Tirtha and Kshetra
By Smitakshi Guha
From the religious aspects in Indian culture, the terms Tirtha and Kshetra hold a lot of significance. The fundamental definition of Tirtha denotes it as any place of pilgrimage surrounded or built on a sacred water body where devotees visit to pay their tribute to the respected deities. On the other hand, the term Kshetra holds a lot of significance from multiple dimensions.
The first and primary definition of Kshetra comes from the context of the holy book of Hindus: Bhagvad Gita, wherein the epic Mahabharata, Kurukshetra is referred as the battlefield where the Pandavas and the Kauravas fought against each other for the possession of Hastinapur. On another note, Kshetra is also referred to the holy land where any holy shrine, like a temple, sacred event has happened. According to Hindu perspectives, both religious yatras as well as mandalas come under the connotation of Kshetras.
In India, as per Hinduism, the fundamental and most prominent Tirthas are the bathing ghats of the Ganges, Krishna, Kaveri, Yamuna, Narmada, as well as Godvari. While the most prominent Kshetras are Allahabad, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Pushkar, Mathura, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, Naimisha Forest, Kurukshetra, Lake Mansarovar, and Nashik.