: 6.0 sq km
Population : 13,860 (1991)
Altitude : 400 m above sea level
Languages : Hindi and English
Best time to visit : October to April
STD Code : 05563
Once in Kushinagar, it appears that time has come
to a complete halt. This sleepy town, with its serenity
and unassuming beauty, absorbs visitors into a contemplative
mood. It is this place that the Buddha had chosen to
free himself from the cycles of death and life and,
therefore, it occupies a very special space in the heart
of every Buddhist.
Kushinagar is situated in the north Indian state
of Uttar Pradesh, 51 km off Gorakhpur. The place, which
is famous for the Mahaparinirvana (death) of Lord Buddha,
has been included in the famous Buddhist trail encompassing
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal.
Like other places in the Gangetic plain, the climate
of Kushinagar is hot and humid in the summers (mid-Aprilmid-September)
with maximum temperature touching 4045°C.
Winters are mild and minimum temperature in December
can go down to around 5°C. Monsoon reaches this
region in June and remains here till September.
Kushinagar is also known as Kasia or Kusinara. The
founder of Buddhism, Lord Buddha passed away at this
place near the Hiranyavati River and was cremated at
the Ramabhar stupa. It was once a celebrated center
of the Malla kingdom. Many of its stupas and viharas
date back to 230 BCAD 413. when its prosperity
was at the peak. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka added grandeur
to this place by getting the magnificent statue of Buddha
carved on a single piece of red sandstone. Fa Hien,
Huen Tsang, and I-tsing, the three famous Chinese scholar
travelers to India, all visited Kushinagar.
the decline of Buddhism, however, Kushinagar lost its
importance and suffered much neglect. It was only in
the last century that Lord Alexander Cunningham excavated
many important remnants of the main site such as the
Matha Kua and Ramabhar stupa. Today, people from all
over the world visit Kushinagar. Many national and international
societies and groups have established their centers
The Mahaparinirvana Temple, with its world famous
reclining statue of Buddha, is an important site to
visit. The 20-feet-long statue is seated on a brick
platform. Ruins of as many as eight monasteries are
around the main site. These monasteries have witnessed
the rise and fall of a number of dynasties and the spread
of Buddhism. Ruins of two monasteriesMahaparinirvana
Vihara and Makutabandhara Viharaare especially
famous. The Makutabandhara Vihara is believed to have
been built by Malla kings to preserve the relics of
the Buddha. Through the centuries, monuments and shrines
of various types grew around these ancient sites.
there is the wonderful mini-city of Wat Thai Kusinara
developed by the Thais. Built on an area of about 10
acres, it houses small huts, a school, a library, and
hospitals. In the miniature gardens, lotus ponds and
nurseries, all in typical oriental style, residents
learn to love naturethe true gospel of Buddhism.
Hundreds of Thai people come down every year to perform
various kinds of services. The rich and poor alike,
with clean-shaved heads and dressed in saffron clothes,
live in modest huts and eat from banana leaves.
holy sites are along one straight road. Towards the
east, several temples of various Buddhist countries
have come up. The procession organized by the Burmese
temple every year on Buddha Poornima day is attended
by thousands of people. Other attractions are the Indo-Japanese-Sri
Lankan Center for Cultural Association, meditation center,
and archeological museum. Nature lovers can take a strip
to the Tamkuhi forest area, which also has a forest
rest house for staying overnight.
Fifty-one kilometers off Kushinagar is Gorakhpur,
an important city of eastern Uttar Pradesh. At Gorakhpur
is the Rahul Sanskrityayan Museum, which has an excellent
collection of Thanka paintings and relics of the Buddha.
The water sports complex at Ramgarh Tal Planetarium
and the Gorakhnath Temple in the city are also worth
(Piprahwa) is situated 148 km from Kushinagar and is
an important Buddhist pilgrimage. Kapilavastu was the
ancient capital of the Sakya clan ruled by Gautama Buddhas
in Nepal at a distance of 122 km from Gorakhpur, Lumbini
is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. There are regular
buses to the Nepalese border, from where the remaining
26 km has to be covered by private vehicles.
Buddha Poornima is the most important festival celebrated
in April/May. Thousands of people come to Kushinagar
to celebrate the three most important stages of Buddhas
lifebirth, enlightenment, and death.
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
The nearest airhead is located at Varanasi from
where one can take flights to Delhi, Calcutta, Lucknow,
does not have a railway station. The nearest railway
station is at Gorakhpur (51 km), which is the headquarters
of Northeastern Railways and linked to important destinations.
Some important trains to Gorakhpur are BombayGorakhpurBandra
Express, New DelhiBarauniVaishali Express,
CochinGorakhpur Express, Shaheed Express, Amarnath
Express, and Kathgodam Express.
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).