KHUSHINAGAR FACTS & FIGURES Mahaparinirvana
Location: Uttar Pradesh, India
Best time to Visit: October to April
Significance: A Buddhist Site, Famous for the Mahaparinirvana (death) of Lord Buddha.
Kushinagar is another Buddhist destination, worth a sincere admiration, due to the serenity, rich history, and the splendid structures of Buddhist root. .Kushinagara was a small town in the days of the Buddha. But it became famous when the Buddha died here, on his way from Rajgir to Sravasti. In 543 BC, on a full moon night of Magh the legend delivered lecture to his Sangha and declared that he is going to leave the mortal world soon enough. His last memorable words were, “All composite things decay. Strive diligently!” This event is known as the ‘Final Blowing-Out’ (Parinirvana) in Buddhist parlance. Since then the place has become a celebrated pilgrim centre. It was the capital of the kingdom of the Mallas, one of the 16 Janapadas (see Sravasti).
The excavations led by general Cunningham has revealed some antique artifacts and structures related to all sects of Buddhism. Kushinagar also expresses the common thread of all sects of Buddhism through its magnificent Viharas, Chaityas, temples and Tibetan monasteries.
Kushinagar is also known as Kasia or Kusinara. The founder of Buddhism, Lord Buddha passed away at this place near the Hiranyavati River and was cremated at the Ramabhar stupa. It was once a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka added grandeur to this place by getting the magnificent statue of Buddha carved on a single piece of red sandstone.
With the decline of Buddhism, however, Kushinagar lost its importance and suffered much neglect. It was only in the last century that Lord Alexander Cunningham excavated many important remnants of the main site such as the Matha Kua and Ramabhar stupa.
Pilgrim/Tourist Attractions in Nalanda
The Muktabandhana Stupa was built by the Mallas just after the Buddha’s death. It is built over the sacred relics of the Buddha himself. The Stupa is also known as Ramabhar Stupa and is 50 ft tall. It is believed that the Stupa was built on the spot where the Buddha was cremated.
Wat Thai temple
The unique temple, built to celebrate the victory of King Bhumibol’s great accession of the throne, and the subsequent Golden Jubilee, is worth a watch, especially because of the innumerable trees that were planted here.
Besides, there’s the Chinese temple, the Meditation Park and an International Buddha trust, and the Birla temple to add charm to roaming around in the city.
About 1 km away, this large stupa rises to a height of 49 ft. It marks the site where the Lord Buddha was cremated. In ancient Buddhist texts this stupa has been referred to as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar
This houses the over 6 mtrs long statue of reclining Buddha. The image was unearthed during the excavations of 1876. Carved from Chunar sandstone, the statue represents the dying Buddha reclining on his right side. An inscription below dates the statue to the fifth century AD.
This shrine lies about 400 yards from the Parinirvana stupa. A black stone image of the Buddha in the bhumi sparsha mudra was recovered here. The last sermon by Lord Buddha was given here.
The Buddha Museum contains finds from excavations at the site. Timings : 10:30 am. to 4:30 pm. Weekly off: Monday
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
Buddha Poornima is the most important festival celebrated in April/May. Thousands of people come to Kushinagar to celebrate the three most important stages of Buddha’s life-birth, enlightenment, and death.
How to Reach Khushinagar
- Air : The nearest airhead is located at Varanasi from where one can take flights to Delhi, Calcutta, Lucknow, and Patna.
- Rail :The nearest railway station, a convenient one, is Gorakhpur, which is linked to important railway stations.
- Road : Kushinagar is well connected to other parts of the state of Uttar Pradesh by bus.