Brahma Sarovar tank is a sacred waterbody in Thanesar. As per mythology, Kurukshetra was created by Lord Brahma ensuing a huge yagna. There is also a statue of Lord Shiva in the sarovar which can be reached via a bridge. The tank stands spectacular during Gita Jayanti in the end of November and the beginning of December with deep daan (floating lamps in water) & aarti taking place. A dip in this tank is said to bestow the fruits of performing the Ashvamedha Yajna.
The tank, which now stands renovated, is 1800 feet long and 1400 feet broad. It is especially crowded during the solar eclipse and during Gita Jayanti. Along with the Gita Jayanti, the end of November and the beginning of December sees the arrival of some migratory birds from far off at the sarovar.
Sannihit Sarovar is supposed to be the confluence of the the seven holy rivers. The word sannihit means to collect. True to its meaning, the Sannihit Sarovar is believed to collect water from all the sacred rivers and tiraths, especially the seven holy rivers on the occasion of solar eclipse and Amavasya. The scriptures say that a bath in Sannihit Sarovar on no moon days and on day of eclipses earns the merit of an Ashwamedha Yagna.
It is also believed that bath in the tank accompanied by prayers, donations and rituals, brings peace to the souls of the departed dear ones. Large crowd of Hindus, therefore, visit the sarovar to offer pind daan on behalf of their deceased ancestors and other loved ones. They are blessed by Lord Vishnu, who is believed to reside in the sarovar.
A number of shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses including Sri Hanuman, Lord Vishnu, Dhruv Bhagat, Goddess Durga, Lakshmi Narayan and many others are situated near the length and width of the sarovar. The sarovar is visited not only by the devout Hindus, but by Sikhs also. Kurukshetra has several gurdwaras which were built to commemorate the visits of the gurus.
Sri Krishna was the centre around whom the whole gamut of battle of Mahabharata evolved. He was the string-puller on whose fingertips all the characters of the epic of Mahabharata—its valiant heroes, heroines, saints and sages—danced. Saintly and invincible warriors, like Karna, Dronacharya and Bhisham Pitamah, were aware of this inevitable reality and yet couldn’t help dancing to his tunes or probably they danced willingly knowing this was the only path of their sadgatti or salvation. A museum dedicated to Sri Krishna was set-up by Kurukshetra Development Board in 1987. It was later shifted to the first block of the existing building.
It was inaugurated by the then president of India, R. Venkataraman. Two other blocks were added that house the Multimedia Mahabharata & Gita Gallery and were inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil in February, 2012. The museum disseminates the knowledge about Sri Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu, a master statesman, the ultimate philosopher, a true spiritual teacher and lover through a series of exhibits including artefacts, sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, mementos and many other objects.
Probably amongst the most venerated pilgrim centres of the world for Hindus, Jyotisar was the place where Lord Krishna delivered the divine knowledge of Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It was the starting point of the battle where conches announcing the war were blown.
It is believed that its location and importance was realised first of all by Adi Shankaracharya in the course of his journey to the Himalayas in the 9th century of the Christian calendar. The ruler of Kashmir built a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva as a mark of recognition of its religious significance in 1850 AD. The monarch of Darbhanga built a stone platform around the sacred banyan tree, which still stands as testimony to the origin of Gita.
The sculpture, of the chariot driven by horses with Shri Krishna standing on it facing east while delivering the sermon and Arjun crouching humbly on the ground with hands folded listening intently, was built by the Shankracharya of Kanchi Kama Koti Peeth in 1967 at Jyotisar. A light and sound show in Hindi and English is held every evening at Jyotisar.
The centre is located next to the Sri Krishna Museum. The ground floor features interactive science exhibits while on the first floor, a world-class panorama brings alive the Mahabharata War with scientific explanations.
Kalpana Chawla, the intrepid daughter of India, who made her country proud through her historic space journeys, was born in Karnal in Haryana. The government of Haryana set up the Kalpana Chawla Memorial Planetarium as a tribute to her memory post her death in the crash of the spacecraft she was travelling in. The planetarium provides a detailed account of her exploits as an astronaut.
The building boasts the ultra-modern, opto-mechanical and digital projectors and the latest surround sound systems used in fulldome planetarium presentations. The structure is topped by a 12-metre dome, which can accommodate 120 visitors seated in one direction. The centrally air conditioned and fully power-backed planetarium shows two programs named the Astronaut and Oasis in Space for the benefit of the general public but particularly the students.
A permanent gallery in the museum houses interactive exhibits on astronomy and organises shows named, A Walk-through Time, Day and Night, Your Weight on Various Planets, Seasons on Earth, World Time, Our Address in Universe, Our Solar System, Beyond Solar System, Astro Quiz and Zodiac Quiz. A special part of the gallery is dedicated to photographs and descriptions on the life and achievements of Dr Kalpana Chawla.
Kessel Mall is considered to be Kurukshetra's premier mall. It presents a good ambience and seems to pulsate with energy. The mall is spread across 1,00,000 square feet and is strategically located at the juncture of 3 major cities, Ambala, Karnal and Yamunanagar. Apart from Kurukshetra, it attracts shoppers from other cities and towns also.
The mall is spread across three floors—the first and second floor house luxury and retail brands while the third is dedicated to food and entertainment. There are three multiplexes in the mall. In fact, there are no other multiplexes in Kurukshetra and so these cinemas attract a huge crowd.
Government of Haryana has initiated several light and sound programs to highlight the importance of various pilgrim and tourist centres across Kurukshetra, such as Sri Krishna Museum and Jyotisar, the springhead of the immortal Gita Gyan propounded by Lord Krishna. It is believed that the spot was identified by Adi Shankaracharya in the course of his journey to the Himalayas where he was headed for meditation and austerities
The show is organised every evening at the main pilgrim centre of Jyotisar which also hosts the world-famous sculpture of the chariot driven by horses and Lord Krishna standing with his unique Sudarshan Chakra and delivering sermon to Arjuna with hands folded, crouching before him on the ground, intently listening overawed.
The hallmark sculpture, the emblem of the Bhagavad Gita, erected upon a raised platform was set-up by Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kama Koti Peetha in the year 1967. The light and sound show describing the gamut of the events in the epic of Mahabharata, the role and teachings of Sri Krishna is provided both in Hindi and English.
Bhishma Kund is in Narkatari, Thanesar. Sage Bhishma, also called Bhisham Pitamah, was the fatherly figure revered both by the Kauravas and Pandavas even though he was siding with the Kauravas in War of Mahabharata.
According to scriptures, he was blessed with a boon that granted him the power to remain alive as long as he wished to and die only when he liked. He was, therefore, an invincible warrior and obviously a cause of deep concern for the Pandavas, who were fighting a vain battle against him.
Not finding any cue about dealing with him, they went into the refuge of Lord Krishna, for his advice. The omniscient lord knew the secret of killing the indefatigable hero. He, therefore, counselled them to bring in Shikhandi, a eunuch, i.e., a combination of man and woman because Bhishm Pitamah would rather die than assault such a person.
Following the well-laid out plan, Arjuna stood behind Shikhandi and started shooting arrows at Bhisham Pitamah who threw away his armour and weapons and allowed himself to be fatally wounded on the tenth day of the war.
As Bhishm lay on a bed of arrows surrounded both by the Kauravas and Pandavs, he felt thirsty and asked for water. Arjun shot an arrow into the earth and stream of water gushed out to quench Pitamaha’s thirst.
The spot where this episode occurred lies in the modern day village of Naraktari in Kurukshetra district. There is a small temple here to commemorate the event. The stepwell now stands renovated.
Dharohar Haryana Museum is a centre of Haryanavi folk culture and heritage. The centre attracts visitors from the world over. Till date it has hosted more than 6 lakh visitors from countries, such as Germany, America, Australia, Norway, Russia, Chilli, Malaysia, Mauritius, Denmark, England, France and South Africa.
The centre showcases more than 3000 rare and antique artefacts. Apart from tourists, it also attracts researchers who come here to learn more about the local folk culture, heritage, literature, architecture, music, traditions, customs, archaeology, education, economics, history, political science and public administration.
Saraswati Forest Reserve, as the name suggests, is a large reserved forest area. The forest is rich in flora and fauna. It is home to a large number of birds including native and migratory. The reserve is a great place to relax and picnic away from the crowds and enjoy some peaceful moments in the company of nature.
Sheikh Chehli was a profoundly erudite scholar, a venerable Sufi saint and a spiritual teacher. Dara Shikoh, the scholar prince of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, was his disciple and an ardent admirer.
The mausoleum of Sheikh Chehli is built on the mounds on the outskirts of Kurukshetra. It is made of buff stone and the tomb in it is topped with a pear-shaped marble dome built on a circular drum. The cenotaph of the learned saint is located in the centre of a chamber and his grave is situated in the lower chamber.
The tomb of his wife is also located close by. It is made of sandstone and is embellished with floral designs. Its structure resembles the Taj Mahal of Agra. Both the buildings have been declared protected monuments by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Mahadev is another name of Lord Shiva. The Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple houses the lingam of Lord Shiva and is located in the sacred town of Thanesar in Kurukshetra. It was at this ancient shrine that the Pandavas prayed and received the boon for their victory over the Kauravas in the ensuing battle of Mahabharatha.
The town of Sthaneshwar was the capital of the kingdom of Emperor Harshavardhana. The temple is built on the regional style of architecture and is crowned with a dome. It is flanked by a tank whose water is believed to have medicinal properties.
According to legends, King Ban, who was suffering from leprosy, was cured by taking bath here. People of the surrounding areas flock to this temple to pray and take a bath in the tank to cure their diseases.
It is said that the great Brahmin warrior Lord Parshuram vanquished the Kshatriyas at this place. The sacred place was also visited by the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur and the Gurudwara Nauvi Patshahi has been built to commemorate the event.
The words nabbi and kamal in the title, meaning naval and lotus respectively, do not appear to have any logical reason for being juxtaposed with each other. But they make ample sense when considered in the context of the origin of Lord Brahma, the creator of the world. According to scriptures, Brahma was born out of a lotus growing out of the naval of Lord Vishnu.
Nabhi Kamal is the name of a temple that was built in Thanesar in Kurukshetra to commemorate this unique event of birth. The temple, therefore, houses the idols of the two gods under the same roof. Although not a big temple, it is still one of the few that are dedicated to the glorification of Lord Brahma.
Like most other ancient shrines in India, Nabhi Kamal Temple also has a holy tank at village Narkatari close by. As the legends say, the tank was filled with the water that gushed out by an arrow shot into the earth by Arjun to quench the thirst of Bhismpitamah while he was lying on the deathbed made of arrows.
Nabhi Kamal Temple is situated on Pehowa–Kurukshetra road approximately one and a half kilometres from Thanesar.
The Valmiki Ashram is a religious shrine dedicated to the memory of sage Valmiki, who penned the epic Ramayana. The whole building is in white—white cement and white marble—to symbolise peace. The gurus in the ashram preach the essence of the Ramayana.
Like other Valmiki asharams found in the rest of the country, this ashram, too, has a special flag, Nishan Sahib and the emblem—the bow and arrow depicting the disciples of Valmiki, Luv and Kush, who were the sons of Lord Rama. A daily aarti is also held here.