Kushinagar, Kusinagar or Kusinara is a town and a Nagar Panchayat in the Kushinagar district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh located around NH-28, and is 52 km east of Gorakhpur city. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death. Outside India, it is an International Buddhist Pilgrimage Centre. The followers of Buddhism, especially from Asian Countries, wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime.
The present Kushinagar is identified with Kushawati( in pre-Buddha period ) and Kushinara (in Buddha period). Kushinara was the capital of Mallas which was one of the sixteen mahajanpads of the 6th Century B.C. Since then, it remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta and Harsha dynasties.
In medieval period, Kushinagar had passed under the suzerainty of Kultury Kings. Kushinara continued to be a living city till the 12th Century A.D. and was thereafter lost into oblivion. Padrauna is believed to be ruled over by a Rajput adventurer, Madan Singh in the 15th century A.D.
However, modern Kushinagar came into prominence in the 19th Century with archeological 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 A.D. Chandra Swami, a Burmeses Monk, came to India in 1903 and made “Mahaparinirvana Temple” into a living shrine.
After independence, Kushinagar remained the part of district Deoria. On 13 May 1994, it came into being as a new district of Uttar Pradesh.
The reclining Nirvana statue of the Buddha is inside the Parinirvana Stupa. Statue is 6.10 metres long and is made of monolith red – sand stone. It represents the “Dying Buddha” reclining on his right side with his face towards the west. It is placed on a large brick-pedestal with stone-posts at the corners.
Nirvana Chaitya (Main Stupa)
Nirvana Chaitya is located just behind the Main Parinirvana Temple. It was excavated by Carlleyle in the year 1876. During excavations, a copper-plate was found, which contained the text of the “Nidana-Sutra” which concluded the statement that plate had been deposited in the “Nirvana-Chaitya” by one Haribala, who also installed the great Nirvana Statue of Buddha in the temple front.
Ramabhar Stupa Ramabhar Stupa, also called a Mukutbandhan-Chaitya, is the cremation -place of Buddha. This Site is 1.5 km east of the main Nirvana Temple on the Kushinagar-Deoria road.
Matha Kuar Shrine A Colossal statue of Lord Buddha is installed, which is carved out of one block which represents Buddha seated under the “Bodhi Tree” in a pose known as ” Bhumi Sparsh Mudra ” (Earth touching attitude). The inscription at the base of statue is datable to the 10th or 11th Century A.D.
Other major places