Historical Places in India - Kushinagar

Kushinagar and Kasaya Bazar are a historical site located in the north-eastern frontier area of Uttar Pradesh. It is a Buddhist pilgrimage place where Mahaparinirvana of Gautama Buddha took place. Presently it falls under Kushinagar district. The name "Kasaya Bazar" has changed to Kushinagar and after that "Kasaya Bazar" has officially become a municipality with the name "Kushinagar". The history of Kushinagar has been very rich and glorious. 

Kushinagar is located about 28 km east of Gorakhpur on National Highway 20. The state of Bihar starts 50 km east of Kushinagar. There are many beautiful Buddhist temples in many countries. For this reason, it is also an international tourist destination where Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world come to visit. There are also Buddha Postgraduate College, Buddha Intermediate College, Enlightened Society, Monks Association, Enlightened Acupressure Center, Chandamani Free School, Maharishi Arvind Vidya Mandir and many small schools. The area around Kushinagar is predominantly agrarian. The dialect of the common people is Bhojpuri. Main crops are grown here like wheat, paddy, sugarcane etc. A one-month fair is held in Kushinagar on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. Although this shrine is related to Mahatma Buddha, the surrounding area is Hindu majority. In this fair, the surrounding people participate with full devotion and offer prayers and darshan in various temples. No one doubts that Buddha is their 'God'.


The history of Kushinagar is very ancient and glorious. It was here that Mahatma Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. In ancient times, this city was the capital of the Malla dynasty and one of the 16 Mahajanapadas. The mention of this ancient city is also found in the travelogues of Chinese traveler Xuanzang and Fahian. According to Valmiki Ramayana, this place was inhabited even in Treta Yuga and here was the capital of Kush, son of Maryada Purushottam Lord Rama, due to which it came to be known as 'Kushavati'. According to Tripitaka, a text of Pali literature, this place was one of the Shodasa Mahajanapadas during the Buddhist period. This capital of the Malla kings was then known as 'Kusinara'. By the end of the fifth century BC or early sixth century, the arrival of Lord Buddha came here. It was in Kushinagar that he received Mahaparinirvan after delivering his last sermon.

The credit for exposing this ancient place is General A. Cunningham and A.D. C.L. Goes to Carlile who excavated this place in 1861. In the excavation, a lying statue of the sixth-century Lord Buddha was found. Apart from this, Ramabhar Stupa and Mathakunwar Temple were also discovered. To ensure the ancient importance of this place between 1904 and 1912, the Archaeological Survey of India carried out excavations at several places. Many temples and monasteries of ancient times can be seen here.

There is a stupa built by Emperor Ashoka at the northeast corner of Kushinagar. Here there is a vihara of bricks within which a statue of Lord Parinirvana is built. Like a sleeping man, the head is lying in the north direction. Another stupa is also built by Emperor Ashoka near the Vihar. Although it is in ruins, it is still 200 feet high. Next to it is a pillar on which there is a history of the nirvana of Tathagata.


TOURIST PLACES IN KUSHINAGAR


NIRVANA  STUPA 


This huge stupa, made of brick and wood, was discovered in 1876 by Carlyle. The height of this stupa is 2.74 meters. A copper boat has been found from the excavation at this place. The inscriptions inscribed in this boat reveal that the ashes of the pyre of Mahatma Buddha were kept in it.


MAHANIRVANA TEMPLE

The Mahanirvana or Nirvana temple is the major attraction of Kushinagar. A 6.10 meter tall statue of Mahatma Buddha is installed in this temple. This statue was received during the excavation in 1876. This beautiful statue was made by cutting the sandstone of Chunar. The inscription below the statue shows that the statue belongs to the fifth century. It is said that a Buddhist monk named Haribala brought this statue from Mathura to Kushinagar during the Gupta period.


MATHAKUNWAR TEMPLE  


This temple is about 400 yards from the Nirvana Stupa. The statue of Mahatma Buddha in Bhumi touch mudra is obtained from here. This statue is found below the Bodhi tree. The inscription on its floor shows that this statue belongs to the 10-11th century. Along with this temple, excavations have also found the remains of a monastery.


RAMABHAR STUPA

The 15 meter high stupa is about 1.5 km from the Mahaparinirvana temple. This stupa is believed to have been built at the same place where Mahatma Buddha was buried in 483 BC. In ancient Buddhist writings this stupa has been named Mukut Bandhan Chaitya. This stupa is said to have been built by the Malla rulers who ruled Kushinagar at the time of Mahatma Buddha's death.


MODERN STUPA   


Many Buddhist countries have built modern stupas and monasteries in Kushinagar. A beautiful statue of Mahatma Buddha is installed in the China Temple built by China. Apart from this, an attractive statue of Mahatma Buddha made of octal metal can be seen in the Japanese temple. This statue was brought from Japan.


BUDDHIST MUSEUM                                      

Many precious objects excavated in Kushinagar have been preserved in the Buddhist Museum. The museum is located near the Indo-Japan-Sri Lankan Buddhist Center. Many beautiful sculptures obtained from nearby excavations can be seen in this museum. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily except Mondays.

Apart from these scenic spots, Krien temple, Shiva temple, Ram-Janaki temple, Meditation park, Burmese temple etc. can also be seen in Kushinagar.


HOW TO REACH

BY AIR
Gorakhpur Airport is the nearest major airport here. There are regular flights from cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata and Patna etc. Apart from this, Lucknow and Gorakhpur can also come here by air.


BY TRAIN
Deoria is the nearest railway station, which is at a distance of 35 km from here. Gorakhpur, located 53 km from Kushinagar, is the major railway station here, which is connected to many major cities of the country.


BY ROAD
National Highway 28 from Kushinagar connects it to other major cities. Regular bus services are available from major cities of the state.

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