A country, one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas (D.ii.200; A.i.213 etc.). Frequent references to it are found in the Pāli Canon. It is said that Kuru was originally the name of the chieftains (rājakumārā) of the country and that their territory was later named after them. Buddhaghosa records a tradition (DA.ii.481f; MA.i.184 etc.) which states that, when Mandhātā returned to Jambudīpa from his sojourn in the four Mahādīpas and in the devalokas, there were in his retinue a large number of the people of Uttarakuru. They settled down in Jambudīpa, and their settlement was known as Kururattha. It had many towns and villages.
The country seems to have had very little political influence in the Buddha's time, though, in the past, Pañcāla, Kuru and Kekaka were evidently three of the most powerful kingdoms (See, e.g., J.ii.214). According to the Jātakas (E.g., J.v.57, 484; vi.255. Also Mtu.i.34; ii.419), the kingdom of Kuru was three hundred leagues in extent and its capital, Indapatta, seven leagues in circumference. The ruling dynasty at Indapatta belonged to the Yudhitthila-gotta (J.iii.400; iv.361).
Among the kings of the past, Dhanañjaya Koravya is mentioned several times (J.ii.366; iii.400; iv.450; vi.260 etc.) and reference is also made to a king called Koravya (J.iv.361; v.457) whose son was the Bodhisatta Sutasoma. During the Buddha's time, also, the chieftain of Kuru was called Koravya, and his discussion with the Elder Ratthapāla, who was himself the scion of a noble family of the Kurus, is recounted in the Ratthapāla Sutta (M.ii.65ff). Perhaps at one time the Kuru kingdom extended as far as Uttarapañcāla, for in the Somanassa Jātaka (J.iv.444), Uttarapañcāla is mentioned as a town in the Kururattha, with Renu as its king.
Koravya had a park called Migācīra where Ratthapāla took up his residence when he visited his parents (MA.ii.725).
The people of Kuru had a reputation for deep wisdom and good health, and this reputation is mentioned (MA.i.184f; AA.ii.820; they were also probably reputed to be virtuous; see the Kurudhamma Jātaka) as the reason for the Buddha having delivered some of his most profound discourses to the Kurus, for example, the Mahānidāna, and the Mahāsatipatthāna Suttas. Among other discourses delivered in the Kuru country are the Māgandiya Sutta, the Anañjasappāya Sutta, the Sammosa Sutta and the Ariyavasā Sutta. All these were preached at Kammāssadhamma, which is described as a nigama of the Kurūs, where the Buddha resided from time to time.
Another town of the Kurūs, which we find mentioned, is Thullakotthika, the birthplace of Ratthapāla, and here the Buddha stayed during a tour (M.ii.54; ThagA.ii.30). Udena's queen, Māgandiyā, came from Kuru (DhA.i.199), and Aggidatta, chaplain to the Kosala king, lived on the boundary between Kuru and Ariga and Magadha, honoured by the inhabitants of all three kingdoms (DhA.iii.242).
The Kuru country is generally identified as the district around Thānesar, with its capital Indapatta, near the modern Delhi (CAGI.379f).
See also Uttarakuru.