KUSHINAGAR TOURISM | TOP PLACES TO VISIT & TRAVEL GUIDE TO KUSHINAGAR
Heritage | Pilgrimage
#8 of 16 Places to visit in Uttar Pradesh
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Kushinagar: Gorakhpur (54 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Kushinagar: October to March
Peak Season: October to November & February to March
At a distance of 34 km from Deoria, 54 km from Gorakhpur, 158 km from Ghazipur, 185 km from Muzaffarpur, 189 km from Ayodhya, 202 km from Faizabad, 214 km from Patna, 224 km from Varanasi, 240 km from Vaishali, 246 km from Darbhanga, 296 km from Nalanda, 297 km from Allahabad, 309 km from Bodh Gaya, 329 km from Lucknow, 413 km from Kanpur, Kushinagar is a historical town in the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Also known as Kasia, it is one of the popular places of Buddhist Pilgrimage in India, and among the must include places in Uttar Pradesh Tour Packages.
Kushinagar is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism, the other three being Lumbini, Sarnath, and Bodh Gaya. Kushinagar is the place where Gautam Buddha delivered his last sermon, attained Mahaparinirvana (salvation) in 483 BC, and was cremated at Rambhar Stupa. It is an international Buddhist pilgrimage center, and the followers of Buddhism, especially from Asian countries, wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime.
The present Kushinagar is identified with Kusavati in the pre-Buddha period, and Kushinara in the post-Buddha period. It is believed that the ancient town of Kushavati gets its name from Kusha, the son of the Legendary God-king Rama who founded and ruled the city. Kushinara was the capital of Mallas which was one of the sixteen mahajanpads of the 6th century BCE. Since then, it remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta, Harsha, and Pala dynasties. In the medieval period, Kushinagar had passed under the suzerainty of Kultury Kings. Kushinara continued to be a living city until the 12th century CE and was lost its importance and suffered much neglect. It also finds mention in the writings of the Chinese traveler and pilgrim Hieun Tsang.
However, modern Kushinagar came into prominence in the 19th century with archaeological excavations carried out by Alexander Cunningham, the first Archeological Surveyor of India, who exposed the main stupa and also discovered a 6 meters high statue of reclining Buddha in 1876. After independence, Kushinagar remained part of the district of Deoria, and it came into being as a new district of Uttar Pradesh in the year 1994. Today, people from all over the world visit Kushinagar. Many national and international societies and groups have established their centers here.
Kushinagar is a city of beautiful stupas and temples. It is believed that after Lord Buddha's parinirvana, emperor Ashoka built a stupa here to mark the parinirvana site. The Mahaparinirvana Temple, with the world-famous reclining nirvana statue of Buddha that depicts the 'dying Buddha', is an important site to visit in Kushinagar. Though the main site is surrounded by runs of as many as eight monasteries, Mahaparinirvana Vihara and Makutabandhara Vihara are the popular ones. Besides, the Japanese Temple, Ramabhar Stupa, Buddha Museum, Wat Thai Temple, Matha Kuar Shrine, Kushinagar Museum, etc. are some of the top places to visit in Kushinagar.
Every year, Buddha Poornima is celebrated here with great enthusiasm during April/May. The festival lasts for several days where pilgrims come to celebrate the three most important stages of Buddha's life- birth, enlightenment & death on this day. The festival starts with a procession starting from Burmese Buddhist Vihar in the early morning on this day and is followed by many other different rituals that are performed throughout the day that draws thousands of devotees every year. Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Janmashtami, Maha Shivratri, etc., are the other festivals celebrated here with much fervor.
About 47 km from Kushinagar, Mahayogi Gorakhnath Airport, Gorakhpur is the nearest airport that has well-connected flights from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. Gorakhpur Junction Railway Station is the nearest railhead that has well-connected trains from Amritsar, Delhi, Saharsa, Chhapra, Mumbai, Gwalior, Lucknow, Kamakhya, Muzaffarpur, Jalandhar, Udaipur, Barauni. One can hire a cab or bus from Gorakhpur to reach Kushinagar. Kasia Bus Station, Kushinagar is the nearest bus stand that has well-connected buses from all the major cities of Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi.
Kushinagar has several accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury which helps tourists to stay and explore the nearby places.
People visit all year round, but the best time to visit Kushinagar is during the winter months (October - March) when the environment is cold and perfect to go around sightseeing. It is advisable to not visit during summer as the scorching heat and humidity in the region during these months make it very difficult to go sightseeing or do anything outside. Kushinagar receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season and is not ideal for sightseeing.