Tirthakshetra (तीर्थक्षेत्रम्)

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The 14th Adhyaya of the 7th Skandha of the Bhagavata Purana mentions the various tirthakshetras while enumerating the importance of tirtha yatra in the life of a grhastha. It helps the householder attain moksha without difficulty.[1] The Punya Kshetras enumerated here are as follows:

All the places where the image of Hari or Saligrama is found (or wherever the worship of Lord Hari is being done) that place is the abode of blessings; and the regions through which rivers like the Ganga and others celebrated in Puranas flow. (29)

And lakes like Pushkara and others are situated; and places inhabited by venerable sages and spots known as Kurukshetra, Gaya, Prayaga (the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna) the hermitage of Pulaha known as Shalagrama kshetra. (30)

Forest like Naimisha (modern Nimsar) Kanyatirtha (Cape Comerin), the holy bridge built by Rama at Rameshvara, Prabhasa and Dvaraka, Varanasi, Mathura, the lake Pampa and Bindusara where stood the hermitage of Kardama the father of Kapila. (31)

The hermitage of Narayana (Badarikashrama), the Alakananda, Chitrakuta where stood the hermitage of Rama and Sita and such other places; all principal mountain ranges such as Mahendra (Eastern ghats), Malaya (Western ghats) and others. (32)

It also mentions that one who is desirous of blessings, should constantly sojourn at these sacred-most spots where the murti or vigrahas of Hari are installed. For, the righteous duties performed here yield fruits thousand times more than what accrues at other places. (33)  

The Agamas state three requirements for a place of pilgrimage: Sthala, Tirtha, and Murti. Sthala refers to the place of the temple, Tīrtha is the temple tank, and Murti refers to the image of god (usually an murti or vigraha of a deity). (needs citation)

According to the Mahabharata, all places were sacred in the Krtayuga, Pushkara in the Sarasvati region was the most sacred in Treta yuga, Kurukshetra in Dvapara and Prayaga at the junction of Ganga and Yamuna in the Kaliyuga. This also marks the shift in focus of the Vedic people.[2]


  1. Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, The Bhagavata Purana (Part III), Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology (Volume 9), Edited by J.L.Shastri, New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, P.no.979-984.
  2. Subhash Kak (2000), Astonomy and its Role in Vedic Culture, Chapter 23 in Science and Civilization in India, Vol.1, The Dawn of Indian Civilization, Part 1, edited by G. P. Pande, Delhi: ICPR/Munshiram Manoharlal, pp. 507-524.