If you are visiting Kurukshetra, the land where Mahabharata was fought and Lord Krishna preached his philosophy of ‘Karma’ as enshrined in the holy Bhagwad Gita to Arjuna, don’t expect to see the battlefield where the epic battle between Kauravas and Pandavs was fought.
The battlefield is a populated area now but a large number of holy places, temples and sacred water tanks connected with the religious events or rituals, Mahabharata war and Kurus are there to take visitors to the mystical stories of the era when this holy land got its name as ‘Dharamkshetra’ — the region of the righteousness.
In the circuit of 48 kos (an Indian unit to measure distance between 1.5 and 3 miles), the state government has identified as many as 194 Mahabharata-related sites which fall in Kurukshetra and adjoining districts of Karnal, Panipat, Jind and Kaithal.
Kurukshetra Development Board (KDB) member Rajender Joshi said International Gita Mahotsava 2017, which was inaugurated by the President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday, is playing a big role in attracting tourists to the holy land.
“But the first thing people ask after coming to Kurukshetra is ‘where is the battlefield where Mahabharata was fought?”. The answer is it’s with the farmers and the land owners. And most of it is a populated area now. So, the battlefield of the folklores is not there to be seen. Therefore, we want to disseminate this information so that nobody misguides tourists in the name of battlefield and show some other site which has nothing to do with Mahabharata,” Joshi told The Statesman.
He said apart from identifying 194 places of pilgrimages and making them free from encroachment, the KDB is making efforts for beatification of the city and publication of Gita in simple language and at affordable prices to the people.“We are trying to make sure Gita becomes available at a price of around Rs. 80 to Rs. 90.
Kurukshetra is having a number of Gita research centres which continue to hold discussions with scholars on various aspects of the holy book and debate the same.
Besides the scores of temples and ponds, there is Jyotisar where Lord Krishna preached Bhagwad-Gita to Arjuna and Brahma Sarovar where Lord Brahma is believed to have performed yagya. It is believed that all the holy waters of all sacred rivers flow or converge into Kurukshetra’s Sannehit Sarovar, at the time of Somavati Amavasya and Solar eclipse.
It is believed that those who visit this area, reside here, take bath in the holy water tanks, or die in Kurukshetra go to heaven after death. The Mahabharata states that one who dies at Kurukshetra attains salvation after death.