Day 426 | 12 March 2016 | From Pratapgarh to Neelkanthi Krishnadham Guest house | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Reception at Saraswati nadi Darshan sthal - start of the walk of the day
    1.Reception-at-Saraswati-Nadi-Darshan-Sthal,-start-of-walk-for-the-day,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Reception at Pratapgarh
    2.Reception-at-Pratapgarh,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • 3.The-smile-of-a-young-hardworking-Mom!,-Pipli-Chowk,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Reception at Mohan Nagar
    4.Reception-at-Mohan-Nagar,-Kurukshetra
  • WOH Day 426 - Pratapgarh to Neelkanthi Yatrinivas
    5.WOH-Day-426,-Pratapgarh-to-Neelkanthi-Yatrinivas,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Inside the Gurudwara Sahib Patshahi - Kurukshetra
    6.Inside-the-Gurudwara-Sahib-Patshahi,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Sadhus of all hues - Suryanarayana Mandir
    7.Sadhus-of-all-hues,-Suryanarayan-Mandir,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Inside the Bhadrakali Mandir - Kurukshetra
    8.Inside-the-Bhadrakali-Mandir,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Around the chowk named after the hero of Kurukshetra - Arjun Chowk
    9.Rounding-the-Chowk-named-after-the-Hero-of-Kurukshetra,-Arjun-Chowk,-Haryana
  • Reception near Brahmasarovar
    10.Reception-near-Brahmasarovar,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Inside the Katyayani Mandir - Brahmasarovar
    11.Inside-the-Katyayani-Mandir,-Brahmasarovar,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • The Gita in stone - Brahmasarovar Kurukshetra
    12.The-Bhagavad-Gita-in-stone,-Brahmasarovar,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Aarati under azure skies - Brahmasarovar
    13.Arati-at-the-Brahmasarovar-under-azure-skies,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
  • Brahmasarovar - one of the biggest man-made ponds in India- evening Aarati - Kurukshetra
    14.Brahmasarovar,-one-of-the-biggest-man-made-ponds-in-India-during-the-evening-Arati,-Kurukshetra,-Haryana
The walkers got a feel of the holy city of Kurukshetra today. It predates the Mahabharata war. The place derives its name from King Kuru, the predecessor of the Pandavas and Kauravas. It has seen the rise and fall of many an empire over the centuries. In the 7th century, under Harsha Vardhana, it reached its pinnacle of glory and Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese traveller wrote of Kurukshetra thus: "in that country of gaiety and plenty, the people were good natured, hospitable and magnanimous, devoted to their duties and shunning confusion of castes and cadres". Variously called Sthanivishvara and Thanesar, it was described as a magnificent city by poet Banabhatta who was the court poet of Harsha Vardhana. But, after Harsha, this area did not enjoy peaceful development, though it continued as a holy land and place of worship.

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The walk today started at the Saraswati Nadi Darshan Sthal where efforts are on to revive the now extinct river Saraswati. A magnificent Yaksha Statue overlooks this area. Though all were briefed about met reports predicting rain, it caught the yatris (travelers) in tangles as many had shipped back their winter/rain wear. The visit to the Gurudwara Sahib Patshahi was solemn and elevating. The yatris also visited a Bhadrakali Mandir. Sri Krishna's 'mundan' ceremony is supposed to have taken place here. The Pandavas are also supposed to have worshipped here before the war. The evening program was the Arati at Brahmasarovar. This is an ancient man-made tank, which is the biggest of its kind in India, measuring 3860x1860 ft. Many thought that the gathering storm would blow away the Arati but it relented, allowing enough time for the young Brahmacharis to finish the rituals. This tank assumes special significance, as a dip in it on days of solar eclipse is considered very auspicious. The tank has been very well maintained with provision for lakhs of pilgrims to have their holy dip on auspicious days. The yatris also had an interesting, impromptu stop at the Gorakhnath Mandir, quite close to the Brahmasarovar. The Nath Sadhu, in charge of the temple, performed a special Arati and treated all to tea and biscuits, conversing with Sri M and others with warm affection. He offered to serve them dinner and also to host everyone in the temple premises! Sri M thanked him profusely, promising to visit again at the earliest possible opportunity. The padayatris (travelers on foot) then walked back to their comfortable place of stay, the Neelkanthi Krishnadham, guest house of Haryana Tourism.

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