The distance between one of the major seat of Buddhism named Kushinagar and Gorakhpur is 53 Kms. This is the very location, where the reaching of Maharparinivana was achieved by Lord Buddha, thus leaving his bodily state.
Kushinagar was a former capital city of the Malla Dynasty. It is believed to be among the sixteen Maharanapads of the archaic India. The mention of Kushinagar can be found in the documents written by famous Chinese travelers namely Fa Hien and Hieun Tsang.
General A.Cunningham and A.C.L Carlleyle are the responsible people for discovering this archaic location during the archaeological digging carried out in the year 1861. The identity of Kushinagar was re-established and authenticated by the Archaeological Survey of India during the excavations carried out by them in the years between 1904 and 1912.
The memorials present in Kushinagar can be categorized in three numbers of separate sets. The major location would be the Nirvana Temple, the central Stupa and the monasteries encircling these structures. The second category would be in the south-west direction which is the Mathakaur Kot and the third would be the Ramabhar Stupa located at a distance of 1 Km in the east direction.
PLACES TO VISIT
Japanese Temple: One of the spectacular temples in the entire Kushinagar, the Japanese Temple is a must see tourist destination. The temple houses a grand ‘Ashta Dhatu’ idol of Lord Buddha, which stands for ‘Eight Metals’ idol of Lord Buddha. This idol was imported from the country, Japan in pieces form and then it has been re-assembled in this Japanese Temple. A solitary chamber in circular shape in which, one can see a golden picture of Lord Buddha via mesmerizing glass windows, is present in the temple.
Watt Thai Temple: One of the most popular temples of Kushinagar, this Watt Thai Temple is a unique temple in the entire Indian Sub-continent. Constructed to function as a Forest Monastery, the Watt Thai Temple is set against a spectacular backdrop of luxurious green lawn, plush green trees and different varieties of plants, herbs and shrubs. It is located in a sprawling stretch of land. In the year 2001, this structure was made open for the public eye.
Chinese Temple: This location is another popular site of Kushinagar. The unique architectural style of the temple, which reflects the style of ‘Han Chinese’, sets it apart. Many of the pattern components have been influenced from the different Mainland China provinces. The outside pattern of the temple mirrors the mixture of Chinese and Vietnamese styles of architecture. The temple houses a spectacular idol of Chinese Buddha.
Nirvana Stupa: Carlyle discovered this structure in the year 1876.The altitude of this statue is 2.74 meters. At this location, a vessel made of copper was uncovered. In the archaic Brahmi, words were written on the vessel, which indicated that the vestiges of Lord Buddha have been put here.
Mahaparinirvana Temple: A long idol of the reclining Buddha is present in the temple. The altitude of the statue is 6.10 meters. During the archaeological digging carried out in the year 1876, this statue was uncovered. The statue has been sculpted from the Chunar sandstone. The writings below on the statue indicate the existence of the structure to the 5th century.
Mathakuar Shrine: The distance of the shrine from the Nirvana Stupa is 400 yards. The excavation carried out here uncovered a figure of Lord Buddha in the ‘Bhumi Sparsha Mudra’ below the ‘Bodhi Tree’. The figure is made of stone. The writings on the figure indicate the existence of the structure to the period between 10th century and 11th century.
Ramabhar Stupa: The distance of the Ramabhar Stupa and the Mahaparinirvana Temple is a mere 1.5 Kms. The altitude of this stupa is 15 meters. This temple indicates and symbolizes the location as the place where the cremation of Lord Buddha took place.
Govt. Buddha Museum: Many items found in the archaeological excavations are put into the display of the museum for public viewing.
HOW TO REACH KUSHINAGAR
By Air: The nearest airport is located in Gorakhpur. The distance of the airport and Kushinagar is 45 Kms.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is the Gorakhpur Junction.
By Road: Kushinagar is situated on the National Highway 28. Frequent buses ply between Kushinagar and other major sites in the state.