Bike Trip to The Land of Bhagvad Gita & Places to Visit In Kurukshetra
Last year in the month of October I got a chance to visit the City of Kurukshetra for some NGO related work. It was three day plan where our group had to interact with the local farmers and educate them about organic farming and uses of organic pesticides. Knowing the importance of Kurukshetra in Hinduism and History of India I extended my plan from three days to four so that I can visit all the historical places situated in Kurukshetra. I searched google to get a better idea of places to visit in Kurukshetra, but most of the search results displayed places which were not so important or they listed so many places that it was difficult for a non-resident of the city to cover them. Therefore after completing my Kurukshetra trip, I decided to share my travelling experience with my readers so that in future if they plan to visit the city of Kurukshetra they can utilize their time and money efficiently and explore all the important places first and then go for historical/religious sites of lesser importance. Therefore in this article I would discuss my bike trip to Kurukshetra, importance of city of Kurukshetra in Hinduism, list of historical places to visit in Kurukshetra and what are the other important places to visit in Kurukshetra. I hope this article would serve as a better guide to all the visitors planning to visit Kurukshetra.
Importance of Kurukshetra in Hinduism and India
Kurukshetra is one of the oldest cities in India and its reference can be found in some of the oldest texts of Hinduism like Puranas and Mahabharata. Hindu text Vamana Purana mentions the nomenclature of Kurukshetra and described it as a complete region and not a place (as the word Kshetra means region). The city was also known as Dharmakshetra or Sthaneshwar (meaning Place of God). The main reason why Kurukshetra is important as the Battle of Mahabharata was fought here and it was in Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna preached Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Since Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita are most famous Hindu text read worldwide, Kurukshetra is important as it witnessed both these events.
How to Reach Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra is well connected by rail as well as by road and The Kurukshetra Railway Station is one of the important railway station in India. Since the city lies between New Delhi and Chandigarh therefore it is one of the most visited family destination on weekends. There are large number of hotels in the city and no prior booking is needed as in the case of most of the religious shrines across India. The city can be visited throughout the year and if the trip is properly planned then places to visit in Kurukshetra can be easily visited in a day and one can return on the same day.
Also Read: Motorcycle Trip to Badrinath Temple
My Bike Trip to Kurukshetra
As mentioned earlier it was a three day plan beginning from Friday till Sunday. Kurukshetra is only 170Km from the national capital of India i.e. New Delhi and 90Km from Chandigarh i.e. capital of states of Punjab and Haryana. National Highway 44 connects New Delhi to Kurukshetra and it is one of the best highway to drive. I began my journey at 8 A.M in the morning and after 40 minutes of drive through the jammed roads of Delhi reached Mukarba Chowk Flyover by 8:40 A.M. From here the road leads straight to Kurukshetra. After riding for further 15 minutes I took a break at one of the road side restaurants in Sonipat and after a breakfast break of 20 Minutes I was back on riding seat.
From Sonipat, Kurukshetra is only 124Km and after a ride of 1 hour and 30 minutes and crossing the city of Panipat and Karnal I reached the entrance gate of Kurukshetra city around 11:15 A.M. From the entrance gate you have to ride 5-7 Km more to reach the main city and once you are there, you are ready to explore one of the ancient city related to Hinduism and Bhagvad Gita.
Places to Visit in Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra has many historical and religious sites and since the history of Kurukshetra dates back to the Mahabharata time, most of the places to visit in Kurukshetra are related to Mahabharata War or the Bhagvad Gita. Apart from religious places to visit in Kurukshetra, the city has Wild Life Sanctuaries and Science Exhibition centers. Here I would list all the places to visit in Kurukshetra along with their importance and best time to visit these places.
Brahma Sarovar Kurukshetra: Brahma Sarovar is a large water tank situated in the middle of the city and it is approximately 1Km from the Kurukshetra University. The northern side of Brahma Sarovar has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called Sarveshwar Mahadev. There is also a huge statue of four horse chariot depicting Lord Krishna preaching Bhagvad Gita to Arjuna. According to locals, Lord Brahma created the entire universe from the land of Kurukshetra and all the life forms present on Earth originated from Brahma Sarovar. Brahma Sarovar was also mentioned by foreign traveller “AL-Beruni” and he mentioned Brahma Sarovar as “”Kitab-Ul-Hind”. On the occasion of Solar Eclipse and Gita Jayanti a large number of devotees come here to take bath in the Holy Pond as it is a common belief in Hinduism that bathing in the sacred water can wash away your sins and helps to attain Salvation i.e Moksha.
Jyotisar Sarovar (Lake) and Temple Kurukshetra: Jyotisar Sarovar is another important places to visit in Kurukshetra and it is approximately 7Km from Brahma Sarovar. It is believed that Lord Krishna preached Bhagvad Gita to Arjuna at this place to remove Arjuna’s reluctance to fight his own brothers in Mahabharata war. A Banyan Tree is situated nearby to temple and according to locals, the tree stands there since the time of Mahabharata and it is under this Banyan Tree, Lord Krishna showed his Virat Roop (Universal Form) to Arjuna. The Jyotisar Lake and Jyotisar temple are situated adjacent to each other and one can find a large number of devotees praying here.
Kalpana Chawla Planetarium Kurukshetra: The Kaplana Chawla Planetarium is situated in between Brahma Sarovar and Jyotisar Lake and at a distance of 4 Km from Brahma Sarovar. Kalpana Chawla was first woman of Indian origin in space when she flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in the year 1997. In the year 2003 she died during her second flight on Space Shuttle Columbia. Haryana Government honored the achievements of Kalpana Chawala by building a planetarium in her name. The Planetarium is situated on the roadside and the backyard of planetarium has a space park where various tools and instruments used in space flight are displayed. The park also depicts various ancient tools used by astronomers when modern tools were not invented.
Kalpana Chawla Planetarium hosts various quiz games and its walls are filled with portraits of great scientists who contributed in the field of Astronomy. There are many games for children like to calculate their weight on Moon and it also has a dummy spacesuit to understand the space life in better way. The planetarium also runs a 30 min show which cost 60 INR and this show provides information related to space flight and the challenges faced by astronauts like how they bath in space, what they eat and how they troubleshoot the issues related to engine failure or other faults. If your group includes children and especially below 10 years then Kalpana Chawla Planetarium is best places to visit in Kurukshetra.
Birla Mandir Kurukshetra: Birla Mandir is another place to visit in Kurukshetra and it is only 800m away from Brahma Sarovar. As compared to other religious building in Kurukshetra, Birla Mandir is relatively new and it was constructed in the year 1952 by Jugal Kishore Birla. The architecture of Birla Mandir is similar to that of other Birla Temples across India. The temple is constructed with white marble and the temple compound comprises a statue of chariot pulled by four horses similar to one in Bhrama Sarovar. The inside walls of the temple holds images of spiritual saints like Guru Gobind, Ved Vyas, Guru Nanak and Tulsi Das. Lord Krishna is prime deity of this temple.
Shri Krishna Museum Kurukshetra: One of the most important places to visit in Kurukshetra is Sri Krishna Museum. The Sri Krishna Museum is situated nearly 1Km from Brahma Sarovar. The museum hosts sculptures related to Mahabharata War and various artifacts excavated from the historical sites situated in and nearby Kurukshetra. The Museum also displays coins, epigraph describing historical stories related to Hinduism, various earthen materials like pot, toy, cooking utensils and weapons used in ancient time.
Sri Krishna Museum has one section specially dedicated to Lord Krishna and Mahabharata War. The gallery contains various statues depicting the important events of Mahabharata. The notable statues include the Birth of Lord Krishna, the Lakshagraha, Dice Game played by Pandavas and Kauravas, Exile of Pandavas and most notably the Mahabharata War. Photography is strictly prohibited in Sri Krishna Museum and CCTV cameras make sure you don’t break any rules.
Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre: The Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre is situated adjacent to Sri Krishna Museum and as the name suggests the center contains statues and images showing rich Indian history. It also hosts images and icons of Indian temples, Musical instruments, and scholars like Aryabhatta who contributed their work for India. The Panorama center also has one section specially dedicated to Mahabharata War and the war is displayed in panoramic manner. Photography is allowed in Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre and entry fees is 40 INR.
Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb Kurukshetra: Next place to visit in Kurukshetra after completing above places is Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple situated in Kuber Colony. En-route to Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple lies The Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb. Sheikh Chilli was a Sufi saint and the teacher of Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh (Brother of Aurangzeb). The compound has two tomb and other is believed to be of his wife. The both tomb were built in Mughal and Persian style of Architecture.
The compound also features a Madrasa and a mosque called Pather Masjid (Stone Mosque). Archaeological Survey of India runs a museum within the same complex and the museum displays archaeological findings like seals and sealings, terracotta figurines, plaques, ornaments and swords which belong to Kushana Dynasty (1st -3rd century CE), Gupta period (4th – 6th CE) and Vardhana Dynasty (6th -7th CE).
Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple Kurukshetra: The Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is just 600m away from Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb. The Sthaneshwar means “Abode of Shiva” and the temple is situated on the back of Jindal Park. According to popular belief the Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple was the place where Pandavs prayed to Lord Shiva to seek victory in the Mahabharata War. The temple compound also features a Gurudwara and according to Sikh history the ninth Guru of Sikkim i.e. Shri Tegh Bahadur stayed here during his life.
Shri Bhadrakali Temple Kurukshetra: Sri Bhadrakali Temple is one of the 52 Shakti Peetha situated in India where the corpse of Goddess Sati fell when Lord Shiva wandered across the whole universe with the corpse of his beloved Sati on his shoulder. It is believed that the right ankle of the goddess fell in Kurukshetra and at present a marble ankle has been placed here to recall the mythical incident. Bhadrakali Temple is situated in front of Jindal Park and the temple is just 1km away from Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple.
Wildlife Sanctuary Situated in Kurukshetra: There are two wildlife Sanctuaries situated in Kurukshetra for animal lovers, they are Crocodile Breeding Centre and Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary. The Wikipedia page mentions one more wildlife sanctuary but it is far away than the distance mentioned in wiki page. Out of these two wildlife sanctuaries I visited the Crocodile Breeding Centre as it was only 7Km from Jyotisar Lake. Saraswati Wildlife Sanctuary is nearly 40Km away and due to shortage of time I skipped it from my list. The breeding center has nearly 10-15 baby crocodiles and seeing baby crocodile was quite fun. The site is not well maintained but again if children are part of your group then this place can be visited.
These were the all-important places to visit in Kuruksherta and I personally visited all these places. I visited other temples and shrines mentioned in various travel websites. They were neither as attractive as places mentioned above nor they hold any significant historical prospective. One more reason why other temples and shrines situated in Kurukshetra were not attractive as they are not maintained properly. Anyways this was the end of my bike trip to Kurukshetra and I hope my post would help all the travellers who are planning to visit Kurukshetra.
To See More Images of My Visit To Kurukshetra Please Visit: Knowledge of India on Pinterest