Haryana – The Magical Confluence of Lore and Myths
Haryana means the abode of ‘Hari’ – one of Lord Krishna’s names – in Sanskrit. It is a magical confluence of lore and myths. Its fertile landscape has seen the rise and fall of the Indus Valley civilization. It was also the grand witness to the heroic battles at Panipat that laid the foundation for the rule of one of the most influential dynasties that have reigned over the Indian subcontinent – the Mughals. Much earlier, it finds mention as ‘Kurukshetra’ – the land where two powerful armies of siblings fought each other and one warrior found redemption through knowledge of good and evil from the Lord himself through the Bhagwad Gita.
A tour of Haryana is enriching to the eyes as also fulfilling to the soul. Options available to the tourists are immense. From adventure to pilgrimage, or on-the-road to grand heritage, there are experiences waiting to be savoured.
Haryana is close to New Delhi, the capital of India which is well-connected by air, road and rail to other parts of the country and abroad. International guests can expect smooth overland connectivity through the modern and safe highways from Delhi. In fact, several places in Haryana are popular weekend picnic options for Delhi residents (See Also: Ten Reasons that Will Make You Fall in Love with Delhi).
Morni (or the peacock) Hills is a part of the Shivalik range. Its gently rolling topography forms the perfect setting for hiking and trekking for those looking for a rush of adrenaline. The lakes or tals, Morni and Tikar, enclosing the hills provide a breath-taking view and the camping experience on the lakeside is superb. The vast flora of indigenous and exotic species can tickle the botanist in us.
Another form of adventure is highway tourism that is gaining popularity of late. Haryana is virtually the gateway to India on the western front. No wonder that since ancient times, kings have built roads running through the state to other parts of the country. At present there are five highway trails on which the tourists can explore destinations like Pinjore, Fatehabad, Sirsa, Surajkund and Mansa Devi. On each trail, one can travel in a relaxed, ‘hop-on, hop-off’ fashion taking as much time to enjoy and explore the places. There are well-furnished accommodation and hotels so one need not worry while travelling with family.
Spirituality claims centre stage in Kurukshetra. It is the cradle of enduring philosophical thought which shows humanity to live a righteous life and find salvation. At Jyotisar, devotees worship with fervour the banyan tree under which Arjuna received the universal wisdom of Bhagwad Gita from Lord Krishna. Throngs of tourists arrive to ponder and find answers to the fundamental questions of life. Finding salvation in work, detachment from pleasure and pain and seeking emancipation of the soul are some of the lessons from the Gita. I would like to share a small thought on the Gita; why did Krishna choose to be Arjuna’s charioteer and why did he sermonize to the latter out of the five Pandava siblings? There are two reasons for this: Out of the five, Arjuna was the one that showed complete surrender to Krishna and two, only he had the most important trait of an ideal student: a questioning mind. There is the Bhishm Kund or the spring of Bhishma, created by Arjuna’s arrow to quench the patriarch’s thirst as he lay on the bed of thorns waiting to die. The sound and light show brilliantly narrates the great Indian epic. Other important temples are the Bhadrakali Temple, Maheswara Temple and Brahm Kund.
Pinjore is home to the Maharaja Yadavindra Gardens. It consists of seven levels of gardens with walkways and view points built in traditional Mughal architecture with the Sheesh Mahal being the crowning glory. Its panoramic view is captivating from every level.
The Surajkund International Crafts Festival during the first fortnight of February every year attracts nearly a million visitors, many from around the world. It is popular as the finest showcase of Indian folk arts, handicrafts, handlooms and cuisine. It has been growing exponentially with live performances and active participation from all states of India.
Leisure travellers can look forward to well-maintained golf courses at Panchkula while the eco-conscious can visit the Herbal Park and Bird sanctuary.
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Gurgaon and Faridabad are cosmopolitan cities that provide ample shopping opportunities in large, swanky malls and a vibrant night life.
A visit to Haryana will be cherished for the myriad experiences that it offers.