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Kushinagar

Location

Kushinagar is a district in Uttar Pradesh state in North India. Kushinagar is 227 kms from Varanasi, 53 kms from Gorakhpur and 34 kms from Deoria. Nearest airport is in Gorakhpur at a distance of 46 kms while Varanasi airport at a distance of 227 kms.

How to Reach

Kushinagar is well connected by road and has regular bus service from Gorakhpur and Deoria. From Varanasi you may reach Kushinagar by taxi.  If you are travelling by bus then take a bus from Varanasi to either Deoria or Gorakhpur and then another bus for Kushinagar. If you are travelling by train then you have to get down either at Deoria or Gorakhpur and then take a bus or a taxi to reach Kushinagar. Since there is no direct flight from Varanasi to Gorakhpur so one has to take flight via New Delhi.

Best Time to Visit

Anytime of the year but preferably from October to March to avoid hot summers.

Highlights

Kushinagar or Kushinara is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site and is known for its cultural heritage all over the world. Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death in Kushinagar. Kushinagar is one of the four sacred places for the Buddhists where Lord Buddha, founder of Buddhism had delivered his last sermon. It is believed that Buddhists especially from Asian Countries wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime. In past Kushinagar was known as Kushavati and finds reference in epic Ramayana as the city of Kusha, son of Lord Ram and famous king of Ayodhya. Kushavati was a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom of ancient India and later on it was known as Kushinara, presently the place is known as Kushinagar. It is said that near Hiranyavati River in Kushinagar, Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after falling ill after eating a meal made of a species of mushroom. The remains of the Parinirvana Stupa and Parinirvana Temple in Kushinagar were covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest when rediscovered in 19th century. "Buddha Relic Distribution Site" in 2012 and "Pampor Stupa" in 2013 were added as new pilgrim site in Kushinagar.

History

Many monuments in Kushinagar which are basically the ruined stupas and viharas date back to 3rd century BC to 5th century BC when prosperity was at its peak. Mauryan Emperor Ashoka is known to have contributed significantly in various constructions at this site. Prior to rediscovery of Kushinagar in 19th century, there was actually negligible activity for more than half a millennium and the reason was violent invasions due to which Kushinagar had lost its vitality and eventually was neglected. As declared by Lord Buddha, Kushinagar is one of the four pilgrimage sites for Buddhists while other three are Lumbini (Nepal), Bodhgaya (Bihar) and Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh).

Places of Interest in Kushinagar

Nirvana Stupa and Temple

This huge stupa made of bricks was excavated by Carlyl in 19th century. The stupa stands at a height of 2.74 meters. While excavating at this site a copper vessel was found which bore an inscription in ancient Brahmi and stated that Lord Buddha's ashes had been buried at this site. Finding of such important evidence made this place very important for Buddhist devotees. Huge reclining statue of Buddha in the temple is very attractive.

Wat Thai Temple

Wat Thai Temple is a unique temple with a huge complex built in typical Thai Buddhist architectural style.

Mahaparinirvana Temple

Mahaparinirvana Temple is renowned for 6.10 meter long statue of reclining Lord Buddha. This statue was exposed during excavation in year 1876. The statue is carved from Chunar sandstone and represents dying Lord Buddha reclining on his right side. As per the inscription found, the statue dates back to the fifth century.

Matha Kuar Shrine

Matha Kuar Shrine houses a stone statue of Lord Buddha in 'Bhumi Sparsha Mudra' (earth touching posture) under the 'Bodhi tree' which was excavated in this location. As per the inscription found, the statue dates back to 10th-11th century. There are also ruins of monastery unearthed close to Matha Kuar Shrine.

Ramabhar Stupa

Ramabhar Stupa is a large stupa with a height 15 meters (49 feet). The stupa indicates the site where Lord Buddha was cremated. Ramabhar Stupa is also referred as 'Mukut-Bandhan Chaitya' as per ancient Buddhist texts.

Chinese Temple

The main attraction of Chinese temple is a beautiful statue of Lord Buddha.

Japanese Temple

Japanese Temple houses a beautiful statue of Lord Buddha which was brought from Japan. This beautiful statue is made out of eight metals (Ashta Dhatu).

Buddha Museum

Maintained by the Government, Buddha Museum houses the findings from the site excavations at Kushinagar.
Buddha Museum Timings: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Monday.

Other places of interest in Kushinagar

  • Indo-Japanese-Sri Lankan Temples

  • Burmese Temple

  • Birla Hindu Buddha Temple

  • Korean Temple

  • Shiva Temple

  • Ram-Janki Temple

  • Meditation Park

Accommodation in Kushinagar

Pathik Niwas, run by Tourism department, Government of Uttar Pradesh.
Contact details:
        Assistant Tourist Office, Kushinagar.
        Phone: +91 5564 273045, 273046

There are various hotels in the vicinity along with Dharmashalas and other lodging facilities run by charitable trusts like International Guesthouse, Buddha Dharmashala and Nepalese Dharmashala.