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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Location of Thanesar in Kurukshetra District

Thanesar (थानेसर) (पुराना नाम - स्थानेश्वर) is the old town area of modern Kurukshetra city and is also the name of tahsil in Kurukshetra district in Haryana.

Origin of name


Thanesar is about 150 kilometres from Delhi on NH I. It is well connected by Rail and Roads to Delhi and Ambala.

Variants of name


Kurukshetra University is located here which is a great seat of learning. It is famous for the Braham Sarovar and Gurdawara; Tomb of Shaikh Chihali and one of the biggest Jat Dharamshala (there are many dharamshalas of other communities also). At Thanesar Birla Mandir and other religious shrines are paces of attraction for the pilgrims throughout the year.

Villages in Thanesar tahsil

Adhaun, Ahmadpur, Ajrana Kalan, Ajrana Khurd, Ajrani, Alampur, Amargarh Majhara, Amin, Atwan, Babain, Badarpur, Bagrat, Bagthala, Bahadurpur, Bahlolpur, Baholi, Bahri, Bakali, Bakana, Balahi, Ban, Bangran, Bani, Bapda, Bapdi, Baraichpur, Baraunda, Baraundi, Baraut, Barham, Barhan, Barna, Barshami, Barwa, Bazidpur, Berthala, Bhagwanpur, Bhaini, Bhalar, Bhalari, Bhartauli, Bhawani Khera, Bhukri, Bhusthla, Bhut Majra, Bibipur, Bichganwah, Binat, Bir Amin, Bir Bhartauli, Bir Chhapar, Bir Kalwa, Bir Khairi, Bir Mangaoli, Bir Mathana, Bir Pipli, Bir Sonthi, Bir Sujra, Bodhi, Bodla, Budha, Buhawi, Chanarthal, Chander Bhanpur, Charhuni Jattan, Chhalaundi, Chhapra, Chharpura, Chiba, Dab Khera, Dabkheri, Dara Kalan Thanesar, Dara Khurd Thanesar, Daulatpur, Dehra, Dhanani, Dhanaura, Dhandla, Dhangali, Dhantauri, Dhirpur , Dhoda Kheri, Dhola Majra, Dhuda, Dhudhla, Dhudi, Dhurala , Dig, Diyalpur, Dugari, Fatehgarh Atari, Fattupur, Gadli, Gajlana, Ghampur Kheri, Ghararsi, Gharaula, Ghisarpari, Gobindgarh, Gogpur, Gohan, Govind Majra, Gudah, Gulabgarh, Halalpur, Hamidpur, Hansala, Haripur, Harrapur, Hasanpur, Hathira, Hibana, Hinga Kheri, Indbari, Ishaqpur, Ishargarh, Isherheri, Jalaludin Majra, Jalkheri, Jandaula, Jandhera, Jhinwarheri, Jhinwarheri, Jinjarpur, Jirbari, Jogi Majra, Jogi Majra, Jogna Khera, Josar, Kahan Garh, Kalal Majra, Kali Raona, Kalwa, Kanauni, Kandauli, Kanipla, Kanthal Kalan, Kanthal Khurd, Karahami, Kasithal, Katlaheri, Kaulapur, Khaira, Khairi, Khanpur Jatan , Khanpur Kolian, Kharindwa, Kharkali, Khawaspur, Khera , Kheri Brahmanan, Kheri Dabdalan, Kheri Gadian, Kheri Markanda, Kheri Ramnagar, Khirki Viran, Kirmach, Kishan Garh, Kunwar Kheri, Ladwa (MC), Lakhmari, Lathi Dhanaura, Lohara, Lukhi, Machhrauli, Mahwa Kheri, Malakpur, Mandokhara, Mangaoli Rangran, Mangoli Jattan, Masana, Mathana, Mehra, Mirchaheri, Mirzapur, Morthala, Mukarpur, Munda Khera, Munyarpur, Murad Nagar, Nakhrojpur, Naraingarh, Narkatari, Nawarsi, Pahladpur, Palwal, Panwa, Partapgarh, Phalsanda Jattan, Phalsanda Rangran, Pindarsi, Pipli Majra, Ramgarh, Ramnagar, Ramnagar, Ramnagar, Rampura, Ramsaran Majra, Raogarh, Rattandera, Rawal Kheri, Rurki, Salarpur, Salempur, Salempur, Salpani Khurd, Samalkha, Samani, Sanwala, Sarai Sukhi, Shadipur, Shadipur Ladwa, Shadipur Shahabad, Shadipur Shahidan, Shahzadpur, Shamaspur, Shamsipur, Silpani Kalan, Sim Balwal, Singhaur, Sirsala, Sirsama, Sodhi, Sudhpur, Sujra, Sujri, Sultanpur, Sunarian, Suneheri, Sunthi, Sura, Tatka, Tatki, Teora , Thanesar (M Cl), Tigri, Tigri Khalsa, Udarsi, Umri, Untheri, Untsal, Zainpur Jattan,


Map of Thanesar in 565 AD

V. S. Agrawala[1] 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.

It was capital of Jat king Harshavardhana. Prabhakar Vardhan, father of Harshavardhana, was the first king of the Bains or Virk clan with his capital at Thanesar. Thanesar is the prakrit form of Sanskrit word Sthaneshwar. It has originated from word Sthanu, one of the names of Shiva.

Thanesar is an old locality of modern Kurukshetra city and is one among the four places where Kumbh Melas are held after every four years alternately. Kurukshetra is developing fast and several posh colonies have touched national highway No 1.

There are remains of several monuments like Harsh's Tila in the vicinity of Kurukshetra and also big Tila adjacent the tomb of Shaikh Chihli which testify the description of the area by the chinese traveller Hieun Tsang, who had stayed at Thanesar for quite sometime and learnt Sanskrit language at the feet of local scholars. Harshvardhana became king after the untimely death of his elder brother, who had died in a fight against the ruler of Bengal. But soon after taking over the reins of the kingdom in his hands, Harsh had to leave for Kannauj to resurrect the kingdom of his brother-in-law, the late husband of his sister Rajyashri.[2]

Visit by Xuanzang in 634 AD

Alexander Cunningham[3] writes that In the seventh century Sa-ta-ni-shi-fa-lo, or Sthaneswara, was the capital of a separate kingdom, which is

[p.329]: described as being 7000 li, or 1107 miles, in circuit. No king is mentioned, but the state was tributary to Harsha Varddhana of Kanoj, who was the paramount sovereign of Central India. From the large dimensions given by Hwen Thsang, I infer that the district must have extended from the Satlej to the Ganges.[4] Its northern boundary may be approximately described as a straight line drawn from Hari-ki-patan, on the Satlej, to Muzaffarnagar, near the Ganges; and its southern boundary as an irregular line drawn from near Pak-patan, on the Satlej, via Bhatner and Narnol, to Anupshahar on the Ganges. These limits give a boundary of about 900 miles, which is nearly one- fourth less than is stated by the pilgrim. But it is certain that many of these boundary measurements must be exaggerated, as the distances could only have been estimated, and the natural tendency of most persons is rather to overstate the actual size of their native districts. Another source of error lies in the deficient information of Hwen Thsang's own narrative, which describes each of the 37 districts as a distinct and separate state, whereas it is almost certain that several of the minor states should be included within the boundaries of the larger ones. Thus I believe that the petty districts of Govisana and Ahichhatra must have formed part of the state of Madawar ; that Vaisakha and Kusapura, and the other small districts of the Gangetic Doab, Ayuto, Hayamukha, Kosambi, and Prayaga, were included in Kanoj ; that Kusinagara belonged to Kapila; and that Vadari and Kheda were integral parts of Malwa. In some instances also, I believe that thousands have been inserted in the

[p.330]: text instead of hundreds. I refer specially to the petty districts in the lower Gangetic Doab. Thus, Prayaga, or Allahabad, is said to be 5000 li, or 833 miles, in circuit, and Kosambi, which is only 30 miles from Allahabad, is said to be 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit ! In both of these instances I would read the smaller numbers of 500 li, or 83 miles, and 600 li, or 100 miles, which would then agree with the actual dimensions of these petty divisions. It is quite certain that they could not have been larger, as they were completely surrounded by other well-known districts. By making due allowance for one or other of these sources of error, I think it will be found that Hwen Thsang's measurements are in general not very far from the truth.

The town of Sthaneswara, or Thanesar, consists of an old ruined fort, about 1200 feet square at top, with the modern town on a mound to the east, and a suburb called Bahari, or "without," on another mound to the west. Altogether, the three old mounds occupy a space nearly one mile in length from east to west, and about 2000 feet in average breadth. These dimensions give a circuit of 14,000 feet, or less than 2-3/4 miles, which is somewhat under the 20 li, or 3-1/3 miles, of Hwen Thsang. But before the inroads of the Muhammadans, it is certain, from the number of brick ruins still existing, as well as from the statements of the people themselves, that the whole of the intervening space between the present town and the lake, which is now called Darra, must have formed part of the old city. Taking in this space, the original city would have been, as nearly as possible, an exact square of one mile on each side, which would give a

[p.331]: circuit of 4 miles, or a little more than the measurement of the Chinese pilgrim. According to tradition, the fort was built by Raja Dilipa, a descendant of Kuru, five generations anterior to the Pandus. It is said to have had 52 towers or bastions, of which some remains still exist. On the west side the earthen ramparts rise to a height of 60 feet above the road ; but the mass of the interior is not more than 40 feet high. The whole mound is thickly covered with large broken bricks, but with the exception of three old wells, there are no remains of any antiquity.

The name of Thanesar or Sthanesvara is said to be derived ether from the Sthana or abode of Iswara or Mahadeva, or from the junction of his names of Sthanu and Iswara, or from Sthanu and sar " lake." The town is one of the oldest and most celebrated places in India, but the earliest certain notice of it under this name is by the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang, in A.D. 634, although it is most probably mentioned by Ptolemy as Batan-Kaisara, for which we should, perhaps, read Satan-aisara, for the Sanskrit Sthaneswara. But the place was more famous for its connection with the history of the Pandus, than for its possession of a temple of Mahadeva, whose worship, in India at least, must be of much later date than the heroes of the Mahabharata. All the country immediately around Thanesar, between the Saraswati and Drishadwati rivers, is known by the name of Kurukshetra, that is, the "field or land oi Kuru," who is said to have become an ascetic on the bank of the great holy lake to the south of the town. This lake is called by various names, as Brahma-Sar, Rama-hrad, Vayu, or Vayava-Sar, and Pavana-Sar. The first

[p.332]: name is attributed to Brahma, because he performed a sacrifice on its banks. The second name is derived from Parasu-Rama, who is said to have spilt the blood of the Kshatriyas in this place. The last two titles are derived from the names of the god of Wind, on account of the pleasant breezes -which blew over the waters of the lake during Kuru's period of asceticism. This lake is the centre of attraction for most pilgrims ; but all around it for many miles is holy ground, and the number of holy places connected with the Kauravas and Pandavas, and with other heroes of antiquity, is very great indeed. According to popular belief, the exact number is 360, but the list given in the Karukshetra Mahatamya is limited to 180 places, of which one-half, or 91, are to the north along the line of the venerated Sarasvati river. There are, however, in this list so many omissions of places of acknowledged importance, such as the Nagahrada at Pundri, the Vysasthala at Basthali, the Parasaratirath at Balu, and the Vishnu-tirath at Sagga, near Narana, that I feel inclined to believe that the popular number of 360 may not be exaggerated.

The Chakra or district oi Kurukshetra, is also called Dharma-Kshetra, or the " holy land," which is evidently the original of Hwen Thsang's " champ du heur." In his time the circle of pilgrimage was limited to 200 li,[5] which, at his valuation of 40 li to the Indian yojana of 4 kos, is equivalent to 20 kos. In the time of Akbar, however, the circle had already been increased to 10 kos,[6] and at the time of my visit it had been extended to 48 kos, although the 40 kos circuit was also -well known, and is, indeed, noted

[p.333]: by Mr. Bowring. The circuit stated by the Chines pilgrim could not have been more than 35 or 40 miles, at 7 or 8 miles to the yojana, but the circle mentioned by Abul Fazl could not be less than 53 miles, at the usual valuation of the Padshahi kos at 1-1/3 miles, and might, at Sir H. Elliot's valuation of Akbar's kos at more than 2½ miles, be extended to upwards of 100 miles. It is possible, indeed, to make these different statements agree very closely by changing the pilgrim's number to 400 li, or 10 yojanas, which are equivalent to 40 kos, or 80 miles, and by estimating Abul Fazl's 40 kos at the usual Indian rate of about 2 miles each. I am myself quite satisfied of the necessity for making this correction in the pilgrim's number, as the narrow extent of his circle would not only shut out the equally famous shrines at Prithudaka, or Pehoa on the Saraswati, and at the Kausiki-Sangam, or junction of the Kausiki and Drishadawati rivers, but would actually exclude the Drishadwati itself, which in the Vamana Purana is specially mentioned as being within the limits of the holy land, —

Dirgh-Kshetre Kurukshetre Dirgha Satranta yire
Nudyastire Drishadvatyah punyayah Suchirodhasah.

" They were making the great sacrifice of Satranta in the wide region of Kurukshetra on the banks of the Drishadwati, esteemed holy on account of its virtues." This river is also specially mentioned in the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata as being the southern boundary of the holy land.[7]

Dakshinena Sarasvatya Drishadvatyuttarena-cha
Ye vasanti Kurukshetre te vasanti trivishtape.
दक्षिणेन सरस्वत्या उत्तरेण दृषद्वतीम
ये वसन्ति कुरुक्षेत्रे ते वसन्ति तरिविष्टपे [8]

" South from Saraswati, and north from Drishadwati,

[p.334]: they who dwell in Kurukshetra live in paradise." From those texts it is certain that the holy land of Kurukshetra must have extended to the Drishadwati in the time of Hwen Thsang, and therefore that his limitation of its circuit to 200 li, or 20 kos, must be erroneous.

In another passage of the Mahabharata, the boundaries of the holy land are even more explicitly detailed,--- [9]

Tad ratnukuratnukyor yadantaram Ramahradanan-cha Bhachak-nukasya-cha
Etat Kurukshetra, Samanta — panchakam, Pitamahasyottara Vediruchyate.
तरन्तुकारन्तुकयॊर यद अन्तरं; रामह्रदानां च मचक्रुकस्य
एतत कुरुक्षेत्रसमन्तपञ्चकं; पिता महस्यॊत्तर वेदिर उच्यते [10]

" The tract between Ratnuka, Aratnuka, Ramahrada and Bhachakanuka, is called Kurukshetra, Samantapanchaka, and the northern Vedi of Pita-maha (or Brahma)." As this last name of Brahma-vedi is equivalent to Brahmvartta, we have another testimony in the Code of Manu for extending the holy land to the banks of the Drishadwati.[11]

Sarasvati Drishadvatyordeva nudyor yadantaram
Tandeva nirmitam-desan Brahmavarttan prachakshate.

"That region, made by the Gods, which is between the Saraswati and Drishadwati rivers, is called Brahmavartta."

The great lake of Kurukshetra is an oblong sheet of water 3546 feet in length from east to west, and 1900 feet in breadth. It is mentioned by Abu Rihan,[12] who records, on the authority of Varaha Mihira, that during eclipses of the moon the waters of all other

[p.335]: tanks visit the tank at Thanesar, so that the bather in this tank at the moment of eclipse obtains the additional merit of bathing in all the other tanks at the same time.

This notice by Varaha Mihira carries us hack at once to A.D.500, when the holy tank at Thanesar was in full repute. But the Pauranic legends attribute to it an antiquity long anterior even to the Pandus them-selves. On its banks Kuru, the common ancestor of the Kauravas and Pandavas, sat in ascetic abstraction ; here Parasu-Rama slew the Kshatriyas, and here Pururavas having lost the nymph Urvasi, at length met his celestial bride at Kurukshetra "sporting with four other nymphs of heaven in a lake beautiful with lotuses." But the story of the horse-headed Dadhyanch, or Dadhicha, is perhaps even older than the legend of Pururavas, as it is alluded to in the Rigveda.[13] " With his bones Indra flew ninety times nine Vritras." The scholiast explains this by saying, that the thunderbolt of Indra was formed of the horse's head with which the Aswins had supplied the headless Dadhyanch, that he might* teach his science to them. According to the legend, Dadhyanch during his life- time had been the terror of the Asuras, who, after his death, multiplied and overspread the whole earth. Then "Indra inquiring what had become of him, and whether nothing of him had been left behind, was told that the horse's head was still in existence, but no one knew where. Search was made fer it, and it was found in the lake Sanyanavat on the skirts of Kurukshetra." I infer that this is only another name for the great tank of Kurukshetra, and consequently

[p.336]: that the sacred pool is at least as old as the Rigveda itself. I think it also probable that the Chakra-tirath, or spot where Visnu is said to have taken up his Chakra, or discus, to kill Bhishma, may have been the original spot where Indra slew the Vritras, and that the bones, which wore afterwards assigned to the Pandus, may have been those of the Vritras of the older legend. In support of this suggestion, I may mention that the Chakratirath is close to Asthipur or the "place of bones." In A.D. 634 these bones were shown to the Chinese pilgrim, Hwen Thsang, who records that they were of very large size.[14] All my inquiries for them were fruitless, but the site of Asthipur, or " Bone-town, is still pointed out in the plain lo the west of the city, near Aujas-ghat.

Lord Shiva and Thanesar

Dalip Singh Ahlawat writes:

महाभारत में शिवजी के 1008 नामों का उल्लेख मिलता है जो उसके गुण, कर्म, स्वभाव और इतिहास पर प्रकाश डालते हैं। प्राचीन प्रसिद्ध नाम स्थाण्वीश्वर (थानेसर) जो कुरुक्षेत्र के पास विद्यमान है, सम्भव है इसे शिवजी महाराज ने बसाया हो। वे स्वयं भी यहां निवास करते थे। कुरुकर्ता, कुरुवासी, कुरुभूत - ये नाम भी शिवजी के ही हैं। कुरुक्षेत्र व कुरुजांगल आदि के निर्माता होने से कुरुकर्त्ता, इस प्रदेश में निवास करने के कारण कुरुवासी और इस प्रदेश को सर्वथा उन्नत करने के कारण इसी में रम गये जिससे कुरुभूत नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुए। यह स्थाण्वीश्वर, कुरुप्रदेश व कुरुक्षेत्र का मुख्य नगर जाट सम्राट् महाराजा हर्षवर्धन तक इस प्रदेश की राजधानी रहा। [15]

Balyan Khap and Harshavardhana

Balyan (बाल्यान) Baliyan (बालियान) is gotra of Jats found in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It derives its name from Maharaja Bali, dauhitra of Prajapati Daksha. [16]Balyan is the name of Khap and the Gotra is "Raghuvanshi". It is found in Western Uttar Pradesh (mostly in and around District Muzaffarnagar), Haryana (in Jhajjar)and Rajasthan. Chaudhary Mahendra Singh Tikait was "Chaudhary" (Head) of the Baliyan khap who has passed away recentlydDrRajpalSingh 12:40, 11 January 2012 (EST)D. "Tikait" is the title conferred to the head of Baliyan Khap by Raja Harshavardhana, the Jat ruler of Thanesar, from 606 AD to 647 AD. Since that time, it is used by Chaudhary of the Khap as its surname.

खाप व्यवस्था और थानेसर

महाराजा हर्षवर्धन (थानेसर के राजा) ने अपनी बहन राज्यश्री को मालवा नरेश की कैद से छुड़ाने में खाप पंचायत की सहायता मांगी थी जिसके लिए खापों के चौधरियों ने मालवा पर चढाई करने के लिए हर्ष की और से युद्ध करने के लिए ३०००० मल्ल और १०००० वीर महिलाओं की सेना भेजी थी. खाप की सेना ने राज्यश्री को मुक्त कराकर ही दम लिया. [17]

महाराजा हर्षवर्धन ने सन ६४३ में जाट क्षत्रियों को एकजुट करने के लिए कन्नौज शहर में विशाल सम्मलेन कराया था वह सर्वखाप पंचायत ही थी जिसका नाम 'हरियाणा सर्वखाप पंचायत' रखा गया था चूँकि उन दिनों विशाल हरियाणा उत्तर में सतलज नदी तक, पूर्व में देहरादून, बरेली, मैनपुरी तथा तराई एरिया तक, दक्षिण में चम्बल नदी तक और पश्चिम में गंगानगर तक फैला हुआ था. सर्वखाप के चार केंद्र थानेसर, दिल्ली, रोहतक और कन्नौज बनाये गए थे. इस सर्वखाप पंचायत में करीब ३०० छोटी-बड़ी पालें, खाप और संगठन शामिल थे. पंचायत ने थानेसर सम्राट हर्षवर्धन का कनौज के राजा के रूप में राज्याभिषेक किया. सम्राट हर्ष ने वैदिक विधि विधान से सर्वखाप पंचायत का गठन किया. इससे पूर्व विभिन्न खापों के विभिन्न स्वरुप, संविधान और कार्य करने के तौर तरीके अलग-अलग थे. [18]

Notable persons


  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.54
  2. Jatland Thread on Thanesar
  3. The Ancient Geography of India/Central India, p.328-336
  4. See Map No, X.
  5. Julien'a ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 213.
  6. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 517.
  7. Chap. 83, v. 4.
  8. Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81, v.175
  9. Vana Parva, chap. 83, last verse.
  10. Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81, v.178
  11. Houngston's 'Institutes of Menu,' ii. 17.
  12. Reinaud, 'Momoire sur l'Inde/p. 287.
  13. Wilson's translation, i. 216.
  14. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 214.
  15. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter I (Page-12)
  16. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 p. 268
  17. डॉ ओमपाल सिंह तुगानिया : जाट समाज की प्रमुख व्यवस्थाएं , आगरा , 2004, पृ . 13
  18. डॉ ओमपाल सिंह तुगानिया : जाट समाज की प्रमुख व्यवस्थाएं , आगरा , 2004, पृ . 17

External Links

Thanesar at Wikipedia

Wikipedia - Battle of Thanesar

Thanesar - Haryana Tourism

Archaeological Museum, Thanesar

Thanesar City Population Census 2011

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