Kuru was an ancient Indian kingdom during Mahabharata and Ramayana times. This kingdom was really large and powerful. The Kuru dynasty (the dynasty that ruled this kingdom) were a branch of the Puru dynasty. Its capital was Hastinapura.
Places and Territories in Kuru Kingdom
Kuru Kingdom was split into three parts: Kuru Proper, Kurujangala, and Kurukshetra. Kuru Proper was in the eastern part of the kingdom and Kurujangala and Kurukshetra were in the western part of the kingdom.
Kuru Proper was where most of the population of the kingdom lived. The Ganga river flowed through Kuru Proper. The capital of Kuru Proper was Hastinapura. Kuru Proper was split into many provinces, territories and regions.
Regions/Territories/Provinces in Kuru Proper:
- Vrukasthala Province: This was the southern-most province in Kuru Proper.
- Varana Region: This region was in the northern part of Kuru proper.
- City in Varana Region: Varnavrata
- Eastern Kalakuta Region: The Kalakuta region consisted entirely of the Kalakuta mountains. The eastern part of this region and the Kalakuta mountains were in the Kuru kingdom. A tribe called the Kalakutas lived here.
- Northern Rakshasa Territory: The king of this territory was Hidimba and then later Ghatotgacha. This territory was populated with many dense jungles.
- Vrukasthala Province: The southern-most province of Kuru Proper
- Cities in Vrukasthala Province: Vrikasthali, Salibhavana
Kurujangala was an area populated with jungles. The Yamuna river flowed through Kurujangala. This area was west of Kuru Proper and the dense jungles were inhabited by the Jangalas tribe. Originally, Kurujangala and Kuru Proper were both ruled by one king. But during Mahabharata, this land was given to the Pandavas and Dhitrastra ruled Kuru Proper. They established their capital called Indraprasta on this land.
Regions in Kurujangala:
- Rohitaka Region: Most of this region was populated with the Rohitaka forest.
- Khandavaprastha Region: This region was occupied by the Khandava forest. Takshaka Naga use to rule this region, but then Pandavas started ruling.
- Cities in Khandavaprastha Region: Indraprastha, Panaprastha, Swarnaprastha
Kurukshetra was occupied by vast plains. Kurukshetra was west of Kurujangala. The Saraswati, Oghavati, Apaga, Hiranwati and Drisadhwati rivers flow through these plains. The Kurukshetra battlefield was located on these plains. Many tirthas and auspicious places are located here, such as Sapta Saraswati and Manusha.
Known Villages and Towns
In Kuru Proper: Vrikasthali, Hastinapura, Vardhamana, Varnavrata, Praman Koti, Salibhavana, Avishthala
In Kurujangala: Indraprastha, Panaprastha, Swarnaprastha
To the east of Kuru kingdom was Panchala North and Panchala South. To the west were the kingdoms of Sairasaka and the large forests called Dwaita and Kamyaka. To the south was Matsya, Surasena, and Madhu forest. To the north was the Himalaya range and the kingdoms of Kulinda, Vatadhana and Trigarta and the the territories of the Kinnaras. To the northeast was the kingdom of Harataka [Yaksha territories]. To the northwest was Saraswata kingdom, the territory of the Matta Mayurakas and the Satadru river. To the southeast was the Makandi province (province in Panchala South) and Kanyakubja kingdom. To the southwest was Salwa kingdom.
Kurus in the Kurukshetra War
The Kurukshetra War was fought between two factions of the Kuru royal family: the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Pandava Kuru heroes included the 5 Pandavas, the Upapandavas, Abhimanyu etc. The Kaurava Kuru heroes included Duryodhana, his sons, Bhishma, Kripacharya etc. The Bahalika branch of the Kuru dynasty was on the side of the Kauravas.
After the Kurukshetra War
After the war, the Pandavas started to rule the entire Kuru kingdom. Their capital was Hastinapura. After most of the Yadavas died due to quarrel or the sinking of Dwarka, Arjuna brought the remaining Yadavas to Kuru kingdom. Vajra, the son of Krishna, became the king of Indraprasta and Mathura. Satyaki’s son ruled areas around the Saraswati river. After the Pandavas left Earth, Parikshita ruled Kuru. Yuyutsu was established as Parikshita’s royal advisor. After Parikshita’s death, his son Janamjeya ruled. Janamjeya’s descendents continued to rule the kingdom for a long time.
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