Kurukshetra

Known as the land of Bhagvad Gita and the Mahabharat, Kurukshetra is a popular pilgrimage in the state of Haryana about 170 km north of Delhi.

The city has great historical importance as it is associated with the Vedas. It is believed Lord Krishna preached the theories of Karma or duty to Arjun, giving birth to the holy text of Bhagvad Gita which encompasses the supreme principles of the Hindu religion.

The city has been known by several names like Dharamkshetra (Holy City), Brahmadevi, Uttaradevi, Brahmakshetra (Land of Brahma) over the ages.

Located on the banks of the Drishadvati River and the mythical Saraswati River; the city’s heritage dates back to 2800 BC. Lord Buddha, many Sikh Gurus and other religious teachers visited the region which emphasizes the fact that the city was considered a sacred place even during ancient times.

The city got its name from King Kuru of the Kuru clan. It is believed that King Kuru chose the region near Saraswati River to establish spirituality with qualities like truthfulness and kindness.

However, Kurukshetra is famous as the site of the epic battle between Pandavas and Kauravas. The battle of Kurukshetra pitted the good and the evil and from that day Kurukshetra is also known as Dharma Kshetra or the land of the righteous.

The founders of the Kuru clan laid the foundation for a lifestyle based on kindness but despite this, the descendants of the Kuru clan engaged in a battle against the Kauravs and the Pandavs for control of Hastinapur, which is now a town in Meerut. This epic battle was known as the Battle of Kurukshetra.

Excavations in many parts of Kurukshetra prove that the city existed even before the time of the Harappan civilization.

History

In ancient times, the Kurukshetra covered a huge area that was part of the existing state of Punjab and north western part of Jind district. It is believed that the Hindu doctrine and philosophies came in to being at Kurukshetra between 5 BC and 5 AD. The Rid Veda was also composed between 1500 BC and 1000 BC. in Kurukshetra.

Ancient records state that the city was the prime centre of Vedic Civilization and learning. Bharat Dynasty, King Ashok and Harsh had made Kurukshetra a part of their kingdoms during their reign over the region. The land of Kurukshetra came to be known as Uttaradevi when King Kuru came on this land.

The region has been ruled over by many empires over the years with the rule of King Harsha being the pinnacle of the region’s glory. Asoka made Kurukshetra a great place of learning. The sacred tanks in the city have been mentioned by Akbar’s court historian, Abul Fazl, in Akbarnama and have also been mentioned by Frenchtraveller, Francois Bernier during Shahjahan’s era.

Shopping

Shopping in Kurukshetra is mainly for the pottery and handlooms. Utensils, vessels and toys are sold in the dusty lanes in the markets near the railways station. Embroidery and woven shawls, robes and lungis (sarong) are famous in the region. The best form of the woven cloth is the Phulkari Style of weaving with the use of vibrant colours and complicated designs.

Where to stay

There are many budget accommodation options in the city near the railway station. Kurukshetra being a temple town has as many as 12 dharamsalas mostly near Brahmasarovar. There are no luxury accommodations in Kurukshetra but the mid-range hotels near the Old Bus Stand and on Amin Road offer good facilities.
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Where to eat

You get vegetarian as well as non vegetarian food in restaurants all over the city. The best non-vegetarian cuisine is served in restaurants located in Sector 7 and the best vegetarian restaurants are located in Sector 17. The civic authorities banned the sale and consumption of meat in 2012 but there are many restaurants on the outskirts of the city that serve non-vegetarian dishes.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Kurukshetra is between September and March.

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