Among the five Buddhist pilgrimages associated with Lord Buddha’s life, Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh is the place where Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. Situated 53 km from Gorakhpur, the town is popular for its history, stupas and temples.
It is said that Lord Buddha fell ill and later attained Parinirvana. The town is popular as it is the last resting place of Lord Buddha.
Today, one can see several stupas and temples in the town, which stands as testimony to Lord Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana. These stupas and temples were discovered during excavations by Gen A Cunningham and A C L Carlyl in 1861-1876. The excavation brought the town and its historical past into limelight.
The historical structures have been divided into three groups – Nirvana temple, the central Stupa and surrounding monasteries, Mathakuar Kot and Ramabhar Stupa.
The most prominent attraction is the Mahanirvana stupa. It is the place where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. The Wat Thai temple and Ramabhar Stupa are the other major attractions of the town. One can see several temples, stupas and monasteries built in the Buddhist architectural style.
The town also finds a place in Ramayana. In ancient time it was called Kushavati, the city of Kusha, son of Lord Ram. It is said that the stupas and viharas were built between 3rd and 5th century CE. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka is credited with building the Buddhist structures in the town. The town was also called Kushinara, the capital of the Malla dynasty.
There are several accommodation options available in Kushinagar. One can find many budget hotels, dharmshalas and lodges. One can also opt to stay at the Pathik Niwas hotel, run by the UP tourism department. Most of the restaurants pre-dominantly serve North Indian cuisine. One can also opt to have food at the UPSTDC restaurant. The best time to visit Kushinagar is between October and March.