Haryana, the ‘Green Land,’ was formed by the reorganizing of Punjab and is one of the wealthiest states of India and It has a history of over 5000 years and is regarded as the birthplace of the Vedic civilization. It is also considered the place of origin of the legendary Bharata dynasty, responsible for giving the name ‘Bharat’ to India. The state has been immortalised by its close association with the epic Mahabharata (said to be composed in Sanskrit by the legendary sage, Veda Vyasa, on the banks of the Saraswati). Lord Krishna is supposed to have preached karma and dharma, though the Bhagwad Gita here.
The Purans (ancient texts) tell us how Lord Brahma created the universe from Kurukshetra, the site of the legendary battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Brahma is also supposed to have conceptualised the site of the Brahma Sarovar tank, giving it special sanctity. To bathe here on the days of an eclipse, amavasya (moonless night) or during the Kumbh is believed to absolve one of all sins. The legend of Shiva and Sati comes alive in the temples dedicated to the mother goddess one sees here. Legends also tell us that the Sannehit Sarover was formed with holy water that flowed from Brahma’s navel. Small wonder then that the state is studded with numerous pilgrimage centres.
Haryana has played an important role in the country’s history and was home to the crucial three battles of Panipat, regarded as the turning point in Indian history. In modern times, it has pioneered the concept of ‘highway tourism,’ making the best of the national highways that cross through it; by setting up tourist complexes. It also offers other types of tourism – farm, golf, pilgrim, heritage, village, eco, adventure and MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions). Twenty-one hubs have been created by the tourism department, well-equipped with modern infrastructure, facilities and services in the areas of commerce, communication, connectivity, hospitality, transportation, medical facilities etc. Similarly, over 400 tourist complexes are spread over the state; the resorts providing a wide range of facilities; including restaurants, bars, fast food centres, children’s parks, health clubs, conference halls and recreational facilities on lakes for boating, picnics etc.
The world-renowned Surakjund Crafts Fair is held each year, in February, and is one of the main tourist attractions. For the colorful, fun-loving ‘Hariyanvis,’ there is no dearth of fairs and festivals – such as the Baisakhi festival, Mango mela, Pinjore heritage fest and Gita Jayanti. The Union Territory of Chandigarh (which gets its name after the Chandi temple), that serves as state capital to both, Punjab and Haryana, was designed by Le Corbusier and is one of the best-planned modern Indian cities. While the city of Gurgaon has rapidly emerged as a major hub for IT and automobile industries, the state’s only hill resort, Morni Hills, lies in the foothills of the Shivalik ranges.
Finally, get a feel of rural Haryana. Take in the whiff of the countryside at Sohna, relax by camp fires, listening to the sounds of silence all around. The state also offers rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, hovercraft rides, white water rafting, camping and cycling. To sum up, visitors are lured by the lively folk dances & music, handicrafts & handlooms, fairs & festivals, cuisine; and above all, the hospitality of the simple, hard-working people of Haryana.
Places of interest: Brahma Sarovar, Surajkund designer village, Raja Nahar Singh’s palace, Sri Mata Mansa Devi temple, Kraft Bazar, Pinjore Gardens, Karna Lake, Bhima Devi, Tikkar Tal, Nature Life Centre ashram (Patti Kalyana), Urusvati Museum of Folklore, Srikrishna Museum, Gateway of Kurukshetra,
State capital: Chandigarh
By air: Connected
Road: Well-connected (Chandigrh is connected by NH 21 & 22)