Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh:
Together with my colleague, I went from Lucknow to Gorakhpur. While our purpose was to visit the city’s university, I also had the chance to explore nearby Kushinagar.
Kushinagar is one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites, because it is here that Buddha died. Consequently, Buddhist communities from all over Asia have built temples in this small village. Maybe the most prominent sight is the Mahaparinirvana Temple housing a reclining Buddha statue from the 5th century depicting Buddha on his death bed. Closeby stands the golden Mahasukhamdada Chin Thargyi Pagoda of the Myanmar Temple. Similarly picturesque is the Wat Thai Complex with a beautiful and well-maintained garden. A small park at the end of the road contains the Ramabhar Stupa. This relatively unremarkable heap of red bricks is believed to be the place where the body of Buddha was cremated. On the way back, we stopped shortly at the Mathakuar Temple, where Buddha gave his final sermon.
Despite the religious importance of Kushinagar, I unfortunately did not feel a strong spiritual atmosphere. In the afternoon, we drove back to Gorakhpur from where we continued our return journey to Jaipur on the following day. After getting back to work in Jaipur for some time, I took a weekend off and travelled to nearby Udaipur – one of the nicest places in northern India! Read about it in the next post!
This place reminds me of Sarnath, near Varanasi. I remember I was somewhat impressed by the different styles of the temples, and the very tall Buddha statue at the Thai temple. However, the city was very quiet, there wasn’t much happening. I would’ve thought different, since it is also an important pilgrimage place for Buddhism. Anyway, I’m glad you could make a detour to visit Kushinagar.
hehe – I always thought of going to Sarnath some day. I have been to Varanasi in 2010, but didn’t get out of town… India is so big and there are always more corners to explore!! 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Edith!! 🙂
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Why didn’t you feel a spiritual atmosphere ? Did you think it was a bit too much artificial ? Or maybe was it the lack of people around ?
Hello! Thanks for your comment! It seemed that most people in Kushinagar were either foreign tourists (very few) or Indians taking a walk. I did not see any “real” pilgrims. The market next to the pagoda was more like a fun fair with a lot of plastic goods…
I understand 🙂 Thanks