Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra

      Brahma Sarovar is in the heart of Kurukshetra town. It is also the best known landmark in city centre. Whenever I asked the locals for directions to any tourist place, they would guide me using Brahma Sarovar as the reference point. At the entrance was a huge parking lot. There were many shops on either side of the road, selling artifacts related to the Kurukshetra and Brahma Sarovar.

      There are many legends associated with the Brahma Sarovar. The most popular legend is that Lord Brahma created the entire cosmos from this sacred place. It is believed that if a person has a bath in this lake on Amavasya (the first night of new moon), or on a solar eclipse day, he will get blessings equivalent to those received by a thousand Ashvamedha sacrifices and it would bring him salvation from all sins. It is believed that Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra came all the way from Dwarka and bathed here during the solar eclipse. Most of the people from Brij Bhoomi, including Nanda, Yashoda, and Radha came here on this occasion. This would be the final meeting of Krishna and Radha.

      It is also believed that when Bhima killed Dushasana, he carried the latter's blood from the battlefield to this place and gave it to Draupadi to fulfill her oath of washing her hair with Dushasana's blood.

      As I passed through the main gate, I saw a huge lake which was the Brahma Sarovar. This was the biggest lake in Kurukshetra, measuring 1000 metres by 500 metres. The sarovar had concrete walls on all four sides to prevent miscreants from polluting the lake and its surroundings. This magnificent sarovar had many bathing ghats, named after famous personalities associated with Mahabharata. I noticed many devotees taking a holy dip in the sacred lake.

      I remarked to Vikram, This sarovar must be very sacred. I see hundreds of devotees bathing here.

      Vikram laughed out loud. I looked at him, surprised.

      Vikram saw the look on my face and said, Saab! This is nothing compared to what one sees during solar eclipse. Bathing in Brahma Sarovar on a solar eclipse day is equivalent to a thousand Ashvamedha sacrifices."

      I replied, "So devotees have been coming here for hundreds of years to have a bath during the solar eclipse?"

      Vikram said, "No sir! People have been visiting this sacred place for thousands of years, since the era of Lord Krishna! In fact, not only ordinary mortals but even Gods like Krishna. Balarama, and Subhadra visited this place. It was known as Samantapanchaka' during those days."

      I asked Vikram, Did they visit this sarovar during the battle at Kurukshetra?"

      Vikram replied, No, sir! They came here all the way from Dwarka to witness the solar eclipse. Nanda, Yashoda, and the gopis also came from Brij."

      I was surprised, So did Radha and Krishna finally meet, after years of separation?"

      I looked around and saw the sun shining brightly. There was no solar eclipse today. Had the sun forgotten the heart-rending incident? Maybe, 5000 years had lapsed since then!

      I decided to further explore this famous landmark. As I walked on the pathway in the middle, I noticed that it separated the lake into two. I took the path to the left which led me to a bridge. A walk of about 50 feet across this bridge took me to Sri Sarveshwar Mahadev'ji Temple. This temple was an island, in the middle of Brahma Sarovar. This beige-coloured temple had a beautiful courtyard with red stone floors and also had exquisite carvings on all the walls. The entrance to this temple was from the side, so when I entered, I found the sanctum sanctorum to my right. At the entrance, on the left, was an idol of Lord Hanuman. I walked further to reach the sanctum sanctorum, which had a Shiva Linga at the centre and idols of Shiva, Paravti, and Ganesha at the back. It is believed that this Shiva Linga was installed by none other than Lord Brahma Himself. I walked to my left and found a shrine of Sri Garud Narayan, which had a white marble idol of Lord Vishnu on His carrier, Garuda.

      After a visit to the Sri Sarveshwar Mahadev'ji Temple, I retraced my steps to the entrance of Brahma Sarovar. This time, I took the central pathway which led me to three more temples. On my left, I saw the Sri Katyayani Devi Temple. As the name suggested, this temple was dedicated to Goddess Katyayani Devi. It had a magnificent white idol of the Goddess.

      As I walked further, I saw a temple which was painted a fiery red. This has an idol of Lord Hanuman. Opposite this temple was an ancient building, known as Prachin Mandir Chandrakup. The altar had a black idol of Lord Krishna and to its left were 15 steps that led to a well below.

      It is believed that Draupadi drew water from this well and gave it to the thirsty Pandavas. Hence this place is also known as Pandava Draupadi (Kup means well).

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