Kushinagar is the place of Mahaparinirvana, located next to Kasia, a rural town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 52 km from Gorakhpur, in Northern India.
It was here, near the Hiranyavati River, that Lord Buddha attained Parinirvana (passed away), and was cremated. Many of the ruined stupas and viharas at Kushinagar date back to the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD when prosperity was at its peak. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka have contributed significantly to construction at this site.
Prior to its rediscovery in the nineteenth century, there was a silence of more than 500 years at Kasia. Due possibily to violent invasions, Kushinagar lost its vitality and eventually was neglected. The notable Buddhist Temple, when rediscovered, was covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest.
Excavations began in the late 1800s and many important remnants of the main site such as the Matha Kuar and Ramabhar stupa were unveiled.
Buddhist temples have been constructed on the site by Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Japanese Buddhists alongside the ruins of ancient monasteries and stupas.
Temples and sights at Kushinagar:
- Nirvana (Mahaparinirvana) Buddhist Temple with the more than 6m long statue of reclining Buddha. The statue represents the dying Lord Buddha reclining on his right side. It is dated to the fifth century AD.
- The Nirvana Stupa, where Lord Buddha’s remains were deposited, is located in the east of the main Nirvana Temple.
- Mathakuar Shrine is about 400m from the Parinirvana stupa. A black stone image of Lord Buddha in the Bhumi Sparsha Mudra Mudra (a posture showing him touching the earth) was recovered here. The last sermon by Lord Buddha was given here.
- Kushinagar Museum. The Buddha Museum contains finds from excavations at the site. Times: Weekdays 10:30 am. to 4:30 pm. Weekly off: Monday.
- Ramabhar Stupa is 1 km away. This large stupa rises to a height of 16m. It marks the site where the Lord Buddha was cremated. In ancient Buddhist texts this stupa has been referred to as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar (the cremation stupa).
- The beautiful Wat Thai Temple was designed to serve as a forest monastery. It has a rich variety of flowers, orchids and trees.
- Meditation Park, near the main Nirvana Temple.
How to get there
The nearest airport and train station is Gorakhpur, about 50km away. The railway is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin and Barauni.
One can also travel to Kushinagar by road on Highway 28 and it is 173km from Lumbini and 266km from Sarnath.