A rather nondescript town in Uttar Pradesh, Kushinagar has a really interesting historical lineage. The ancient town gets its name from Kusha, the son of Lord Ram who is believed to have founded and ruled the city for a long time.
Then there are archeological evidences dating back to 3rd century BC, that prove that the Mauryan emperor Ashoka also exercised authority here for quite some time. However, what Kushinagar is most known for today is as a major pilgrimage centre for Buddhists in India. It was here that Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana.
Hence, the primary attraction of the city is Mahaparinirvana Temple, located amidst the ruins of various ancient monasteries that date back to 5th-century AD. The highlight of the temple is its 6 meters long statue of Lord Buddha. According to the inscriptions in the ruins, the remains of Lord Buddha were deposited here.
If you’re a major history buff, you’d enjoy a visit to Kushinagar Museum, a site that was thrown open to the public only in 1992-93. It features archeological excavations that were found in the city including various artefacts like statues, sculptures, seals, coins and banners along with a wide variety of other antiquities. The idol of Lord Buddha built in a striking Gandhara style is among the major attractions in the museum.
The Sun Temple is a must-visit too; it was built during the Gupta period and finds mention in the Puranas. The highlight of the temple is the idol of the Sun God which was carved out of a special black stone called Neelmani. The statue was believed to have unearthed during excavations conducted between the 4th and 5th centuries.
Head to Ramabhar Stupa, the place where Lord Buddha was said to have attained Mahaparinirvana or the Final Enlightenment. The 15 meters high stupa is one of the most important pilgrim spots for Buddhists; and its location amidst gorgeous lush surrounds only make it more appealing.