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Kushinagar

Kushinagar - Set against a pastoral landscape, the small hamlet of Kushinagar, 53 km west of Gorakhpur, is revered as the site of the Buddha's Mahaparinirvana, his death and cremation, that marked his final liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth.

During Buddha's lifetime, Kushinara, as it was then called, was a small town in the kingdom of the Mallas, surrounded by a thick forest cover. It remained forgotten, until the late nineteenth century, when archaeologists rediscovered the site, and began excavations.

Today, Kushinagar is rediscovering its roots, as a center for international Buddhism, and is home to many viharas, including a Tibetan gompa devoted to Sakyamuni, a Burmese vihara, and temples from China and Japan.

How to go

Kushinagar is connected by road to Gorakhpur, 55 km away. Gorakhpur is linked by air to Delhi, Calcutta, Lucknow and Varanasi.

Air: Nearest airport is Varanasi.

Rail: The nearest railway station is at Gorakhpur (51 km), which is the headquarters of Northeastern Railways and linked to important destinations.

Road: Kushinagar is well connected to other parts of the state of Uttar Pradesh by bus. There are regular buses to Gorakhpur (51 km), Lumbini (173 km), Kapilavastu (148 km), Sravasti (254 km), and Sarnath (266 km), and Agra (680 km).

Local Transport: Jeeps and elephants are available on hire basis to take the tourists inside the forest.

Things to See

Nirvana Temple: Set in a leafy park at the heart of Kushinagar, the Nirvana Stupa, dating back to the reign of Kumaragupta I (413-55AD), enshrines a giant statue of the Buddha, in a reclining position. It was extensively rebuilt, by Burmese Buddhists, in 1927. The surrounding area is strewn with Stupas, erected by pious pilgrims, and ruins of four monasteries.

Japanese Temple: Built by the Atago Isshin World Buddhist Cultural Association, it consists of a single circular chamber, housing a golden image of the Buddha, softly lit through small, stained-glass windows.

Rambhar Stupa: About 1.5 km southeast of the Nirvana Temple, surrounded by rice, wheat and cane fields, lies at the Rambhar Stupa. It was popularly believed to be the place, where Buddha was created by the Mallas.

Mata Kaur Shrine: Houses a 10th century blue schist image of the Buddha.

Where to Stay

With the increasing popularity of Kushinagar as a major Buddhist attraction, several standard and budget hotels have opened up. Another option is to stay in the dharamshalas, which are cheap and provide good basic services.


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