Sannihit Sarovar in Kurukshetra

      Sannihit Sarovar, like Brahma Sarovar, is a very important bathing tank in Kurukshetra, measuring about 500 metres by 150 metres. It is three kilometres from the central point of Kurukshetra town, on the way to Pehowa. It is believed to be the meeting point of the seven tributaries of the sacred river Saraswati. When I stepped out of my car, I saw very strange sight. At the entrance of the sarovar, the dates of solar eclipse for the next five years had been painted on the wall.

I thought, why have they written these dates? What is the significance?

      As if reading my thoughts, my guide Vikram informed me, "The belief here is similar to that of Brahma Sarovar. The devotees believe that taking a bath here at the time of a solar eclipse is equivalent to performing a thousand Ashvamedha sacrifices. It is also believed that all the Tirthas (holy rivers) assemble here on the Amavasya (new moon) day."

      I asked him thoughtfully, Any chance of having a solar eclipse in the next few hours? I don't mind having a bath if we have a solar eclipse soon."

      Vikram chuckled, "Saab! It is not so easy. You have to wait for years. You should visit Sannihit Sarovar during a solar eclipse. This sarovar will be swarming with thousands of people. Hundreds of people will be bathing at the same time so you will not be able to see even an inch of water."

      I reached the steps of the sarovar. I saw many people bathing. Near the steps of the sarovar, I saw a priest, along with a group of people, performing a puja. As I walked further, I saw similar scenes. I looked at Vikram. He explained, "Sannihit Sarovar is considered the most sacred place for performing Shraddha (prayers to the departed souls). People immerse the ashes of the cremated bodies and perform Shraddha, just as they do in the River Ganga at Varanasi."

      I asked him, Do the locals consider this place to be as holy as the Ganga?"

      He replied, "When people die in Punjab, Haryana, and adjacent areas, they find it difficult to go to Varanasi. They come to Sannihit Sarovar and perform the last rites. It is believed that if a dead person's last rites are performed here, his soul will automatically go to Vaikunta."

      I was left wondering if the process to go to Vaikunta, the Holy Abode of Lord Vishnu, was so simple!

      As I reached the edge of the sarovar, I took a turn to the left and walked towards the temples situated on one side of Sannihit Sarovar. The first one was a red temple, Sri Surya Narayan Temple. This temple had two idols of Lord Vishnu. I took the blessings of the Lord and walked to the right.

      I came to another temple, Sri Nilkantha Mahadev Temple. The blue idol has only the face of Lord Shiva, also known as Nilkantha (He whose throat turned blue because of the poison that He drank to protect the world).

      In front of this temple, I saw a Shiva Temple and a Santoshi Mata temple. I retraced our steps and walked towards the road. At the corner, to my left, I saw another temple, painted bright red. This was the Dhruva Narayan Temple. It had idols of Dhruva and his master Lord Narayan. Both these were made of pure white marble.

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