Kushinagar, district of the eastern Uttar Pradesh, is known for its cultural heritage everywhere in the world. Kushinagar is one amongst the principal pilgrimage centre of Buddhism, is that the place where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana (Salvation) in 483 BC near the Hiranyavati river and was cremated at the Ramabhar stupa. The present Kushinagar is identified with Kushawati ( in pre- Buddha period ) and Kushinara (in Buddha period). Kushinara was the capital of Mallas which was one amongst the sixteen mahajanpads of the 6th Century B.C. The mention of Kushinagar are often found within the documents written by famed Chinese travelers particularly Fa Hien and Hieun Tsang.
General A.Cunningham and A.C.L Carlleyle are the responsible individuals for locating this archaic location duringthe archaeological excavation administered in the year 1861. The identity of Kushinagar was re-established and documented 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 classified in three numbers of separate sets. the key location would be the Nirvana Temple, the central Stupa and the monasteries encircling these structures. The second class would be in the south-west direction that is the Mathakaur Kot and the third would be the Ramabhar Stupa situated at a distance of 1 km within the east direction.
Places Of Attractions:
This temple stands on the same plinth as the main Nirvana Stupa behind it. The reclining Nirvana statue of Lord Buddha inside the temple is 6.10 metres long and is made of monolith red – sand stone. It represents the “Dieing – Buddha” reclining on his right side with his face towards the west. It is placed on a large brick-pedestal with stone-posts at the corners. There is an inscription datable to the 5th Century A.D. recording that the statue was “the appropriate religious gift of the Mahavihara Swami Haribala”.
Nirvana Chaitya (Main Stupa):
Nirvana Chaitya is located just behind the Main Parinirvana Temple. It was excavated by Carlleyle in the year 1876. During excavations, a copper-plate was found, which contained the text of the “Nidana-Sutra” which concluded the statement that plate had been deposited in the “Nirvana-Chaitya” by one Haribala, who also installed the great Nirvana Statue of Buddha in the temple front. A copper vessel was also recovered which contained silver coins of Kumar Gupta, an emperor of Gupta Dynasty, 5th Century A.D.
Ramabhar Stupa, also called a Mukutbandhan-Chaitya,is the cremation -place of Buddha. This Site is 1.5 km east of the main Nirvana Temple on the Kushinagar-Deoria road. this Stupa has a huge circular drum with a diameter of 34.14 meters on the top consisting of the two or more terraces and is 47.24 meters in diameter at the base.
Matha Kuar Shrine:
A Colossal statue of Lord Buddha is installed, which is carved out of one block which represents Buddha seated under the “Bodhi Tree” in a pose known as ” Bhumi Sparsh Mudra ” (Earth touching attitude). The inscription at the base of statue is datable to the 10th or 11th Century A.D.
Recently developed near the main Nirvana Temple, this park has artificial water bodies with raised lush-green platforms for meditation surrounded by Sal-trees and other afforestations, representing a complete Buddhist-ambience.
Indo-Japan-Srilanka temple is a marvel of Buddhist architectural grandeur of modern times. A beautiful eight metals statue of the Buddha, which was brought from Japan, can be seen here.
Wat Thai Temple:
The unique temple, built to celebrate the victory of King Bhumibol’s great accession of the throne, and the subsequent Golden Jubilee, is worth a watch, especially because of the innumerable trees that were planted here.Besides, there’s the Chinese temple, the Meditation Park and an International Buddha trust, and the Birla temple to add charm to roaming around in the city.
Built by State Government in Buddhist-architectural ambience. Ancient archeological discoveries and antiquities are displayed there. Visiting hours are 10:00 am to 17:00 PM (except Mondays).
Ruins & Brick Structures :
These are located around the main Nirvana Temple and Main Stupa. These are the remains of various monasteries of different sizes constructed from time to time in the ancient period.
Pawanagar /Pawapuri(Fazilnagar) :
It is the place where Lord Mahavir attained Parinirvana. As per Pali Tripitak, Pawa was the second capital of the Mallas, the first being Kushinara. Pawa is now being identified with present day ‘Fazilnagar’, a place 16 kms south – east of Kushinagar. 22 kms east of Kushinagar on the National Highway-28. Followers of Jain sect organise a festival here on the next day of Deepawali every year, when Lord Mahavir has attained Salvation. It is also believed that Lord Buddha, while going to Kushinagar from Vaishali, stopped here to accept meals from one of his disciples ‘Chund’. Here he ate ‘Sukar-Maddav’ (Mushrooms) and developed dusentry which caused his death at Kushinagar.
Sun Temple, Turkpatti:
Situated 17 km east of Kushinagar on Kasia – Tamkuhi Road. There are huge and artistic statues of Sun god, made of black stone.They were recovered during excavations one of which is belonged to 4th – 5th Century A.D. and another 8th – 9th Century A.D.