Located on the bank of the river Gandak, Kushinagar is a small town in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It comes under the Gorakhpur division and is at a distance of 53 km from Gorakhpur. Historically, it is believed to be a place of religious significance, and has witnessed religious activities of different sects of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Gautam Buddha attained Parinirvana here in 483 BC and thus this place is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
During the pre-Buddha period, Kushinagar was known as Kushawati. It was the capital city of Kush, who was the son of Lord Rama. During the Buddha period, Kushinagar was known as Kushinara which was the capital of Mallas, one of the sixteen Mahajanpads (Kingdoms) of 6th Century B.C. In the medieval period, Kushinagar was under the rule of Kultury Kings. Kushinara continued to be a living city till the 12th Century A.D. and was thereafter lost into oblivion. Today, it is a popular pilgrimage destination for Buddhists from different parts of the world.
Kushinagar is also associated with Jainism. It is believed that the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira attained Parinirvana in Pawa. Pawa was the second capital of Mallas, the first being the Kushingar. Pawa is identified with present day Fazilnagar, which is 16 km south-east of Kushinagar.
Kushinagar is connected to various important places of pilgrimage like Ayodhaya, Rajgir, Vaishali, Shrawasti, and the hermitage of Maharishi Valmiki by road.
Places of Spiritual Significance
The Mahaparinirvana Temple houses a 6.10 metres long statue of Lord Buddha in reclining posture. The statue is a depiction of Buddha lying on his bed before his demise. This statue was unearthed during excavations carried out by Archaeological Survey of India in 1903. Later on, it was consecrated by a Burmese monk. The statue is placed on a brick pedestal with stone posts around it. As per the inscriptions discovered, it is found to be dating back to 5th century A.D. The temple is surrounded by ruins of monasteries which witnessed the rise and fall of kingdoms in this region. Today, Mahaparinirvana Temple is one of the most revered places for believers and followers of Buddha and his teachings.
Nirvana Chaitya is located behind the Mahaparinirvana Temple. It was discovered during excavations by a British archaeologist in 1876. During the excavations, a copper plate was also found which had inscription on it of Nidana-Sutra. According to the inscription, the reclining statue of Buddha was installed by Mahavira Swami Haribala and it was he who had deposited this plate in the Nirvana Chaitya. During excavations, a vessel containing silver coins that had once belonged to the Gupta Dynasty of 5th century A.D. was discovered.
The Ramabhar Stupa is where Buddha was cremated. This stupa was built by Mallas. It is also called Mukutbandhan Chaitya. It is located at a distance of 1.5 km from the Mahaparinirvana Temple. It is in the shape of a circular drum with a diameter of approximately 35 metres at the top, and 47 metres at the base. Pilgrims and seekers sit here for long in meditation and contemplation.
Matha Kuar Shrine
The Matha Kuar Shrine houses an ancient statue of Buddha which is carved out of a single block of stone. Buddha is depicted sitting in a posture called Bhoomi Sparsha Mudra under the Boddhi Tree. The inscription at the base of this statue indicates that it dates back to 10th or 11th centruy A.D.
Wat Thai Temple
Located at the centre of Kushinagar, the Wat Thai Temple was constructed as part of the golden jubilee celebrations of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne of Thailand. It is based on the theme of forest monastery and it represents Thai-Buddhist architecture. It took seven years to complete and was opened to the general public in 2001. The temple complex is spread over 10 acres and houses a massive temple, monastery, miniature gardens, lotus ponds, health care clinic and a school. Every year, a large number of Thai people come to this temple to offer their services.
Indo-Japanese-Sri Lanka Temple
As the name implies, the Indo-Japanese-Sri Lanka Temple is a collaborative effort of India, Japan and Sri Lanka. It was built by Atago Isshin World Buddhist Cultural Association. The temple consists of a single circular chamber that houses a golden statue of Buddha. The statue is softly lit through small, stained-glass windows. It is made of Asta Dhatu, which means a combination of eight metals. It was made in Japan and assembled in India.
The Kushinagar Museum is located near the Indo-Japan-Sri Lanka Temple. It displays the articles recovered during the excavations in Kushinagar. These articles includes: statues, coins, sculptures, paintings and architectural remains. The stucco statue of Lord Buddha in meditation posture is a masterpiece representing the Gandhara School of Art and is among the most noteworthy displays of the museum.
The Sun Temple is located at Turkpatti, which is 17 km from Kushinagar. The Demi-God Sun is the presiding deity of this temple. The idol placed in this temple was recovered during excavation at this site. It is made of black stone which is locally known as Neelmani. This ancient temple is mentioned in Puranas, the religious texts of Hindus.Submit Query