Kaithal, a north central Haryana state in northwestern India
is said to have been founded by Yudhishthir, a Pandava king. Kaithal,
which later became a Muslim cultural centre, finds mention in the ancient
epic, Mahabharata too. The large bathing tank (reservoir) and tombs of
several saints dating from the 13th century AD are of historical interest.
The Emperor Akbar renovated this town and built a fort, and after the third battle of Panipat the region came under the rule of Bhai Desu Singh, a Sikh leader, whose palace has now been converted into a police station and overlooks the lake.
The town was once considered a stronghold of the Shaivites. Even today there are 108 Shiva temples in Kaithal. Kaithal is also associated with the first woman ruler of India, Razia Begum. An important town during Akbar's rule, it is located near the Bidkiar Lake.
Formerly, Kaithal was known as 'Kapisthala', or 'Abode of Monkeys', and is believed to be the birthplace of the monkey god 'Hanuman'. A temple in memory of Hanuman's mother, Anjani, is built here.
Varahmihira, a great astrologer of ancient India, in his book 'Brahma Samhita' too he mentioned Kaithal as 'Kapisthal'. In recent times, well-known historian Al-Beruni in his book 'Kitab-Ulhind' referred to Kaithal as 'Kavital'. It is believed that during the Vedic period, two great habitations, namely Manush and Elaspad, existed here. At present, these habitations are called 'Manash' and 'Shergarh'.
At present, the district of Kaithal is a flourishing agricultural town known for its cotton and rice.
Tomb of Razia Sultan: A fierce battle between Razia Sultan, the only daughter of Sultan of Delhi, Iltutmish and the rebel forces of Delhi, was fought here. She was reportedly murdered here on November 13, 1240, along with her husband, Ikhtyar Din Altumia. The ruins of Razia Begum's exist on the western periphery of the town. There is also a mosque near her tomb.
Gyarah Rudri Temple: The Gyarah Rudri Temple of Lord Shiva in the town is also famous for its architectural beauty. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna had constructed nine kunds to appease the 'navgrahas' of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata war. King Yudhishthir is believed to have prayed here with Lord Krishna.
Phelgu Tank: The Phelgu tank is a holy site built in honour of Rishi Phelgu who meditated here, and the Pundri tank dates back to the Mahabharata period.
Dargah of Baba Shah Kamal Kadri: The dargah of Baba Shah Kamal Kadri situated in Jawahar Park here is a symbol of Hindu-Sikh-Muslim unity. Baba Shah Kamal had come to this city about 425 years ago from Baghdad. On every Thursday, thousands of devotees pay obeisance to the Baba.
Brick Temples: A king called Shalivahana is believed to have ruled this area in the 7th century AD. He was cursed that he would die during the night, but luckily, he touched the earth where the temple now stands. The curse was revoked, and the king's happiness knew no boundaries. So he gave orders for five temples to be built, out of which only two stand now.
One of them must have originally stood on a terrace but is now half buried under a mound of earth. Both temples follow the Ajanta-Ellora pattern of a rock cut facade. Constructed from carved bricks, the highest point culminates in a 'shikara' (pinnacle) and is joined in a beehive manner.
A few temples are also scattered around, like the Saraswati temple, Kapil Muni temples and Baba Narayan Das temple. The tombs of Shah Wilayat, Sheik Shihabuddin, Shah Kamal and Bidkiyar Lake itself are worth a look.
How to Reach There
Rail: The district is connected by a well-developed rail network.
Road: Kaithal is well connected with the neighbouring cities by road.
Where To Stay
Koel Tourist Resort, a motel in Kaithal.
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