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Map of Kurukshetra District
Gita Dwar, Kurukshetra

Kurukshetra (Hindi: कुरुक्षेत्र) is the name of a city in Kurukshetra District of the Indian state of Haryana हरियाणा. The name literally means "Land of the Kaurava" after the Kuru clan. It is supposed to be the site of the Mahabharata War or Kurukshetra War, described in the epicMahabharata.


In the epic times (final centuries BC), the region between the triangle of Thaneshwar, Hissar and Hastinapur was distinguished by three different names:

Tahsils in Kurukshetra district

Kurukshetra University Logo

Kurukshetra district was created out of district Karnal in the year 1973. Later on some area of the erstwhile district were transferred to Kaithal and Yamuna Nagar Districts when these two districts were created. Kurukshetra district forms a part of Ambala division. At present Kurukshetra district is divided into 2 Revenue Sub Divisions namely Thanesar & Pehowa. Thanesar Sub Division comprises of Thanesar and Shahabad tehsils and Ladwa, Babain Sub Tehsils. Pehowa Sub Division includes Pehowa tehsil and Ismailabad Sub Tehsil.[1]

Mention by Panini

Kurukshetra (कुरुक्षेत्र) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [2]


V. S. Agrawala[3] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions janapada Kuru (कुरु) (IV.1.172) - It was known to Panini as a janapada and a Kingdom. Hastinapura (VI.2.101) was its capital. The region between triangle of Thanesar, Hisar and Hastinapur was known by three different names. Kururashtra proper between Ganga River and Yamuna with its capital Hastinapur; Kurujangala equal to Rohtak, Hansi, Hisar; and Kurukshetra to the north with its centres at Thaneswar, Kaithal, Karnal.

Thanesar or Sthaneswar, a historical town is located adjacent to what is now newly created Kurukshetra city. Local hearsay identifies the legendary "Kurukshetra" with a nearby obscure hamlet, and with the active abetment of the state government, it is presently experiencing a tourist boom.

A few kilometeres from Kurukshetra is the village, Amin where there are remnants of a fort and it is said to be Abhimanyu's fort.

Kurukshetra town is situated 160 km north of Delhi on the national highway NH1. Other towns of the district are Pehowa, Ladwa, Ismailabad and Shahabad. The total area of Kurukshetra district is 1,682 sq kms and its population is 6,41,000. Total area under cultivation is 1,68,000 hectares out of this, 1,47,000 is irrigated area. The Kurukshetra district lies between latitude 29o-52' to 30o- 12' and longitude 76o-26' to 77o-04' in the North Eastern part of Haryana State. The district has a total of 419 villages. Ghaggar, Markanda and Saraswati are the important rivers of the district.

In Rajatarangini

Rajatarangini[4] tells that ....At the time when preparations for war were being made, three hill chiefs Jāsaṭa of Champa, Vajradhara of Vallapura And Sahajapala of Vartula and two heir apparent Kahla of Trigarta and Anandaraja of Vallapura assembled together and arrived at Kurukshetra. They found Bhikshachara who was saved by Asamati with Naravarmma; and Naravarmma gave gold to the former for, expenses on the way. Jasata was related to Bhikshachara and treated him well, and the other chiefs also honored him. They then arrived at Vallapura. (p.46)

Rajatarangini[5] tells.... But in order to help Nagapala, the king gave him his own army, crushed the pride of his enemies and re-established the stability of the kingdom. In the meantime Koshtaka returned after his ablutions in the Ganges, and taking Mallarjjuna on his side, set about to raise a faction in the kingdom. At the time of the solar eclipse, the prince was at Kurukshetra. It was in 1133 AD. [VIII (i),p.197-198]

In Mahabharata

Mahabharata mentions Kurukshetra (कुरुक्षेत्र) in verses (I.89.43), (1.94), as Tirtha in verse (III.81.1, 2, 92, 175,176,177,178), (V.158.11), (VIII.30.10),(IX.36.48),...

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 89 mentions in verses (I.89.42-43)...."Samvarana begat upon his wife, Tapati, the daughter of Surya, a son named Kuru. This Kuru was exceedingly virtuous, and therefore, he was installed on the throne by his people. It is after his name that the field called Kuru Jangala has become so famous in the world. Devoted to asceticism, he made that field (Kurukshetra) sacred by practising asceticism there."

ततः संवरणात सौरी सुषुवे तपती कुरुम
राजत्वे तं परजाः सर्वा धर्मज्ञ इति वव्रिरे (I.89.42)
तस्य नाम्नाभिविख्यातं पृथिव्यां कुरुजाङ्गलम
कुरुक्षेत्रं स तपसा पुण्यं चक्रे महातपाः (I.89.43)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81 mentions names of Tirthas (Pilgrims): Kurukshetra (कुरुक्षेत्र) is mentioned verses (III.81.1,2) as under.... "Pulastya said, 'One should next proceed, O king, to the adored Kurukshetra (कुरुक्षेत्र) (III.81.1) at sight of which all creatures are freed from their sins. He is freed from all sins who constantly sayeth, 'I will live in Kurukshetra.' The very dust of Kurukshetra, conveyed by the wind, leadeth a sinful man to a blessed course (in after-life). They that dwell in Kurukshetra which lieth to the south of the Saraswati and the north of the Drishadwati, are said to dwell in heaven."

ततॊ गच्छेत राजेन्द्र कुरुक्षेत्रम अभिष्टुतम
पापेभ्यॊ विप्रमुच्यन्ते तद्गताः सर्वजन्तवः (III.81.1)
कुरुक्षेत्रं गमिष्यामि कुरुक्षेत्रे वसाम्य अहम
य एवं सततं बरूयात सॊ ऽपि पापैः परमुच्यते (III.81.2)
अत्र मासं वसेद वीर सरस्वत्यां युधिष्ठिर
यत्र बरह्मादयॊ देव ऋषयः सिद्धचारणाः (III.81.3)

Verse (III.81.92) states ......O son of the Kuru race, one should next repair to Naimishakunja (नैमिष कुञ्ज) (III.81.92). O king, the Rishis engaged in ascetic austerities in the woods of Naimisha had, in days of old, taking the vow of pilgrimage, gone to Kurukshetra. There, on the banks of the Saraswati, O chief of the Bharatas, a grove was made, which might serve for a resting spot for themselves, and which was highly gratifying to them. Bathing in the Saraswati there, one obtaineth the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice.

ततॊ नैमिष कुञ्जं च समासाद्य कुरूद्वह
ऋषयः किल राजेन्द्र नैमिषेयास तपॊधनाः
तीर्थयात्रां पुरस्कृत्य कुरुक्षेत्रं गताः पुरा (III.81.92)
दक्षिणेन सरस्वत्या उत्तरेण दृषद्वतीम
ये वसन्ति कुरुक्षेत्रे ते वसन्ति तरिविष्टपे (III.81.175)
कुरुक्षेत्रं गमिष्यामि कुरुक्षेत्रे वसाम्य अहम
अप्य एकां वाचम उत्सृज्य सर्वपापैः परमुच्यते (III.81.176)
बरह्म वेदी कुरुक्षेत्रं पुण्यं बरह्मर्षिसेवितम
तदावसन्ति ये राजन न ते शॊच्याः कथं चन (III.81.177)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81 explains the importance of Prithudaka in verses (III.81.122-29)...."One should next proceed, O king, to the tirtha celebrated over the three worlds, which is called Prithudaka (पृथूदक) (III.81.122), belonging to Kartikeya. One should bathe there and occupy oneself in the worship of the Pitris and the gods. Whatever evil hath been committed, knowingly or unknowingly, by man or woman, impelled by human motives, is all destroyed, O Bharata, by a bath in that tirtha. Bathing there one obtaineth, too, the merit of the horse-sacrifice and heaven also. The learned have said that Kurukshetra is holy; that holier than Kurukshetra is the Saraswati; that holier than the Saraswati are all the tirthas together, and that holier than all the tirthas together is Prithudaka. He that engaged in the recitation of prayers casteth off his body at Prithudaka, which is the best of all tirthas, becometh an immortal. It hath been sung by Sanatkumara and by the high-souled Vyasa, and it is in the Vedas also, that one should, O king, go to Prithudaka, with subdued soul. O son of Kuru race, there is no tirtha which is superior to Prithudaka. Without doubt, that tirtha is purifying, holy and sin-destroying."

ततॊ गच्छेत राजेन्द्र तीर्थं तरैलॊक्यविश्रुतम
पृथूदकम इति खयातं कार्तिकेयस्य वै नृप
तत्राभिषेकं कुर्वीत पितृदेवार्चने रतः (III.81.122)
अज्ञानाज जञानतॊ वापि सत्रिया वा पुरुषेण वा
यत किं चिद अशुभं कर्मकृतं मानुषबुद्धिना (III.81.123)
तत सर्वं नश्यते तस्य सनातमात्रस्य भारत
अश्वमेध फलं चापि सवर्गलॊकं च गच्छति (III.81.124)
पुण्यम आहुः कुरुक्षेत्रं कुरुक्षेत्रात सरस्वतीम
सरस्वत्याश च तीर्थानि तीर्थेभ्यश च पृथूदकम (III.81.125)
उत्तमे सर्वतीर्थानां यस तयजेद आत्मनस तनुम
पृथूदके जप्यपरॊ नैनं शवॊ मरणं तपेत (III.81.126)
गीतं सनत कुमारेण वयासेन च महात्मना
वेदे च नियतं राजन अभिगच्छेत पृथूदकम (III.81.127)
पृथूदकात पुण्यतमं नान्यत तीर्थं नरॊत्तम
एतन मेध्यं पवित्रं च पावनं च न संशयः (III.81.128)
तत्र सनात्वा दिवं यान्ति अपि पापकृतॊ जनाः
पृथूदके नरश्रेष्ठ पराहुर एवं मनीषिणः (III.81.129)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81 gives its location in verse (III.81.178)......That which lieth between Tarantuka (तरन्तुक) (III.81.178) and Arantuka (अरन्तुक) (III.81.178) and the lakes of Ramahrada (रामह्रदा) (III.81.178) and Machakruka (मचक्रुक) (III.81.178) is Kurukshetra. It is also called Samantapanchaka (समन्तपञ्चक) (III.81.178) and is said to be the northern sacrificial altar of the Grandsire.

तरन्तुकारन्तुकयॊर यद अन्तरं; रामह्रदानां च मचक्रुकस्य
एतत कुरुक्षेत्रसमन्तपञ्चकं; पिता महस्यॊत्तर वेदिर उच्यते (III.81.178)

Udyoga Parva/Mahabharata Book V Chapter 158 mentions in verse (V.158.11)....The field of Kurukshetra also is without mire. The roads are even. Thy steeds are well-fed.

लॊहाभिहारॊ निर्वृत्तः कुरुक्षेत्रम अकर्थमम
समः पन्दा भृता यॊधाः शवॊ युध्यस्व सकेशवः (V.158.11)

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 mentions ...."One should always avoid the Vahikas, those impure people that are out of the pale of virtue, and that live away from the Himavat and the Ganga River and Sarasvati and Yamuna and Kurukshetra and the Sindhu and its five tributary rivers."

तत्र वृथ्धः पुरावृत्ताः कदाः काश चिथ थविजॊत्तमः
बाह्लीक थेशं मद्रांश च कुत्सयन वाक्यम अब्रवीत (V.158.9)
बहिष्कृता हिमवता गङ्गया च तिरस्कृताः
सरस्वत्या यमुनया कुरुक्षेत्रेण चापि ये (V.158.10)
पञ्चानां सिन्धुषष्ठानां नथीनां ये ऽनतर आश्रिताः
तान धर्मबाह्यान अशुचीन बाह्लीकान परिवर्जयेत (V.158.11)


The district is a plain which slopes generally from North East to South West. The plain is remarkable flat and within it, are the narrow low-lying flood plains, known as either Betre Khadar of Naili. A good network of canals is providing irrigational facilities. Underground water level is not relatively high. Tube well irrigation is also common in the district. It is one of the prosperous district from agriculture point of view. Kurukshetra along with Karnal and Kaithal districts is known as the 'Rice Bowl of India' and famous for Basmati Rice. The soil is generally alluvial, loam and clay does not constitute average texture of the soil.

Places of national importance

Sheikh Chehli's Tomb

शेखचिल्ली का मकबरा, थानेसर This beautiful tomb and the attached Madrasa are associated with the sufi saint Abd-Ur-Rahim alias Abudul-Karim popularly known by the name of Sheikh Chehli, believed to be spiritual teacher of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh (1650 AD) the tomb. Built of buff sandstone, the tomb is crowned by pear shaped dome of marble on a high circular drum. Another tomb of sand stone with a long dome of marble decorated with graved floral designs is on the west wall of the enclosure. It is said to be of Sheikh Chehli’s wife. in view of its architectural and historical importance it was declare protected as a monument of National importance.

Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre

The Centre is situated adjacent to the Sri Krishna Museum in Kuruksheta and has a magnificent two-storied building used for exhibition and visitors’ activities. In the ground floor, an 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. Housed in a tall and cylindrical building, with its elegant architecture and ambience, the main attraction of the Centre is a life-like Panorama of the epic battle of Kurukshetra. Standing at the centre of the cylindrical hall, one can feel the towering 34 feet high paintings of the episodes from the 18-day confrontation between the Pandavas and the Kauravas come alive before his eyes. Merged with this is the diorama of the battleground that epitomizes the carnage realistically. The chanting of Gita and distant war cries mingled with lighting illusions create the perfect ambience. A Science Park has also been set up outside the four walls of the center’s building. This is a refreshing concept of science learning for the children through fun and enjoyment.

Archeological Site Museum

An archaeological site museum has been set up here to enlighten the people the history of Thanesar as revealed by archaeological excavations carried out by The Archaeological Survey of India. It houses a variety of exhibits unearthed from the mound such as stone and terracotta sculptures, coins, ornaments, ritualistic objects etc. The exhibition also includes schematic plan and its findings as well as the architectural buildings as have been exposed after the excavation. This site museum is the first of its kind in Haryana.

Harsha Ka Till - An Archeological Excavated Site

It is an archaeological mound excavated by Archaeological Survey of India. The excavation has revealed cultural occupation from 1st century B.C. to 18th century AD. Various archaeological findings pertaining to different periods of history unearthed from the mound depicts the cultural history of Thanesar through the ages. The excavated passions have been scientifically conserved and made available for the tourists and scholars.

Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple

Small and distinct. With an air of an ancient presence, lies the Sthanesvara Mahadev Temple at Thanesar. It was here that the Pandavas prayed to Lord Shiva and received His blessings for Shiva and received His blessings for victory in the battle of Mahabharata legend has it that the waters of the tank adjoining the temple are holy. A few drops of water cured King ‘Ben’ of leprosy. And, no pilgrimage of Kurukshetra is believed to be entirely complete without a visit to this holy temple. The temple of Sthaneswar is the abode of Lord Shiva. It once formed an important part of the kingdom of King Harsha Vardhana of the Pushyabhuti dynasty. The architecture of the temple is regional is style-it has a domical roof and the façade of this dome is given an ‘Amla’ shape along with a tall pinnacle. The ‘Linga’ is ancient and worshipped with a lot of ritual and prayer.

Bhadrakali Temple

The temple is dedicated to Bhadrakali a form of shaktiand consort of Virabhadra. This is considered to be one of the fifty one Shakti pithas of India. It is believed that the right ankle of Sati fell here in the well. The consort of Savtri is called Sthanu. Hence, the city is called Sthanesvar meaning abode of Shiva. It is believed that the mundan (hair removing) ceremony of Krishna and Balarama was also performed in this temple.


On of the most revered of holy places of Kurukshetra is Jyotisar, which lies 5 km from Kurukshetra on Kurukshetra-Pehowa road. It is believed that here under the holy banyan tree Lord Krishna delivered the eternal message of Bhagawadgita to Arjuna before commencement of Mahabharata battle. The Bhagawadgita has been immortalised in the sacred ambiance of a small village named Jyotisar one of the most revered holy places of Kurukshetra. In fact, the word Jyotisar constitutes of two words that is ‘Jyoti’ meaning light and ‘Sar’ meaning tank. Thus, it symbolically signifies the sacred tank of enlightenment. Tradition says here stands a banyan tree, may be an offshoot of the original banyan tree under which Krishna delivered the Bhagawadgita on the eve of battle just before its commencement. Sound & Light show on the theme of Bhagawadgita in the light of Mahabharata has been mounted by ITDC as a part of the tourism promotion in Kurukshetra. The show enlivens the story of Mahabharata through the powerful dialogues and the hymns from the Bhagawadgita. An ambience of the battle is created in the secluded environment of Jyotisar.

Kalikamli Temple

The temple is dedicated to Bhadrakali. The main deity worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum is Kali, a form of ‘Shakti’. As such Thanesar is known for Shaktism and tantricism. Apparently the temple might have existed in some or other form. The temple is double storied structure. Architecturally it is an off-beat style as the sanctum sanctrum and sanctum are juxtapositioned in such a way that it forms one single structure bearing composite style of domical and vaulted roofs.

Sri Krishna Museum

Krishna means ‘all that is attractive’. He embraces all that is beautiful, enchanting, and eternal. Look at him as an incredible hero. Perceive him as the destroyer of evil. Feel in your heart and soul his love and compassion. He is the symbol of time, space, and eternity, the manifestation of justice, goodwill, fraternity and universality. Every museum has its own character and personality. With a view to awakening the people morally and culturally through the ideas and ideals of Krishna and to enlighten the people the history of the region, the Sri Krishna Museum was established in 1987. Subsequently it was shifted to the present building in 1991 and new block was added in the year 1995. The artefacts displayed in the museum represent Krishna as godhead, an avatara, of Vishnu, a great Philosopher, an epic hero, an astute statesman and a supreme lover. There are six galleries displaying different terms of Madhubani Paintings, Thanjarur Paintings, Miniature Paintings, Archaeological Objects and Krishna Paintings.

Notable Jats from Kurukshetra district

Jat Gotras in Kurukshetra district

Notable Jat villages in Kurukshetra district

Tyoda, Tyodi, Ban, Buddha, Kailron, Mangoli Jattan, Bangro, Dudhla Bapda, Bapdi, Latthi, Dhanaura, Dudhla, Charuni Jattan,Landha, Landhi, Kirmach

External Links



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