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Kurukshetra
Dharmakshetra
City
Bronze chariot with Krishna and Arjuna in Kurukshetra (Haryana)
Bronze chariot with Krishna and Arjuna in Kurukshetra (Haryana)
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
Named forKurukshetra War
Area
 • Total48 km2 (19 sq mi)
Languages[1][2]
 • OfficialHindi, Haryanvi
 • Additional officialEnglish, Punjabi
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN
136118
Telephone code01744
ISO 3166 codeIN-HR
Vehicle registrationHR-07
Websitekurukshetra.gov.in

Kurukshetra (Hindi pronunciation: [kʊrʊkʃeːtɾə], pronunciation ) is a city and administrative headquarter of Kurukshetra district in the Indian state of Haryana. It is also known as Dharmakshetra ("Realm of duty ") and as the "Land of the Bhagavad Gita".

Legends

See also: Kurukshetra War

A manuscript of Mahabharata depicting the war at Kurukshetra
A manuscript of Mahabharata depicting the war at Kurukshetra

According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is a region named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas in the Kuru kingdom, as depicted in epic Mahabharata. The Kurukshetra War of the Mahabharata is believed to have taken place here. Thaneswar whose urban area is merged with Kurukshetra is a pilgrimage site with many locations attributed to Mahabharata.[3]

In the Vedas Kurukshetra is described not as a city but as a region ("kshetra" means "region" in Sanskrit). The boundaries of Kurukshetra correspond roughly to the central and western parts of the state of Haryana and southern Punjab. 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.[4]

According to the Vamana Purana, King Kuru chose land at the banks of the Sarasvati River for embedding spirituality with eight virtues: austerity (Tapas), truth (Satya), forgiveness (Kshama), kindness (Daya), purity (Shuddha), charity (Daana), devotion (Yajna), and conduct (Brahmacharya). Lord Vishnu was impressed with the acts of King Kuru and blessed him with 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.

History

Kurukshetra reached the zenith of its progress during the reign of King Harsha, during which Chinese scholar Xuanzang visited Thanesar.

Kurukshetra was conquered by the Mauryan empire in the late 4th century BCE and subsequently became a center of Buddhism and Hinduism. The history of Kurukshetra is little-known in between the collapse of the Mauryans and the rise of the Kushans who conquered the region. After the decline of Kushan power in the region, Kurukshetra became independent only to become conquered by the Gupta empire in the early 4th century CE. Under Gupta rule, Kurukshetra experienced a cultural and religious revival and became a center for Hinduism. After the fall of the Gupta, the Pushyabhuti dynasty ruled over Kurukshetra.[5]

Civil war broke out when Harsha (of the Pushyabhuti dynasty) died without a successor in 647. A Kashmiri army briefly conquered Kurukshetra in 733 but were unable to establish dominion in the area. In 736, the Tomara dynasty was founded and they took over the region. Around the early 9th century, Kurukshetra lost its independence to Bengal. Mahmud of Ghazni sacked Kurukshetra in 1014 and Muslim raiders sacked it in 1034. Kurukshetra was incorporated into the Delhi Sultanate in 1206. Other than a short moment of independence from the result of a rebellion within the Sultanate in 1240, Kurukshetra was under the control of Delhi until 1388.[5]

Kurukshetra became independent once again after the steep decline of the Delhi Sultanate and the raids of Tamerlane near the region. The Sayyid dynasty incorporated Kurukshetra into their territory though the city likely enjoyed some autonomy. The area was much more firmly controlled under the subsequent Lodi dynasty. Some damages to Kurukshetra and its structures occurred during this period. Kurukshetra became part of the Mughal Empire after Babur quashed a local rebellion in 1526. Under Akbar, Kurukshetra once again became a spiritual center not only for Hindus but also for Sikhs and Muslims.[5]

Between the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Kurukshetra was controlled by the forces of the Maratha Empire until the British took over Delhi in 1803. In 1805, the British took Kurukshetra after defeating the Maratha forces in the Second Anglo-Maratha War, who were controlling the city. Since 1947, Kurukshetra has become a popular spiritual center and has seen much infrastructure, development, and restoration of old structures.[5]

Geography

Kurukshetra city is surrounded by Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar to the northwest, Ambala, Chandigarh, Shimla to the north, Yamuna Nagar, Jagadhri, Dehradun to the northeast, Pehowa, Cheeka, Mansa to the west, Ladwa, Saharanpur, Roorkee to the east, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar to the southwest, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, New Delhi to the south, and Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut to the southeast.

Climate

The climate of the district varies as the temperature in summer reaches as high as 47 °C, and as low 1 °C in winter, with rains in July and August.

Demography

Religion in Kurukshetra (2011) [6]

  Hinduism (83.47%)
  Sikhism (14.55%)
  Islam (1.66%)
  Christianity (0.20%)
  Other/Not Stated (0.12%)

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 due to its religious significance.[7]

Transport

Kurukshetra Junction railway station is a junction station at the junction of Delhi–Kalka line and Kurukshetra–Jind branch line.[8] It is located in the Indian state of Haryana. It serves Kurukshetra and Thanesar city.

Tourism

Kurukshetra is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination, and there are several pilgrimage sites surrounding the city. The Hindi phrase 48 kos parikrama refers to a roughly 90-km traditional circle (Parikrama) around the holy city (1 kos equals about 3.00 km or 1.91 miles), and a complete parikrama refers to a pilgrimage to all these sites on foot.[9][10]

Hindu religious sites

Historical sites

Wildlife

Educational institutes

Politics

District administration

In popular art

Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' wrote an epic poem titled Kurukshetra, a narrative poem based on the Santi Parva of the Mahabharata. He wrote the poem when memories of the Second World War were fresh in his mind.[16]

Notable people

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "Report of the Commissioner for linguistic minorities: 52nd report (July 2014 to June 2015)" (PDF). National Commission of Linguistic Minorities, India. Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India. pp. 85–86. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. ^ IANS (28 January 2010). "Haryana grants second language status to Punjabi". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Kurukshetra (India)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
  4. ^ Agarwal, Vishal: Is There Vedic Evidence for the Indo-Aryan Immigration to India? Archived 28 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d Schellinger, Paul; Salkin, Robert, eds. (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places, Volume 5: Asia and Oceania. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. pp. 507–508. ISBN 1-884964-04-4.
  6. ^ "Kurukshetra Population 2021".
  7. ^ "Haryana bans meat in holy towns of Kurukshetra, Pehowa". The Indian Express. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  8. ^ "KKDE/Kurukshetra Junction Railway Station". India Rail Info. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Service, Tribune News. "K'shetra village renamed after Mahabharata's Abhimanyu". Tribuneindia News Service. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  11. ^ Aggarwal, Chandni. "Brahma Sarovar". Times of India Travel. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  12. ^ Lahore Gazetteer, 1887, p. 203
  13. ^ "Sheikh Chaheli's Tomb | Places of Interest | Kurukshetra | Destinations | Haryana Tourism Corporation Limited". Haryana Tourism Corporation. Haryana Government. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Nabha House | Places of Interest | Kurukshetra | Destinations | Haryana Tourism Corporation Limited". Haryana Tourism Corporation.
  15. ^ "Nayab Singh(Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP)):Constituency- KURUKSHETRA(HARYANA) - Affidavit Information of Candidate". myneta.info. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  16. ^ Das, Sisir Kumar (1995). A History of Indian literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 908. ISBN 978-81-7201-798-9.