be the home of Lord Vishnu and a meeting point of seven tributaries of the Saraswati River. On the day of no moon or Amavasya, it is believed, if anyone takes a bath in the waterbody, the person will be blessed with the highest of fortunes that are equivalent to Ashwamedha Yajna. The premises of the sarovar also have shrines dedicated to Dhruv Bhagat, Dhruv Narayan, Lord Vishnu, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Durga and Laxmi Narayan.
- Lakshmi Narayan Temple: Dedicated to Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi, the temple was built in the 18th century under the rule of the Chola dynasty. It holds the religious significance of Hindus and is believed to be as sacred as the four pilgrimage centres of Hindus. If a person visits this temple and prays here, then that person does not need to cover the Char Dham.
- Bhor Saidan Crocodile Farm: It was established on a farm with a tank full of crocodiles. In 1982, the Forest Department took control of the property and built fencing on the periphery. The department brought four pairs of crocodiles from the Crocodile Bank in Chennai, and the current population of reptiles today is more than 25.
Other places to visit in Kurukshetra include Pipli Zoo, Rantuka Yaksha Tirth, Bhadrakali Temple, Raja Harsh ka Tila, Phaglu Tirtha, Dharohar Museum, Raja Karna ka Kila and Nishtha Fish Museum.
Shopping in Kurukshetra
With a budding economy, Kurukshetra has a diverse culture. Although industrial and agriculture sectors drive the finances of the city, it is one of the best places in Haryana to shop for milk-based products and handicraft items. Colourful markets and shopping malls in the city are the primary destinations for locals and tourists to shop for clothes, handloom items, pottery and other accessories.
Handlooms, woven shawls, lungis, robes and phulkari fabrics are quite famous among locals. Other famous items to buy from Kurukshetra are pottery products like vases, lamps, etc. These delicate, colourful and intricately designed items can amplify the décor of any living space.
The list of markets that tourists can try out for shopping in Kurukshetra :
- NIT Market
- Shri Krishna Market
- Sector 3 Market
- Ansal Plaza
- Sector 17 Market
- Aadhar Shopping Mall
- Old City Market
- Divine City Square Mall
- Virk Market
- Tula Ram Market
- Dhillon White House Market
- Palika Shopping Complex
- Huda Shopping Complex
- Sector 5 Market
- Kessel Mall
Delicious food to try in Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra is one of the best places to try the authentic and rich flavours of Haryanvi cuisine. You can try mouth-watering delicacies like mixed dal, kadhi pakora, singri sabji and cholia. Tourists can also relish North-Indian dishes like malpuas, aloo roti, kheer and churma and Punjabi delicacies including kulcha, dal makhni, chhole bhature, paneer amritsari and rajma. There are shacks where the travellers must try thandai, lassi and chaaj.
The list of restaurants that tourists must try out includes:
- Parakeet Restaurant
- Mezbaan Regency Restaurant
- Hotel Alpine Restaurant
- Red Eagle Restaurant
- Madhuban Restaurant
- Hotel Heritage Restaurant
Travel tips before you book a trip to Kurukshetra
- Make bookings in advance to avoid last-minute hassle
- Dress in modest clothes while visiting religious sites
- Maintain social distancing in crowded places and wear a mask
- Try the street food and Haryanvi cuisine
- Take your time while visiting places
How to reach Kurukshetra?
- Air: Chandigarh International Airport is the best IndiGo flight route to reach Kurukshetra. It is around 92km far from the city and entertains direct and connecting flights from Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and other cities of India. For more information, you can visit goIndiGo.in.
- Rail: Kurukshetra Junction Railway Station lies on the Kurukshetra-Jind and Delhi-Kalka lines bringing passengers all over the country.
- Road: Kurukshetra has a well-connected network of roads that connect it to the nearby cities and states. You can catch a bus or cab from a nearby town to reach the holy destination.
How to get around Kurukshetra
Tourists can get around the city via cabs and auto-rickshaws. Local transport is the best and pocket-friendly medium to get around the tourist destinations in Kurukshetra.
Climate of Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra experiences scorching summers and chilly winters. The maximum temperature can cross the 45°C mark, while it also falls as low as 1°C around December and January. The monsoon arrives in the city in July and August.
Best time to visit Kurukshetra
Months between September and March are the best to plan a trip to Kurukshetra. The weather is pleasant, and you can tour various destinations in the city during the day without experiencing any inconvenience.
Kurukshetra is a beautiful city in Haryana where you can experience spirituality and tranquillity. Its vibrant culture makes a traveller feel welcome and has ample fun and religious places to visit. Book your IndiGo flight tickets now.
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