“Behold now brethren, I exhort you saying, decay is inherent in all component things! Work out your salvation with diligence!”
Kushinagar, at that point of time, was a part of the Malla kingdom and known as Kusinara. Following the Buddha’s mahaparinirvana, the place shot into fame and a number of stupas and viharas were constructed in the following period. The great emperor, Ashoka got numerous Buddhist statues built here and the Chinese travellers, Fa Hien, Huen Tsang, and I-tsing, all paid a visit to this town.
There are following Major Buddhist Attractions in Kushinagar
1. Mahaparinirvana Temple
The Mahaparinirvana temple stands amidst serene sal grove and is famous for the 6 metres long reclining image of Lord Buddha. The image was discovered during the excavations of 1876 and shows the dying Buddha reclining on His right side. It is believed that this chunar sandstone statue was brought from Mathura by a devout monk, Haribala, during the reign of King Kumara Gupta in the 5th century AD.
2. Nirvana Stupa
This is a brick stupa located in the east of the Nirvana temple. Rising to a height of 2.74 m, the Nirvana stupa was excavated in 1867 by Carlleyl. A copper vessel, bearing an inscription in ancient Brahmi was unearthed from here. The inscription clearly stated that the last remains of Lord Buddha were deposited there.
3. Meditation Park
Close to the main Nirvana Temple, the park has been opened pretty recently. The atmosphere of the park, with lush green platforms surrounded by sal trees, is perfect for meditation. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
4. Mathakuar Shrine
Some four hundred yards from the Parinirvana stupa is the Mathakaur Shrine from where a 3.05 m tall black stone image of Lord Buddha in the bhumi sparsha mudra was unearthed. The place is widely believed to be the one where Lord buddha delivered His last sermon.
5. Ramabhar Stupa
Around a km from the Mathakaur shrine stands another stupa, Rambhar which rises to a height of 49 feet. The stupa site is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha was cremated. Close to the stupa is a pond which dries up when temperature soars up in summers. It is not clear which of the two, the stupa or the pond, was originally called Ramabhar.
6. Japanese Temple
This temple has been constructed by the Atago Isshin World Buddhist Cultural Association and is quiet well known for the ashta dhatu (eight metlas) statue of Lord Buddha. The temple is open for visit between sunrise and sunset.
7. Kushinagar Museum
The Kushinagar Museum is situated around a km southeast from the Kushinagar bus stand, half a km from the the Mahaparinirvana temple and three km from the Kasia bus stand. The highlight of the museum is the stucco statue of Lord Buddha in meditative posture. The statue is one of the finest specimen of the Gandhara School of Art. Apart from this, you can also have a look at other exhibits which include precious antiques like coins, statues, sculptures, architectural remains and bronze statues. These Buddhist treasures were found from the excavation sites. Some Hindus and Jain antiquies are also on display.
8. Japanese Garden
Open between sunrise to sunset, this Children’s park is presently under construction. The supervision of the construction work is carried out by the Japanese, however, once it is completed, the UP government will take over.
9. Myanmar Buddha Vihar
The first monastery in Kushinagar, the Myanmar Buddha Vihara is its temples adorned with beautiful metal statues of Lord Buddha. There is also a unique collection of the excavated bone & metals (asthidhatu) of Lords and followers.
10. Wat Thai Temple
The Wat Thai temple was constructed to mark the 50th year of His Majesty King Bhumibol the Great’s Accession to the Throne. The temple has a various kinds of trees all around.
11. The Lin Sun Chinese Temple
From outside, this temple appears to be a combination of the Chinese and Vietnamese architectural style. Within, the temple houses beautiful Chinese images of Lord Buddha. For visiting tourists, the temple is open between sunrise to sunset. However, it is also possible to stay overnight here as the temple provides free stays.
12. Birla Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has been founded by the well known Birla family at the nirvana site of Gautama Buddha. Highlight here is a marble statue of Lord Shiva seated on a tiger flash cushion. The temple offers accommodation to Hindu and Buddhist tourists at a very reasonable rate
At the main site a marble statue of lord Shiva sitting in an erect posture on tiger flash cushion. The ‘dhyana posture’ he is sitting in, is termed to be the position in which the communion of thou soul (Jivatma) to thy soul (parmatma) is possible.
The temple also provides accommodation for Hindu Buddhist tourist on very nominal rates. A dormitory is also specially made for Indian Buddhist tourists available at cheapest rates.
Visiting Hours : Sunrise to Sunset
International Buddha Trust
The trust was established in the year 1996 with an intention of performing communion of an individual soul (jivatma) with universal soul (parmatman) through yoga. The trust organises free classes for around ten days in a year. Free accommodation and fooding are offered to those who participate in the classes.
Gorakhpur is located 53 km from Kushinagar while Lumbini and Kapilavastu are located some 108 and 110 km respectively.
How To Reach
The nearest airport from Kushinagar is Varanasi which is located 275 km away. Flights from Varanasi connect to destinations like Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow and Patna.
Gorakhpur, 53 km s away is the nearest railhead connected to several important destinations in India like Delhi, Mumbai and Kochi.
Kushinagar is well connected by road to several important cities in the state as well as country. Some important road distances from Kushinagar include :
Gorakhpur – 53 km
Sravasti : 254 km
Sarnath : 266 km
Agra : 680 km