This book is the first comprehensive account of Pehowa, one of the oldest and most sacred place (tirtha), located on the banks of the illustrious Rigvedic river Sarasvati, in the Kurukshetra region. The modem name Pehowa is a corrupt form of the original Sanskrit name of the town, Prithudaka. Traditionally, it derives its name from Prithu, the first consecrated king of the world who introduced agriculture and sedentary life in the region for the first time.
It is believed that Yudhisthira performed the obsequies of all those who died in the great war of Mahabharata, here. The tradition of performing the funerary rites and obsequies continues at Pehowa through the ages and the most recent instance is the immersion of the ashes of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the Sarasvati at this place on May 28, 1991.
After giving the geographical and archaeological background and the historical survey of the region, the book presents an account of the different places of pilgrimage - tirthas, asramas, holy spots connected with sages and divinities, etc., at and near Pehowa, giving copious textual citations. For the first time a complete and comprehensive account of the antiquarian remains found from the place so far, has been presented. Sherds of Painted Grey Ware furnish corroborative evidence to the association of Pehowa with the Mahabharata. The terracottas found recently betray the existence of brick temples at Pehowa during the Gupta period. The two famous Pratihara inscriptions have been deciphered afresh making many improvements over the earlier readings and also identifying the places mentioned therein. Unfinished doorway in the Prachi Siva Temple also indicates that Pehowa was the centre of art at one time.
Pehowa has a great touristic potential. It is hoped that the book will encourage tourists, historians and pilgrims to come to this town and rediscover its cultural, historical and religious importance. The government of Haryana will do well to develop it as a tourist centre.