Kushinagar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is about a town. For the information related to district : Kushinagar District

Kushinagar
कुशीनगर
city
Kushinagar
Kushinagar
Kushinagar is located in Uttar Pradesh
Kushinagar
Kushinagar
Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh
Coordinates: 26°44′28″N 83°53′17″E / 26.741°N 83.888°E / 26.741; 83.888Coordinates: 26°44′28″N 83°53′17″E / 26.741°N 83.888°E / 26.741; 83.888
Country India
State Uttar Pradesh
District Kushinagar
Government
 • District Magistrate Lokesh M
Population (2011)
 • Total 17,983
Languages
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Website www.kushinagar.nic.in

Kushinagar (Hindi: कुशीनगर, Urdu: کُشی نگر‎ , Kusinagar or Kusinara ) is a town and a Nagar Panchayat in Kushinagar district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh located around NH-28, being 52 km east to Gorakhpur city. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.[1] Nearest towns to Kushinagar are Kasia, Hata, Padrauna, Deoria and Fazilnagar.

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 India census, Kushinagar had a population of 17,983[2] with 2454 households. Males constitute 52% (9408 Men) of the population and females 48% (8575 Women). Kushinagar has an average literacy rate of 74%, almost equal to the national average of 74%: male literacy is 86%, and female literacy is 61%. In Kushinagar, 11% of the population is under 10 years of age.

Ancient history[edit]

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and Places(Title and location names are in English.)

In ancient times, it was known as Kushavati (Jatakas). It finds mention in epic Ramayan as the city of Kusha the son of Ram, the famous king of Ayodhya. Kushinagar was a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom of ancient India. Later, it would be known as Kushinara, one of the most important four holy sites for Buddhists. At this location, near the Hiranyavati River, Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana (or 'Final Nirvana') after falling ill from eating a meal of a species of mushroom.

Many of the ruined stupas and viharas here date back to 3rd century BCE - 5th century CE when prosperity was at its peak. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka is known to have contributed to significant construction at this site.

Prior to its rediscovery in the 19th century, there was a silence of more than half a millennium at Kasia. Due to violent invasions, Kushinagar lost its vitality and eventually was neglected.

Visits by the Buddha to Kushinagar[edit]

During the time of the Buddha, Kushinagar was the capital of the Mallas, and the scene of the Buddha's last breath before Mahaparinirvana. It was twenty-five yojanas from Rajagaha (DA.ii.609; acc. to Fa Hsien, p. 40, it was twenty-four yojanas from Kapilavatthu) and lay on the high road from Alaka to Rájagaha, the road taken by Bávarí's disciples (SN.v.1012). At that time it was a small city, "a branch-township with wattle-and-daub houses in the midst of the jungle," and Ananda was, at first, disappointed that the Buddha should have chosen it for his Parinibbana. But the Buddha, by preaching the Maha-Sudassana Sutta, pointed out to him that in ancient times it had been Kusavati, the royal city of Maha-Sudassana (D.ii.146).

It is said that the Buddha had three reasons for coming to Kusinárá to die:

  1. Because it was the proper venue for the preaching of the Mahá-Sudassana Sutta;
  2. Because Subhadda would visit him there and, after listening to his sermon, would develop meditation and become an arahant while the Buddha was still alive; and
  3. Because the brahman Doha would be there, after the Buddha's death, to solve the problem of the distribution of his relics (UdA.402f; DA.ii.573f6).

Between Kusinara and Pava, three gavutas (c. 15 km (9.3 mi)) away (DA.ii.573) - from where the Buddha came to Kusinára on his last journey from Rajagaha, stopping at various places - lay the stream of Kakuttha on the banks of which was the Ambavana; beyond that was the Hiraññavati river, and near the city, in a south-westerly direction, lay the Upavattana, the Sala-grove of the Mallas, which the Buddha made his last resting-place (UdA.238; DA.ii.572f).

After Mahaparinirvana the body was carried into the city by the southern gate and out of the city by the eastern gate; to the east of the city was Makutabandhana, the shrine of the Mallas, and there the body was cremated. For seven days those assembled at the ceremony held a festival in honour of the relics (D.ii.160f).

Kusinara became one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha (in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (ii. 140) ) to be fit places of pilgrimage for the pious, the other three being Kapilavatthu (near Lumbini), Buddhagaya (Bodh Gaya), and Isipatana (Sarnath) (D.ii.140).

Buddha's cremation stupa, Kushinagar.

Mention is made of other visits paid to Kusinárá by the Buddha, prior to Mahaparinirvana. Thus, once he went there from Ápana and having spent some time at Kusinárá, proceeded to Átumá. The Mallas of Kusinárá were always great admirers of the Buddha, even though not all of them were his followers, and on the occasion of this visit they decided that any inhabitant of Kusinárá who failed to go and meet the Buddha and escort him to the city, would be fined five hundred. It was on this occasion that Roja the Mallan was converted and gave to the Buddha and the monks a supply of green vegetables and pastries (Vin.i.247f). During some of these visits the Buddha stayed in a wood called Baliharana, and there he preached two of the Kusinárá Suttas (A.i.274f; v.79f) and the "Kinti" Sutta (M.ii.238f). A third Kusinárá Sutta he preached while staying at Upavattana. (A.ii.79; for another discourse to some noisy monks at Upavattana, see Ud.iv.2).

According to a late tradition, one-eighth of the Buddha's relics were deposited in a cairn in Kusinárá and honoured by the Mallas (D.ii.167; Bu.xxviii.3).

In Hiouen Thsang's day there still existed towers and Sarighárámas erected to mark the spots connected with the Buddha's last days and obsequies at Kusinárá. According to his account (Beal. op. cit.li. lii. n) Kusinárá was nineteen yojanas from Vesáli. A copper plate belonging to the thúpa erected at the site of the Buddha's death has recently been discovered (CAGI.i.714).

Parinirvana Temple[edit]

The Parinirvana Temple with the Parinirvana Stupa, Kushinagar

The remains of the Parinirvana Stupa and Parinirvana Temple, when rediscovered, were covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest. After E. Buchanan, an officer of the East India Company, arrived in Kasia in the course of his survey-work; H. H. Wilson, in 1854, made the suggestion that ancient Kushinagar and Kasia were the same. Work resumed around 1861–1862 when Alexander Cunningham, the founder of the Archaeological Survey of India suggested the site to be that of Gautama Buddha's decease. A British officer named Mr. A. C. L. Carlleyle followed suit. Excavations began in the early twentieth century under J. Ph. Vogel.[3] He conducted archaeological campaigns in 1904–5, 1905–6 and 1906–7, uncovering a wealth of Buddhist materials. Although no decisive evidence was found to prove Cunningham’s supposition that the site known at Māthā kūār kā Koṭ was Kushinārā, a series of monastic seals with the Sanskrit legend mahāparinirvāne cāturdiśo bhikṣusaṃghaḥ were taken to show that by the late Gupta period the site was understood to be that of the Buddha's final passing.

Stupa ruins in Kushinagar.
Buddha Relic Distribution Site

Initiatives by the District Administration[edit]

1. In 2012 the Buddha Relic Distribution Site has been added as a new pilgrim spot on the Kushinagar Tourist Map. The site is located in Village Anirudhawa, at a walking distance from the main Mahaparinirvana Temple and 50 meters, right behind the Thai Temple.

2. The same year the Buddha Ghat was constructed on the banks of the river Hiranyavati—Buddha was cremated on its bank—right behind the Ramabhar Stupa.

3. The same year work also started on The Buddha's Last Meal site at Pavanagar, village Satheeau, Fazilnagar, about 20 km before Kushinagar while approaching from Bihar. This is the spot where as per the Mahaparinirvana Suttra, Chunda the goldsmith offered Sukar-maddava, eating which the lord became sick.

4. In 2012 work also started at the Kakuttha River, Buddha took his last bath in this river. This is on the Main National Highway 28 at a bridge while approaching Kushinagar from Bihar after the Buddha's Last Meal site.

5. Pampor Stupa. In April 2013 a new Buddhist site was excavated at Village Pampor. The excavation revealed the remains of an old Buddhist Stupa. Rahul Sanskrityan the legendary Buddhist scholar from India is said to have identified Pampor as the famed Pava Kingdom of ancient India. Some decorated bricks were discovered from the site which has been handed over to the local museum at Kushinagar.

Institutions in Kushinagar[edit]

Kushinagar has made a lot of progress in education in recent times. Since last decade - dozens of private and governmental institutes have been launched at this little town. Here is a list of all educational institutes at Kushinagar:

Governmental Institutes[edit]

Other Institutes[edit]

  • Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Kasia, Kushinagar
  • Rahul Public School, Kushinagar
  • Buddha Central Academy, Kasia, Kushinagar
  • Swargiya Foolmati Devi Kushinagar Public School, Kushinagar
  • Linh-Son Buddhist Intermediate College, Kushinagar
  • Gyanlok College for Government Services, Kushinagar
  • Nav Jeevan Mission School, Kasia, Kushinagar.

Medical institutions and hospitals in Kushinagar[edit]

There are two governmental and several private hospitals and clinics available at Kushinagar and Kasia. The popular ones are:

  • Governmental Aayurvedic Hospital, Mahaparinirvana Temple road
  • Buddha National Hospital, NH 28
  • Government Hospital, Kasia
  • al-Shifa Medical College, Kasia
  • Vartika Medical Center, Kasia

Important places to visit[edit]

Buddha Parinirvana; near the Mahaparinirvana Temple
  • Mahaparinirvana Temple and Stupas
  • Linh Son Temple
  • Thai Temple
  • Ramkola Satiansuiya Temple
  • Govt. Buddha Museum Kushinagar: The significance of the holy place Kushinagar inspired several countries and organisations to put-up their religious and cultural edifices and Kushinagar gradually ushered into a spot of global attraction. The proposal was mooted by department of Culture, Goverment of U.P. to found a museum for preserving the archaeological wealth from the region and the present building came in to existence in 1992–93. Remnants from the Mesolithic period to the collectibles of later period are displayed here. The museum reveals the art, culture and historical facts of ancient India. The nucleus of the collection represents sculpture, terracotta, architectural remains, bronzes, clay seals, thankas and coins. Among the sculptures the museum has a good collection of Mathura and Gandhara schools of art. A large number of artifacts are on display in four galleries. Besides Buddha artifacts, some Hindu and Jain antiquities are also on view. The stucco statue of Lord Buddha in the meditation posture is a superb specimen. It represents the zenith of Gandhara school of art. The beautifully decorated votive stupas and bricks are also on view. The museum is at the developing stage and efforts are being made to collect the artifacts from different places and institutions. In this series recently museum acquired a large number of valuable antiquities from Rahul Sankrityayan Sansthan and District administratation Kushinagar.
  • Surya Mandir Turkpatti, Kushinagar

References[edit]

A Literary History of Deoria & Kushinagar by Prof.(Dr.) M.A. Lari Azad (USM 1998 Ghaziabad)

  1. ^ W. Owen Cole, Peggy Morgan Six Religions in the Twenty-First Century 2000 - Page 204 "Kushinara. Here, near modern Kasia in Uttar Pradesh, is the site of the Buddha's death. A temple commemorates the Buddha's final ..."
  2. ^ Census of India: Population Finder, http://censusindia.gov.in/PopulationFinder/View_Village_Population.aspx?pcaid=1249&category=N.P.
  3. ^ J. Ph. Vogel, “Some Buddhist Monasteries in Ancient India,” Journal of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 1 (1950): pp. 27-32

External links[edit]