At the time of the Buddha, Kushinagar was the capital of the Mallas, and the scene of the Buddha's death. It was twenty-five yojanas from Rajagaha and lay on the high road from Alaka to Rájagaha, the road taken by Bávarí's disciples.
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
Makutabandhana, the cremation-site of Gautama Buddha's body
It is said that the Buddha had three reasons for coming to Kusinárá to die:
Because it was the proper venue for the preaching of the Mahá-Sudassana Sutta;
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
Because the brahman Doha would be there, after the Buddha's death, to solve the problem of the distribution of his relics
Between Kusinara and Pava, three gavutas away - 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
After the Buddha's death his 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
As the scene of his death, Kusinara became one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha (in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta) to be fit places of pilgrimage for the pious, the other three being Kapilavatthu, Buddhagaya and Isipatana
Mention is made of other visits paid to Kusinárá by the Buddha, prior to that when his death took place. 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. During some of these visits the Buddha stayed in a wood called Baliharana, and there he preached two of the Kusinárá Suttas and the "Kinti" Sutta. A third Kusinárá Sutta he preached while staying at Upavattana.
Major Attractions of Kushinagar :
The major tourist attractions of Kushinagar include the Mahaparinirvana Temple represents the "Dieing-Buddha" laying down on his right side with his face towards the west; Nirvana Chaitya (Main Stupa) which was excavated by Carlleyle in the year 1876; Ramabhar Stupa; Matha Kuar Shrine; Meditation Park; Wat Thai Temple; Japanese Stupa; Linh Son Chinese Temple, Korean Temple; Birla Hindu Buddha temple, Shiva temple, Ram Janaki Temple, Myan Mar (Burmese) Temple; Nirvana Temple; Japanese Temple; Kushinagar Museum; Japanese Garden; Buddha Vihar; International Buddha Trust etc.
How to Get There:
The nearest airport is Gorakhpur (44km).
The nearest rail head or station is Gorakhpur : 51 km, which is the headquarters of North Eastern Railways and linked to important destinations. Gorakhpur is connected directly with Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin and Barauni.
Situated on National Highway No. 28, Kushinagar is well connected with other parts of the state. Some major road distances are : Gorakhpur-51 km, Lumbini-173 km, Kapilastu-148 km, Sravasti-254 km, Sarnath 266 km. Lalitpur 33 km from Deogarh.