Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Visit Kushinagar: Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour



Quick Facts

Location: It is 55km east of Gorakhpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh
Significance: Buddhist stupas and temples
Getting There & Away: From Kushinagar, there are regular bus services to Gorakhpur and Sunauli and Nepal border.
How To Reach: Nearest airport and railway head is Gorakhpur. Kushinager is well connected road with major cities of India.

The last spot of Buddhist trail is Kushinagar where Buddha died, breaking his last words: ‘All things must pass. Work out your own salvation with diligence’. According to Buddhist text when Buddha died the earth shook, stars shot from the heavens, the sky in the 10 directions burst forth in flames and air filled with celestial music. From various countries like Tibet, Burma, China, Sri Lanka, Japan and others devotees have built temples here to accommodate monks and pilgrims.

History

Kushinagar is one of the ancient cities of India and once a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom. It was also known as Kushinara and one of the four sacred places for Buddhist. Near the Hiranyavati river, Gautam Buddha attained his final nirvana. According to legends he fell ill after eating a meal of mushroom and finally died.

Most of the stupas and temples were built during 3rd century BC to 5th century BC by many kings and merchants who were followers of Buddhism. Major construction did by Illustrious Mauryan kingAshoka. The place was in oblivion for many centuries and rediscovered in 19th century. Due to invasion by Muslim rulers from time to time, stupas and temples were demolished and Kushinagar lost its charm and vitality for many centuries. At that time the place was neglected and desolate but during British period it had been in limelight for one more time.

Not To Miss

·         Nirvana Stupa – This stupa is revered among devotees as it is said in an inscription that Lord Buddha’s remains had been deposited here. The stupa was revealed by Carlleyl (British Archaeologist) in 1867 and stands at a magnificent height of 2.74 meter. The huge brickwork stupa is located in the east of the main Nirvana temple.

·         Nirvana Temple – The main attraction of the temple is the long statue of reclining Buddha. The image was unearthed during the excavation of 1876. The statue was built in Chunar sandstone represents the dying Buddha reclining on his right side.

·         Wat Thai Complex – This complex features an elaborate temple, beautifully maintained gardens and bonsai-style trees, a monastery and a temple containing a gilded Buddha. Inside the complex there are also a clinic and a Sunday school.

·         Japanese Temple – The temple was built by Atago Isshin World Buddhist Cultural Association with the help of Japanese and Indian government. A beautiful Ashta Dhatu(eight metals) statue of Lord Buddha that came came from Japan is the main attraction of the temple. Apart from that golden image of Buddha and temple architecture are noteworthy.

·         Kushinagar Museum – This museum preserve some of the rarest relics of Buddha’s times. You can see 248 precious antiques related to coins, statues and sculptures. It exhibits Buddhist relics, sculptures and terracottas unearthed from the Kushinagar region, as well as some Tibetan thangkas ( rectangular painting on cloth) and Mughal miniature paintings.

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