KurukshetraThe battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas was fought on the plains of Kurukshetra. This is where Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna. Kurukshetra is also called "Dharmkshetra" which means "Land of Dharma".
Kurukshetra is a district of the now northern Indian state of Haryana. 860 places of pilgrimage related to the Mahabharata and Gita exist there today. It is also called " The Holy Land", " Land of Mahabharat". It is about 150 km / 100 miles northwest of Delhi, about a 5 hour drive by cab from Mathura\Vrndavan. It is rich Agricultural land and populated with temples. Kurukshetra was named after King Kuru who possessed super excellent righteous qualities and performed devotional service in this area.
In the very first verse of Bhagwad-Gita, Kurukshetra is described as DHARAMKSHETRA i.e. "A place to perform Dharma". According to the Vedas, the name Kurukshetra refers to a area of about 48 x 128 Km which now includes a large number of holy places, temples and tanks connected with the Ancient traditions, Mahabharat War, and the ancestors of Kauravas and Pandavas. It is said that after performing a great yajna, Lord Brahma created the universe from here. It is said that Manu wrote his Manu-smriti here, and that the Rig and Sama Vedas were compiled in this place. Buddha also visited Kurukshetra.
This is one of the holiest bathing ghats in India. It is said that by bathing in this tank, pilgrims receive the benefit of performing an Ashvamedha-yajna. It is said that those who bathe in this tank during a solar eclipse are absolved from all sins. The tank consists of a large lake about a half a km wide and 1km long (3,600 by 1,500 feet). The water is clean, and there are ghats for bathing set up at regular intervals. It is said that Lord Brahma created the universe from this place. Krishna, Balarama, and Subhadra came here to bathe during a solar eclipse. Since ancient times, millions of people have bathed during eclipses.
There is a well on the large island in the middle of the tank called Chandra Kupa, and it is one of the four sacred wells in Kurukshetra. There is a temple near this well. After the battle of Kurukshetra, Yudhisthira the eldest Pandava is said to have erected a victory pillar here.
The childhood friends and relatives met Sri Krsna here after 100 years
of separation. It is the meeting point of seven sacred Saraswatis. Those who perform sraddha ceremonies here and then bathe in this tank on the day of an eclipse will be cleansed of sin and will receive the results of performing 1,000 Ashvamedha-yajnas. All the tirthas are said to assemble at this tank on the Amavasya (new moon) day.
The Gita was revealed here at Jyotisar.
When I first visited this holy place I was expecting a big temple with a lot of people, excitement etc. Instead I was pleasantly surprised with the simple, serene and clean atmosphere. Very conducive for meditation on the activities that transpired there. A banyan marks the spot where the Gita was spoken and where Lord Krsna revealed his universal form.
Bhisma Kund: This is where after being wounded on the 11th day of the battle the granfather of the Pandavas educated Yudhisthira on the laws of dharma.Bhisma rested on a bed of arrows until the end of the war which lasted 18 days. When desiring water for his thirst Arjuna shot an arrow into the ground and spring water came up and was offerd to the noble grandfather. It is said that those who bathe in this tank will receive the benefits of bathing at all the tirthas.
Ban Langa: Arjuna shot another arrow in to the ground here to provide drinking water for his horses. They were searching for Jayadratha. He was hidden by the Kauravas because Arjuna vowed that if he did not kill him before the sunset he would commit suicide. Jayadratha had helped kill Arjuna's son Abhimanyu. So Arjuna was determined to get revenge.
The Pandavas prayed to Lord Siva to recieve his blessings for victory in battle. The Siva Linga in this temple is very ancient. It is said that the water from the well can cure leporsy as it cured King Ban.