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EVENTS

 

SOLAR ECLIPSE

 

Surya Grahan Kurukshetra
Kurukshetra is revered all over India for its sanctity and rich cultural heritage. Amidst the halo of myths and realities it has allured attention since its earliest times as a famous place of pilgrimage and a centre of Vedic civilization and learning. However, Kurukshetra is popularly known as the battlefield of the epic Mahabharata... The founder of the land was king Kuru who practiced austere penance to make this land righteous that is why in the first verse of Gita, Kurukshetra prefixed with an epithet Dharmakshetra.

History remembers the event Mahabharata not for it mundane warfare but for its philosophical treatise i.e. Bhagavadgita, which was expounded here in this sacred land by Lord Krishna.

Kurukshetra is also known as the ‘tirtha par excellence’ according to the Mahabharata. The word tirtha means to float. It symbolises liberation of soul from the cycle of birth and death hence it is obvious the land ought to be associated with water and water bodies. This is evident from the age-old tradition of taking holy dip in the sacred tanks of Kurukshetra.

Millions of pilgrims and tourist throng to the city during the Solar Eclipse to have the privilege of having a dip in the sacred tanks i.e. Brahma Sarovar and Sannehit Sarovar. A holy dip in these tanks during the eclipse gives the merit of perfoming thousand Ashawamedha Yajnas. It is told that in the Sanhit Sarovar during this time all the sacred places & pilgrimages assemble there by and thus one directly gets the merits of all the sacred places at one particular place. Having taken the dip in the sacred tank the people visit to the temple and gives alms to the poor.

Since times immemorial, Kurukshetra has been the venue of the great purification ceremonies for Moksha (salvation) for pilgrims from the four corners of the country. The Matsya Purana and Padma purana, ancient Hindu texts tell us that if an individual take a holy dip in the sacred tanks of Kurukshetra on the occasion of a Solar Eclipse, he attains the merits of thousands of Ashwamedha Yazna. Primary amongst these important occasions is the Somavati Amavasya (held on the first day of the new moon falling on Monday) and on a Solar Eclipse (held on a new moon day as the moon comes between the sun and the earth, thereby causing the eclipse of the sun). The Brahma Sarovar and the Sannihit Sarovar are the focal points of the holy purification ceremonies.

The total eclipse of the Sun is the most spectacular event in all of Nature! It is really an unforgettable experience to witness this celestial wonder. As the dark shadow of Moon plunges into an eerie twilight we could see the mysterious and incredibly beautiful corona of the Sun.

For a few minutes during a total solar eclipse, when the disk of the moon slides precisely between our planet and the sun we glimpse the light and shadow. Unless light from the sun is blocked, the corona is usually too dim for us to see from earth. During an eclipse, we'll have a better view of the lower corona than even space telescopes can provide

The earliest reference to the Solar Eclipse at Kurukshetra is found in the Hindu ipic the Mahabharata where mention is made of pilgrims taking a holy dip at Kurukshetra during the Solar Eclipse. This also has a cross reference in the Van Parva and Udyog Parva of the Mahabharata. The Bhagwad Purana has an exclusive chapter on the visit of Lord Krishna to Kurukshetra on the occasion of the Solar Eclipse.

A scientific phenomenon as we know, solar eclipse is the partial or complete obscuration of the Sun because of the passage of moon in front of it. This eclipse occurs when moon comes between the Sun and the earth. In ancient times (of course,not going to Vedic period or earlier time) in the age of Puranas (5th-6th century A.D. this natural phenomenon was interpreted in another way. Rahu aned Ketu, the ascending and descending nodes, to the people, took over the sun and they caused ecipse in it. But Varahamihira and others had already rejected this belief and advocated the idea of moon and the the shadow of the earth that caused solar eclipse, which has opposed by Brhmagupta.

Krishna along with his family came from Dwaraka to participate in the fair of solar eclipse at Kurukshetra. People from all over India too assembled at the sacred place as also the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, Akrura, Vasudeva, Ugrasena and others. From Vrindavana the gopis also came to have sacred bathe in the tanks of Kurukshetra. Krishna was then a child when he left Vrindavana thus after a long time the gopis could see Krishna at Kurukshetra. Krishna and Balarama warmly embraced their parents. During the fair, there was an interesting dialogue between gopies and Krishna. They were also hugged by Rohini and Yashoda. Krishna told the gopies that he is the beginning and the end of the corporeal beings and he himself represents both inside and outside their bodies just as the five elements or panchbhutas such as ether, earth, water, fire and air, which are present in all created things. The created objects are pervaded by these elements but soul is untouched by the elements and is enshrined in the body for the enjoyment of worldly objects.

It is believed that the Mughal Emperor Akbar, accompanied by his court historian Abul Fazl, too visited Kurukshetra during the Solar Eclipse in 1567. Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama refers to the Eclipse in Kurukshetra and the Pilgrims bathing in the Brahma Sarovar. The French traveler Francios Bernier of the Mughal Emperor Shahjehan’s era also mentions the sacred baths at the Indus, Ganges and the sacred tanks of Thaneshwar (Kurukshetra) on the occasion of the Solar Eclipse.



KURUKSHETRA UTSAV - GEETA JAYATI SAMAROH

 


Kurukshetra has a special privilege of celebrating a unique festival to commemorate the birth anniversary of the song celestial the Bhagavadgita christened as Kurukshetra Utsav Gita Jayanti Samaroha The festival is celebrated at Kurukshetra for its association with Bhagavadgita that was born here at the out set of the battle of Mahabharata, on the 11 th day of the bright moon fortnight (Shukla Ekadasi) in the month of Margshirsh (November-December according to lunar calendar). This was the eternal words delivered by Lord Krishna to awaken Arjuna while the later expressed his reluctance to fight the battle against his kin and teachers. The event is also celebrated elsewhere in India as Moksha Ekadasi.

Kurukshetra is popularly known as the battlefield of the epic Mahabharata, where the battle was fought between the two diametrically opposite and contradictory forces of good and evil. Eventually in this battle the forces of piety were rewarded and the evils got vanquished in the land of righteousness called Kurukshetra. Amidst the background of a righteous war was born a celestial song called Bhagavadgita that was expounded by Lord Krishna to dispel the worldly ignorance of Arjuna which enabled him to enter into the world of knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment.

The Bhagavadgita is the culmination of the perennial wisdom of living profoundly realistic and practicable in all times and climes. Coming down from the ideal man Sri Krishna it is addressed to the possible crises encountered by man and advocates a triune path toward individual as well as collective emancipation-material and spiritual, secular and sacred. While delivering the sermon Krishna revealed the cosmic form or the Viswarupa to Arjuna which is the manifestation of the cosmos.

Krishna, the embodiment of intellectual and spiritual glory has been a subject of adoration ever since the character was deified as a god. His versatile personality made him a deity. The process of deification of Krishna probably incepted from the time of Mahabharata. In the epic, Mahabharata Krishna has been described as both a man and a god. Whether Krishna was a god or a human being, is still an unraveled mystery. However, unfolding that mystery is virtually an enchanting experience as every time you untwine the fabric of Krishna, you discover a new dimension in it. The divinity and human aspect of the personality of Krishna as revealed by his character in the literature is unparalleled in the history of human civilisation. He has been a source of perennial inspiration to the art and literature. He is the most popular character in Indian myths and legends.

Kurukshetra is one of the most sacred places in India. It is also associated with Lord Krishna’s Bhagavadgita- the song celestial or the sermon delivered to Arjuna on the battlefield of Mahabharata.

According to the Bhagavadgita the Vishvarupa or the Viratrupa or the cosmic form is the manifestation of Krishna’s wisdom, glory, energy, strength, valor and effulgence. Arjuna, after hearing the detail account of the evolution and desolation of beings and also immortal glory from Lord Krishna in the Xth chapter asks him to reveal him the imperishable form which is called the Viratrupa which he describes in the XIth chapter of Gita.  In his ‘Viratrupa’ he manifests within himself the Adityas, the Vasus,  Rudras, Ashwanis, the Marutas and many other which Arjuna had never seen or heard before. In this cosmic form, the entire creation consisting of both animate and inanimate beings are amalgamated. This is God’s multifarious divine form of various colours and shapes.

Arjuna expresses that he is getting frightened on seeing Krishna’s ugrarupa (frightened form) and he trembles and feels unbearable to retain his mental tranquility. He also sees demi-gods surrounding and entering into the body of Krishna and is afraid of him. Planets are disturbed to see multifaceted faces, eyes, and terrible teeth. Interestingly Arjuna also sees that the son of Dhritarashtra, Bhishma, Karna and Drona and all the soldiers rushing into the mouths of Krishna their heads are smashed by fearful teeth just as myriad flow into the sea and the great worriers enter into the blazing mouths and perish.

The relevance of Gita Jayanti is to bring about a moral and cultural resurgence among the people. It becomes even more relevant today as we are living in challenging times. The song celestial Bhagavadgita has been immortalised over the years by its tangible and intangible heritage.

Since 1989, the Kurukshetra Development Board along with participation of the North Zone Cultural Centre, Public Relations & Cultural Affairs Deptt., Haryana and Haryana Tourism has been celebrating the event with gaiety and fervor.
One of the revered tanks here called Brahamsarover becomes centre of attraction of the festival during these days.

All eye lies in its island called Purshottampura Bagh to witness the cultural extravaganza performed by eminent Indian classical exponents singers and dancers as well as regional folk artists. The event also provides an opportunity to the craft man across the country to assemble at one platform to display their skill and acumen. This is also an opportunity for the people to witness the kaleidoscope of Indian arts and crafts. During the festival discourses and seminar on Gita are also organised. The children also get an opportunity to participate in various competitions pertaining to Gita and Indian culture.

In the year 2002 Craft Mela became a major attraction of Gita Jayanti celebration which lasted for five days and was appreciated widely. In craft mela the artisans and artist of national level were invited to showcase their artistic skills and pursuits at the exhibition. Taking into consideration of the popularity of the Craft Mela its duration from year 2003 was raised for ten days. Gita Jayanti celebration was celebrated in 2002 for five days. After 2003 it was celebrated for ten days.


SHIVRATRI

Shivratri is the night consecrated to Lord Shiva, one of the Gods of the Hindu Trinity. The festival has the special significance of being one of the four Maharatris. Legenda has it, that one who stay awake the entire night deep in meditation of Lord Shiva is granted moksha or redemption from life. To be here one this day at the Sthaneswara Mahadev Mandir is said to be a very speical blessing. The festival falls in February every year.

KURUKSHETRA FAIR

 

is the event held whenever the solar eclipse occurs. This results in the arrival of lakhs of pilgrims. Legenda has it that on every amavas (moonless night) and during every eclipse waters of all tirthas assemble in the Sannihit tank. By performing ‘Shrad’ (prayer for ancestors) and taking a holy dip in the Brahma Sarover on these days, one acquires the fruit of ashvamedha yajnas.

Somwati Amavasya: This is another speical festival held in the town. Everytime when Amavasya falls on monday a festival is held at the holy water tanks of Brahma Sarover and Sannihit sarover, when thousands of pilgrims throng for a bath in the waters of the tanks.

 

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