(Last Updated on : 06/03/2014)
The Kurus form one of the most ancient and prominent of Indo-Aryan Kastriya tribes. It is however in the Brahmana literature that the Kurus acquire the greatest prominence among the Kastriya tribes of India. In most of the historical records Kurus are seldom mentioned alone. They are always mentioned with the Panchalas. In fact in most places Kuru-Panchalas are referred to as a united land. The speech is said to have its particular home in the Kuru-Pancala land and the mode of sacrifice of Kuru-Panchalas is proclaimed to be the best.
The Puranic treatise Aitareya Brahmana speaks of the country of the Kuru-Panchalas as belonging to the "dhruva madhyama dik" which in later literature came to be known as Madhyadesa or middle country. Some of the records point out that territories occupied by the Kurus extended to the east far beyond the limits of Kurukshetra
. It is said that the Kurus must have occupied the northern portion of the Doab or the region between the Jumna and Ganges having North Panchalas as their neighbours in the east and on the south they had South Panchalas as their neighbour who held the rest of the Doab as far as the land of the Vatsas.
Manu's account says that the country of the Kurus and other allied people as forming the sacred land of the Brahmaris, ranking immediately after Brahmavarta. He has indirectly praised the prowess of the Kurus. The land of Kurus is called Dharmaksetra or the holy land. In other parts of the Mahabharata
has been mentioned as land which was especially holy. The Aranyak parva has said that Kurukshetra was the holy spot of the righteous Kurus.
The land of the Kurus have been considered all the more holy because that many divine and royal sages had performed many of the religious ceremonies in the holy land of Kurukshetra. The land of the Kurus has also been a great battle field of India.
Besides the Kurus of the Madhyadesa there has also been a reference of another Kurus namely the Uttara Kurus. The northern Kurus it is said were settled in Kashmir. About the Kuru kings it has been said that they enjoyed good health and their mind was always ready to receive instruction in profound religious truths because in the land of the Kurus the climate was bracing at all seasons and the food was always good there.
As far as the history of the tribe is concerned it can be said that the Kurus represent a comparatively a late wave of Aryan immigration into India. Various historical records say that the ancient capital of the Kurus was Hastinapur
which was situated on the Ganges. Indraprastha
was the second capital of the Kurus. Another city of the Kuru country according to the Prakrit legend was Iskura which was a wealthy and famous town beautiful like heaven.
About the Kurus it has been said that in the epic period the Kurus became the most powerful Kshatriya tribe in northern India after the downfall of the Magadha Empire. In the war of Kurukshetra the army of the Kurus were led by Bhishma and that of the Pandavas were led by Bhimsena. The battle at Kurukshetra
had lasted for a period of ten days and at the end of ten days both the armies had fallen.
In fact about the Kurus it can be said that Kurus have both history and legend associated with them. But the historicity of the battle of the Kurus can never be denied. Historical record says that the Kurus had played some part in Indian po