Kurukshetra enjoys a rich and colourful history. With the passage of time, its sacredness only seemed to grow and it was visited by Lord Buddha and numerous Sikh gurus all of whom have left an indelible imprint in its rich religious fabric. Today, Kurukshetra tourism stands for unparalleled pilgrimage tours not just for the Hindus but for the Buddhists and Sikhs as well. The town has a large number of devotional centres including holy shrines, temples, gurdwaras and kunds—some of which have their roots in the earliest ages of the Indian civilisation.
Kurukshetra was named after the King Kuru, who was from the Bahrata Dynasty and was the ancestor of Pandavas and Kauravas in Mahabharata. According to Vamana Purana, Thanesar or Kurukshetra was selected by King Kuru for incorporating eight virtues, which are brahmacharya, yajna, charity, purity, kindness, forgiveness, truth and austerity. Impressed by the work of King Kuru, Vishnu gave him two boons. One of the boons was that the land will be named after him as Kurukshetra and it forever will be called Holy Land. The second boon was that those who die here will go to heaven. Kurukshetra was also the land, which had two Vedic rivers, Drishadvati and Saraswati.
The land had many rulers from any dynasties and empires. This place was called Uttarvedi when King Kuru settled here. The place has also been called Dharamkshetra, Brahmavedi and Kurukshetra during different eras. According to another legend, this is the place where the universe was created by Brahma. According to the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, the 18-day long battle of Mahabharat was held in Kurukshetra and during this battle, Krishna recited Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. The place was at the height of its progress when King Harsha was the ruler. During this time Thanesar was visited by Hieun Tsang, the Chinese scholar. According to archaeological findings, Kurukshetra was made a learning center for people across the world by the Great King Ashoka.
History The history of Kurukshetra is related to the mythological tale of Mahabharata. This town is believed to have been named after King Kuru who belongs to the Bharata dynasty. The arrival of the Bharata dynasty can be seen in the Vamana Purana. It is said that the King Kuru opted for this land situated near the Saraswati river to strengthen spirituality with 8 virtues. They were Tapas (austerity), Satya (truth), Kshama (forgiveness), Daya (kindness), Sucha (purity), Dana (charity), Yagya and Brahmacharya.
It impressed Lord Vishnu and he blessed him with two benefits of having this land forever and naming it after him. Situated between the two rivers-Sarasvati and Drishadvati, this city was known as Uttaravedi, Bhrahmadevi and Dharamkshetra during various periods. King Ashoka and Harsha also ruled this city.