KUSHINAGAR: A small dusty town in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, Kushinagar is the place where Lord Gautam Buddha breathed his last. The religious significance of Kushinagar can be perceived by the fact that a large number of followers visit this place everyday. This is also the place where Lord Buddha preached his last sermon and said, /"All things must pass. Decay is inherent in all things".
Kushinagar was an important centre under Mauryan King Ashoka, a great Buddhist follower. Most of the religious structures here were constructed between 3rd century BC and 5th century AD. For a long time Kushinagar remained lost in the jungles and was unknown to the world till 19th century when the British rediscovered it in 1880. Extensive excavations have indicated the presence of a large number monks here as late as 11th century AD. A majority of tourists come to Kushinagar during Buddha Purnima to celebrate the birthday of Lord Buddha. The place has a tropical climate with extreme temperatures during summers and winters. Winter days are pleasant with dry weather and clear sky.
One of the four major centres of Buddhism along with Lumbini, Bodhgaya and Sarnath, there are many places of religious importance in Kushinagar. Rambhar Stupa is the most important landmark of Kushinagar. The stupa is said to have been built on the same spot where Lord Buddha was cremated in 483 BC. Mahaparinirvana Temple is another important attraction in Kushinagar with a huge statue of Lord Buddha in reclining position. Mathakuar Shrine is the place where Lord Buddha had given his last sermon. There are many modern temples, stupas, and shrines in Kushinagar built by various Buddhist countries. A museum here houses objects found during the excavation of Kushinagar.