Kurukshetra, Part Seven

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BY: SUN STAFF - 27.12 2018

The Battle of Kurukshetra 
Kashmir c. 1820

From "A Tour in the Punjab", a report by Alexander Cunningham, published in Calcutta (1882) for the Archaeological Survey of India.

The places of pilgrimage at Prithudaka are very numerous, but there are five which are esteemed more especially holy. These are named Madhusrava, Ghritasrava, Papantaka, Yayati, and Vrihaspati, all of which are described in the following list : —

Agnikund, where Agni performed tapasya. There are three different pools of this name.

The places of pilgrimage at Prithudaka are very numerous, but there are five which are esteemed more especially holy. These are named Madhusrava, Ghritasrava, Papantaka, Yayati, and Vrihaspati, all of which are described in the following list : —

Agnikund, where Agni performed tapasya. There are three different pools of this name.

Apsarodaya, or the "rising of the Apsara" nymph Urvasi. But the more general belief is that Urvasi was found by Pururuvas "sporting with four other nymphs of heaven in a lake beautiful with lotuses" at Thanesar. As the original authority, however, only names the wide field of "Kurukshetra," the pool of the Apsaras at Prithudaka has the better claim to be identified with the place of Urvasi's re-appearance. [1]

Arishtasrena or Arishtisena.

Aruna-Sangam, at the junction of the Aruna or Markanda with the Saraswati River, 3 miles to the north-east of Pehoa. This is one of the old places of Kurukshetra, the village being situated on a mound.

Ausanas, dedicated to the planet Venus, or Usanas, who performed tapasya on this spot.

Avakirna means "scattered or dispersed," but I have failed to learn anything about the shrine.

Bhargava, where the sage Bhrigu performed tapasya.

Brahma-yoni. — According to Wilson this is the name of a particular mountain, but this I believe to be incorrect, as the famous hill at Gaya, which is commonly so called, receives its name from the temple of Brahma-yoni on its summit.

Chandra-Samudra, or "Sea of the Moon."

Chauta-Samudra, or the "Fourth Sea." There are four pools called respectively the first, second, third, and fourth seas.

Devapi Tirath. — Devapi, the eldest son of Pratipa, a descendant of Parikshita, being leprous, was disqualified to reign, and therefore retired to the forest, where he led a holy life of such merit that he is supposed to be still alive at Kalapa. The Devapi Tirath should therefore be at Kalapa, but none of my informants have ever heard of such a place.

Dugdha-sravas, or the "milk-welling" pools, in which milk is said to spring up.

Dusra-Samudra, or the "Second Sea."

Ghrita-Sravas, or the "Ghi-welling" pool, in which ghi, or clarified butter, is said to spring up. This is one of the holiest places at Pehoa.

Kapah-Mochan, or the " Head-liberator," that is, from the sin of cutting off the four heads of Brahma. Siva was freed from this sin by bathing in this pool.

Kripavan, or Karpavan Tirath. — This place received its name from Aswathama, the son of Drona and Kripi, who was also called Karpavan after his mother Kripi, the daughter of the nymph Urvasi.

Madhu-sravas, or the "honey-welling pool." This is the most popular of all the holy places at Pehoa, and everybody accordingly bathes in it. As it is a stagnant pool, the stench rising from it in the hot weather is quite horrible. In 1876 a petty Raja was on his way to bathe in this holiest of pools at Prithudakah; unfortunately the pool was quite dry that year, but the officiating Brahmans, not wishing to lose the anticipated present from the Raja, began to fill the hollow with water drawn from a neighbouring well by a Charsa, or "leather bag;" but the Raja hearing of the trick of substituting common well water contaminated by leather for the holy water of the Saraswati pool, turned back indignantly and returned to his home, leaving the disappointed Brahmans to be punished by the laughter of the people.

Manushya Tirath.

Oshti-shena or Osktikhena Tirath.

Pahla-Samudra, or the "First Sea."

Papantaha, or the "Sin-ender." In this pool the Ganges is said to have bathed to cleanse herself from the load of sin which she had accumulated from the numerous bathers in her own waters. It is one of the holiest places at Pehoa.

Prithudaka or Pritheswara received its name from Prithu, the son of Raja Vena. At this spot Prithu sat for 12 days after his father's cremation, offering water to all comers. Hence the place was called Prithudaka, or "Prithu's pool," and the town which he afterwards built received the same name.

Rama Tirtha. — Here Rama performed tapasya.

Sindhu-dwipa, or the "Sindhu's isle."

Tisra-Samudra, or the "Third Sea."

Untak, Utnak, or Utank Tirath.

Vasishta prachin and Vasishta dwaha. — These two names are given in the list as those of separate shrines, but the only one that I could hear of was on the north bank of the Saraswati, a short distance above the Viswamitra mound, and upwards of a mile from Pehoa.

Viswamitra Tirath. — This is situated on the south bank of the Saraswati, on a mound rising 40 feet above the bed of the river. Here are the remains of a fine temple, of which only the stone doorway of the sanctum is now left standing. There is a mass of solid bricks, with numerous fragments of carved bricks. Over the doorway there is a male figure with two arms seated with hands in lap, and with a small elephant on each side anointing him. To his left were the Navagraha, or nine planets, and to the right the Ashta-Sakhi, or eight female energies of gods.

Vrihaspati, where the regent of the planet Jupiter performed tapasya.

Yaydti Tirath. — This shrine is in honour of the common ancestor of both Kauravas and Pandavas.

This is the last of the Prithudaka places of pilgrimage.

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Wilson's Vishnu Purana, p. 395