: In the very first verse of Bhagwad-Gita Kurukshetra is described as DHARAMKSHETRA i.e. ‘Region of righteousness’. Kurukshetra is a place of great historical and religious importance, revered all over the country for its sacred association with the Vedas and the Vedic Culture. It was here that the battle of Mahabharat was fought and Lord Krishna preached His Philosophy of ‘KARMA’ as enshrined in the Holy Bhagwad-Gita, to Arjuna at Jyotisar. According to Hindu mythology, Kurukshetra is spread over, a circuit of about 48 KOS, which includes a large number of holy places, temples and sacred tanks connected with the religious events/rituals, Mahabharat War and Kurus, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavs. Kurukshetra is intimately related to the Aryan civilization and its growth all along the sacred river Saraswati.
Famous Places in Kurukshetra: Ancient Mound Amin, Bhadrakali Temple, Bhishma Kund, Bhor Saidan – Crocodile Farm, Brahma Sarovar, Dharohar Museum, Gurudawara Mastgarh, Jyotisar, Kalpana Chawla Memorial Planetarium, Kartikeya Temple, Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre, Light and Sound Show at Jyotisar, Nabha House, Pashupatinatha Temple, Pathar Masjid, Prachin Shiva Temple, Raja Harsha ka Tila, Raja Karna ka Qila, Sannihit Sarovar, Sheikh Chaheli’s Tomb, Shri Krishna Museum, Sthaneshwara Mahadev Temple, Thanesar Archaeological Site Museum, Vishvamitra Ka Tila.
Ancient Mound Amin: The name of the village, Amin, is derived from Abhimanyu, the son of Arjun, the hero of Mahabharata. The ancient site at this village is popularly known as ‘Abhimanyukhera’. It is believed that this is the site of famous Chakravyuha, arranged by the Kauravas to fight with Pandavas. Abhimanyu, the son of Arjun had been trapped in this Chakravyuha and killed during Mahabharata war.
Bhadrakali Temple: The Bhadrakali Temple is situated on the Jhansa Road in the town of Thanesar in the district of Kurukshetra. Bhadrakali is a form of Shakti. This is considered to be one of the 51 Shakti ‘pithas’ of India. It is believed that an anklet of Sati fell in the well. The mythical incident of Sati is being recalled here with a marble ankle.
Bhishma Kund: Another place that bears a connection with the great epic Mahabharata, this is the place where it is believed that Pitamaha Bhishma lay watching the famous battle after Arjun, created a bed of arrows for him. The place now has a temple next to a water tank called the Banganga or the Bhishma Kund.
Bhor Saidan – Crocodile Farm: There was a tank full of crocodiles in village Bhaur Saidan situated on Pehowa-Kurukshetra road, 22 kms. From Kurukshetra. The area of this tank was acquired and its management was taken over by the Forest Department during 1982-83. The habitat of this farm has been increased and the periphery fenced. Four pairs of crocodile were obtained from Crocodile Bank, Madras and have been released therein. The present population is 25. A high mound inside the tank has been erected for watching the reptiles from a close range.
Brahma Sarovar: A beautiful water tank in Kurukshetra, Brahma Sarovar, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the universe from this land. Just in the close vicinity of this sacred place are the Birla Gita Mandir and Baba Nath’s ‘haveli’. The Sarovar comes to life in winters when birds migrate from faraway places to take a dip in these waters. This beautiful tank bears a shining look during the ‘Deep Daan’ and ‘Aarti’ on the occasion of Gita Jayanti in the late November and early December.
Dharohar Museum: Dharohar, a museum to showcase the unique archeological, cultural and architectural heritage of Haryana. It also has an open-air theatre for cultural performances.
Gurudawara Mastgarh: It is located in Shahabad Markanda, 20, kilometers south of Ambala Cantonment along the Sher Shah Suri Marg. The principal mosque of the city was said to have been built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1630. It was converted into a Gurudwara by demolishing its minarets, hoisting the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) over it and installing Guru Granth Sahib inside it. The domes and mehrab remained intact. It was given the name Gurdwara Mastgarh.
Jyotisar: Jyotisar is the place where the sacred Jyotisar, the birth place of Gita, is the most venerated tirtha of Kurukshetra. It is believed that Mahabharata battle started from Jyotisar, where on the eve of the battle deluded Arjuna received the eternal message of Gita from its propounder Lord Krishna. It is said that Adi Sankaracharya has identified the place during his sojourn to Himalaya in the 9th centenary of Christian era. In 1850 A.D. King of Kashmir constructed one Shiva temple at the tirtha. Again in 1924, King of Darbhanga raised a stone platform around the holy banyan tree, which according to devouts is the evidence of the song celestial i.e Gita. In 1967 Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kama Koti Peetha. Installed the Chariot showing Gita Updesha on the platform facing east.
Kalpana Chawla Memorial Planetarium: The Kalpana Chawla Memorial Planetarium is named after the brave daughter of Haryana Dr. Kalpana Chawla. It is located near Jyotisar on Pehowa Road. The planetarium has been developed for imparting non-formal education in astronomy. The planetarium was established on 24th July 2007 by Haryana State Council for Science and Technology. The planetarium has exhibits placed both inside and outside of the building. The place is developed and arranged in such a way that it helps curious people and particularly students learn amazing aspects of science and satisfy their minds with a vivid range of information about the universe.
Kartikeya Temple: Located at Pehowa, 27 kms.towards west of Kurukshetra, there are many tirthas, ghats and temples in and around Pehowa. Lord Kartikeya temple is built at this site. According to legend, Lord Krishna made Yudhishthira light two lamps for the 18 lakh warriors who died in the battle of Mahabharata. These lamps flank the temple and it is believed that they have been continuously lit since then.
Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre: Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre is a unique Centre that combines science with religion. The main attraction of the Centre is a life-like panorama of the epic battle of Kurukshetra that showcases Mahabharata war with scientific explanations justifying every episode in the war. The magnificent two-storied building of the Centre has cylindrical walls. The Centre has an interesting exhibition called ‘India: A Heritage in Science, Technology and Culture’, consisting of working and interactive exhibits on ancient Indian concept of properties of matter, structure of atom, geometry, arithmetical rules, astronomy, medicine and surgery.
Light and Sound Show at Jyotisar: Episodes from the epic Mahabharata come alive in the engaging Light and Sound Show at Jyotisar, where tourists and locals gather alike to witness a period in history and mythology through a vibrant medium of colours and lights. This multi-sensory show uses a combination of film, light, sound and water to bring the spirit of the divine tales to life. Every evening, as the sun sets, visitors and local alike queue up to be audience to this innovative story telling.
Nabha House: This palatial building was constructed by the royal family of Nabha principality. This monument was used by the royal family members for stay during the days of religious performances at Kurukshetra. The building stands on a raised platform. The entrance gate is on the eastern side and its either sides are decorated with four arched niches (Miharab). There are two beautiful pillared windows (Jharokha) on the second floor of the building. The base and the top of these pillars have been decorated with lotus design. A temple dedicated to God Brahma is constructed on the top of the monument. It is fifteen-feet tall and built on Navaratha (nine corners) plan. The wooden door on entrance is studded with decorative iron nails, which represent the Hindu style of architecture in early British era.
Pashupatinatha Temple: It is the biggest temple built during the Maratha occupation in Pehowa. A chaturmukha linga of touchstone, (similar to the one at Pashupatinatha temple, Kathmandu, Nepal), is enshrined in its sanctorum. Built on a raised platform, the domed mandapa in front of the temple has exquisite murals on its ceiling.
Pathar Masjid: The Pathar Masjid is built of red sandstone and is known for its fluted minarets, which are attached to its back wall. The ceiling of the mosque rests on pillars that are decorated with floral designs carved in low relief. The ‘qibla’ in the centre of the western wall is flanked on either side by two arched niches inscribed with verses from the Quran. The masonry terrace forming the front court was certainly added at a later stage. On the basis of the style of architecture, the Masjid appears to have been built in the 17th century AD.
Prachin Shiva Temple: The ancient site of Prachi Shiva temple has yielded a number of the sculptors of Gods and Goddesses of Hindu Pantheon. These discoveries lead to the presumption that it was the site of one of the Vishnu temples, which are referred in the Pehowa inscriptions. Another Vishnu temple site in this town is Vishvamitra ka Tila.
Raja Harsha ka Tila: The archaeological excavations of this site have thrown significant light on successive remains of an ancient city settlement. The site spread over an area of 1kmx750 m. This site was excavated by Shri B.M.Pandey of Archaeological Survey of India. A few potsherds of Painted Grey Ware found from the lowest level of the site indicate the existence of a settlement before starting a continuous habitation at the site since Christian era. The excavated material ranging from circa 1st century AD to 19th century was divided in six cultural periods.
Raja Karna ka Qila: The mound, first surveyed by Alexander Cunningham, was excavated by D.B. Spooner of Archeological Survey of India in 1921-23. Later, the archeological excavations by Prof U.V.Singh of Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra have yielded the remains of three cultural periods ranging from circa 4th century BC to 3rd century AD.
Sannihit Sarovar: Believed to be the permanent abode of Lord Vishnu, Sannihit Sarovar is situated at a distance of 3 kms. From Kurukshetra on Pehowa Road. It is supposed that entire range of Tirthas assembles here on the day of Amavasya and as per the legends, if a man performs Shradhs at the time of solar eclipse and takes bath in this tank, he acquires the fruit of 1000 Ashwamedh sacrifices.
Sheikh Chaheli’s Tomb: This beautiful tomb and the madarasa (school) are associated with the Sufi saint Abdu’r-Rahim alias Aabd-ul-Razak, popularly known as Shaikh Chehli (also pronounced Chilli) believed to be the spiritual teacher of the Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Emperor Shahjahan. The tomb, overlooking the madarasa and standing on an artificial terrace, is octagonal in shape with the entrance in the south. It is built of buff sandstone and is crowned with a pear-shaped dome of white marble standing on a high circular drum. The cenotaph of saint occupies the centre of the chamber, while his grave is located in the lower chamber, which conjoins the madarasa through a narrow gallery. The madrassa has nine-arched openings on each side of a central courtyard that has in the centre a stone masonty tank.
Shri Krishna Museum: The museum, unravels the mystique of the cult of Lord Krishna. It endeavours to present the multifaceted personality of Krishna as narrated in the episodes of Mahabharata and the Bhagvata Purana. The museum has six galleries, three each in two blocks. On display are stone sculptures, bronze castings, leaf etchings, miniature paintings, clay pottery and terracotta artifacts. An extension of this museum is the Multimedia Mahabharata and Gita Gallery set up by Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
Sthaneshwara Mahadev Temple: Sthaneshwara Mahadev Temple is situated at Thanesar. There lies a story behind this temple that Pandavas prayed to Lord Shiva to receive his blessings for the victory in the battle of Mahabharata. So, the water of the tank adjoining the temple is believed to be holy. It is believed that Kurukshetra pilgrimage visit is incomplete without visiting this temple. The temple of Sthaneshwara was an important part of the kingdom of King Harsh Vardhana of Pushyabhuti dynasty.
Thanesar Archaeological Site Museum: Thanesar, just adjacent to Kurukshetra, is a place of importance from archaeological point of view. An archaeological site museum, a first-of-its-kind in Haryana, has been set up here to enlighten people about the history of Thanesar, which was revealed by archaeological excavations carried out here by the Archaeological Survey of India. Many varied interesting things have been unearthed from the mound, such as stone and terracotta sculptures, coins, ornaments, ritualistic objects, etc. An exhibition at the museum displays these finding.
Vishvamitra Ka Tila: The name of this town, Pehowa, is derived from its Pauranic name, Prithudaka, and the legend goes that king Prithu was the founder of this town. Two inscriptions of Gurjar-Pratihara period have been found at Pehowa. One inscription from this place records the creation of three Vishnu temples in this town. Another inscription, still in the Garibnath Mutth at Pehowa, of Raja Bhojdeva of 882 AD, records collection of voluntary tax from each trader for the purpose of maintenance of these Vishnu temples existing there and elsewhere. This site of Vishvamitra ka Tila too contained the remains of one of the Vishnu temples at this place.