Kurukshetra – Popular Pilgrim Place for Hinds
By Smitakshi Guha
Located in the north Indian state of Haryana, Kurukshetra is a popular pilgrim place that is not just the most visited sacred town in the state but also the whole country. Its historical as well as spiritual essence makes it a significant aspect of Indian culture and mythology. The place found its ancient mentions in the most popular epic of India—the Mahabharata.
Kurukshetra is the same place that served as the battlefield where the battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas took place over the ownership of the kingdom of Hastinapur. The brutal war had an end with the bloodshed of the Kauravas who lost Hastinapur to the Pandavas.
The place is actually situated on the banks of holy River Saraswati and gets its name from King Kuru, who also happened to be the forefather of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata. He later went onto embed his theology with eight qualities in this holy land, which were: truth, kindness, yagya, austerity, forgiveness, brahmacharya, charity, and lastly, purity.
His dedication and determination with such positive thoughts pleased Lord Vishnu, so much that he rewarded the king with two boons. The first one was that the place would be called Kurukshetra after his name, and the second that whoever would be leaving the mortal world in Kurukshetra would be granted moksha, that is freedom from rebirth.
In history, Kurukshetra is also the same place where Lord Krishna preached about the Karma Yoga or the discipline of action to Arjun, whom Krishna fondly referred to as Paarth. The Karma Yoga asks an individual to devote all his effort and concentration to his actions, and continue doing so not thinking of the returns or benefits he would achieve at the end of it. If one has to dig deep into the roots of Indian mythology and culture, a pilgrimage to Kurukshetra is certainly a great way to exercise the thought. The place has also been called by other names such as Dharmakshetra, Brahmadevi, and Uttaravedi.
The main attractions in Kurukshetra are the Brahma Sarovar, the Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple, the Bhadrakali Temple, and a popular museum dedicated to Lord Krishna.