If you want to explore how Buddhism has impacted our culture and what kind of legacy it has left behind, then a visit to Kushinagar, a town in Uttar Pradesh will definitely leave you awe-struck.
As a historic place, Kushinagar oozes religious fervour due to which it has become so famous over time - one reason could be as Lord Buddha had attained Mahaparinirvana (the process of consciously leaving the body at the time of death) here, making Kushinagar surface on the global map as a must-visit spiritual tourist destination. After his Mahaparinirvana, it was King Ashoka who built a stupa in his honour. This stupa depicts the reclining nirvana statue of Buddha.
Best Time to Visit Khushinagar
Going by its etymology Kushinagar was named after Kush - a type of lemongrass due to its high availability in the region. And if you are wondering to visit here soon, then the best time to visit Kushinagar is between the months of November and February.
History of Kushinagar
Turning back the pages of time, we can trace back the origin of this region to the Malla Dynasty. Interestingly, Kushinagar is recognized as one of the significant 16 kingdoms of ancient India.
As Lord Buddha had taken his last breath and left his body attaining the Maha Samadhi here, perhaps, this is also one reason why Kushinagar is filled with lots of shrines, stupas, viharas and temples. Most of these temples’ historic roots can be traced back to 230 BC - 413 AD.
Major Attractions in and Around Kushinagar
1. Mahaparinirvana Temple
This temple is majorly built in the traditional Buddhist architectural style. Inside the temple, you will find a 6 m tall Buddha statue made out of monolith red sandstone. It is said that the deity of Lord Buddha was excavated in 1876 and was rebuilt in 1927. According to the inscription engraved at the bottom of the statue, it states that it was built in the 5th century AD.
2. Nirvana Stupa
This stupa is also known as the Nirvana Chaitya and is located just behind the Mahaparinirvana temple. The statue is about 2.74 m tall and was discovered by the British archaeologists in 1876. For any history buff, this place is simply irresistible.
3. Ramabhar Stupa
The Ramabhar Stupa is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha was cremated. This stupa which is 15 m in height was built by the Malla kings. Located at 1.5 km away from Nirvana temple, don’t forget to visit this stupa while on your visit to Kushinagar.
How to Reach Kushinagar
Kushinagar is a place to visit if you want to explore the sacred grace of Lord Buddha. It is located at a distance of about from 878, 1,716, 759, 2,088 km Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Check out the following details given below on how you can visit Kushinagar via the following means of public transportation.
Kushinagar International Airport, Kushinagar is on its way to be constructed fully. This is good news for all the devotees across the globe as they will be able to access the city of Kushinagar quite easily when it is finally completed. With this, it will be the 4th International Airport in Uttar Pradesh. However, for the time being, until the airport gets completed, you can consider deboarding at the Gokarhpur Airport situated 40-50 km away from Kushinagar. From the airport, you can easily book a taxi for yourself and reach your respective destination.
Here is a list of Indian cities from where flights are available to Kushinagar
The nearest railway station is the Gorakhpur Railway Station (GKP) situated 40-60 km away. This railway station has the longest platform in the world and majorly serves as the main headquarters of the North Eastern Railway. From the station, you will have to take a taxi or some other means of local transportation to reach your destination.
From Delhi - Board Bihar SK SPL from New Delhi Station and deboard at Gorakhpur Junction
From Bhopal - Board LTT GKP SPL from Bhopal Junction and deboard at Gorakhpur Junction
You can also travel to Kushinagar via well maintained and motorable network of roadways and national highways. From the nearby towns you can either book interstate or private buses as per your budget, book taxis or otherwise, if you want to travel at your own pace, travel via your own vehicle.