Kushinagar is an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre, where it is believed that Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after his death. According to the Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra, the Buddha made his journey to Kushinagar, passed away there, and this is where his last rites were performed. It is believed that during his last day he walked into the groves of trees near the place and rejoiced at the blossoms of sala trees before laying himself to rest.
The present Kushinagar is identified with Kusavati (in the pre-Buddha period) and Kushinara (in the post-Buddha period). Kushinara was the capital of Mallas which was one of the 16 mahajanpads of the 6th Century BCE. Since then, it remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta, Harsha, and Pala dynasties.
The modern day Kushinagar came into prominence in the 19th Century with archaeological excavations carried out by Alexander Cunningham (the first Archeological Surveyor of India) and later followed by C.L. Carlleyle, who exposed the main stupa and also discovered a 6.10 meters long statue of reclining Buddha in 1876.
Main Tourist Spots :
Mahaparinirvana Temple : Located in the ruins of various ancient monasteries which were founded during the 5th century AD, the temple is famous for its 6.10 meters long statue of Lord Buddha. According to the inscriptions in the ruins, the remains of Lord Buddha have been deposited here.
Kushinagar Museum : The site features the various archeological excavations that were found in Kushinagar. The museum houses various artifacts like statues, sculptures, seals, coins and banners and a wide variety of different antiquities. The Stucco idol of Lord Buddha built in a striking Gandhara Style is one of the major attractions of the museum.
Where to Stay: The Imperial Kushinagar Hotel, Buddha Marg, Kushinagar (Mobile : 9810204666); Rahi Pathik Niwas, Buddha Marg, Kushinagar (Phone : 05564-273045); Hotel Residence Paradise, Kasia-Padrauna Road, Sabzi Mandi Kasia Bazar; Hotel Yash International, Dumri, (Mobile : 9076577977)
How to reach :
By Air : The nearest airport to Kushinagar International Airport just 8 kms. away from Mahaparinirvan Temple.
By Rail : Just 51 kilometers from Kushinagar is Gorakhpur Railway Station.
By Road : Kushinagar is located on the National Highways 28 which connects the city with the other parts of the state. The city is connected to Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Patna, Jhansi and Gorakhpur and other places in Uttar Pradesh.
Best Time to Visit: October to March.