We all have been to numerous places and traveled across the country or globe. Usually we research well, read reviews, plan itineraries before we actually go there, but sometimes there are places that we just go without expecting much or seeing any pictures online, however, they surprise you with their grandeur, history, facts and amazing views.
One such place I have recently been to is Kushinagar.
Kushinagar is a small town around 50 km from the city of Gorakhpur, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. I bet most of you reading this haven’t heard about it before, however, this city has got immense historical and religious importance from perspective of India, and Buddhism, thanks to the amazing temples and Stupas here.You can read the article to know my response and experience. Buddhists believe that it was Kushinagar where Gautam Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death. Most Buddhists wish to visit this place at least once in their lifetime. It makes Kushinagar one of the important religious destinations for Buddhists in India.
I did a solo trip from Gorakhpur and visited all attractions in the city by foot. That is the best way to explore this city and believe me it is not tiring at all, as there are many attractions, and all are close to each other.
This makes Kushinagar one of the best places for a Day Trip from Gorakhpur.
Read on to know about this small and beautiful town, how to reach, things to do, and most importantly its importance in Buddhism. There are plenty of pictures and videos that will help you know more about it, and plan a self-guided trip to this city, Kushinagar.
How to reach
Kushinagar is around 50km away from Gorakhpur.
There is no railway station or airport in Kushinagar, so the best way to reach there is to reach Gorakhpur and take a bus/cab from there. Gorakhpur is well connected to different parts of India by train and flight. Infact, Gorakhpur has the world’s largest railway platform !
Buses are available from the bus stand near the Gorakhpur railway station. Buses start as early as 5 or 6 am and run till late in the evening. The frequency of bus is every hour, or you can even get it sooner. Reach the bus stand, ask anybody the exact point of boarding the bus and they’ll happily help. A lot of buses go via Kushinagar ahead so there are chances that seats might be full. Make sure you keep checking with the bus driver / conductor and ask them to stop at the point where the Buddha temples are and they will drop you off at the right point.
Duration of bus journey is around 1.5 hours
The bus fare is 62 Rs one way.
If you are a group of people, hiring a cab will also be a good idea as you can pay a little more and cover this distance in 1 hour more comfortably. Ola is available in Gorakhpur, Uber is not available as yet.
When To Reach
Except the months where sun is super hot, and the rainy days, all days are perfect for a day trip to Kushinagar. So checkout the weather conditions before you head out to here.
I suggest you to reach here early in the morning by 9am, or no later than 12pm, as exploring all the attractions will take you close to 4 hours, and few temples close by 4.30pm.
And Exploration Begins..
The picture below is the place where you begin your walk into the city of Kushinagar. A huge arch, and the statue of Buddha at the entrance itself tells you what to expect inside.
Start walking down the street ahead. The street is wide, usually clean, with shops on both sides. There are shops of General Stores, Bakeries, Tea/Coffee, Fruits and Snacks, & more.
You walk around 500 meters and then begins the array of Buddhism temples. Lets start our exploration–
Linh-Son Vietnam Chinese Buddhist Temple
The first attraction – the Linh-Son Vietnam Chinese Buddhist Temple. Situated inside a huge campus with beautiful entrance, this is an amazing Buddha temple with some lovely idols inside, that will surprise you for sure.
On the ground floor is a Buddha idol with 18 hands that will leave you in awe. There 2 more idols on both sides, a huge bell, a huge gong, and the offerings by devotees that includes biscuits and water bottle.
Move up the stairs by passing the dragon entrances and you will come across the idol of Laughing Buddha on the outside. Inside the temple are more Buddha idols. Look down from the top balcony and it gives you an amazing view of the temple premises.
Come out and keep moving ahead. Wait till you come across this next spot – a small and beautiful Shiva temple.
Walk around the periphery and enjoy the peace. Inside is the idol of Lord Shiva, and outside is ample space to sit and relax, and pray.
Keep walking ahead and within few meters you’ll find another grand entrance.
Mahasukhamdada Chan Thargyi Pagoda
The entrance says it all, that how grand the temple inside will be. Walk inside and towards your right will be ‘Buddha Sarovar’, a small temple in the middle of a pond. Here is what you’ll see inside this pond-temple.
Inside the premises when you move ahead you’ll find an
amazing temple. The pictures below will entice you and crave you to witness
this in person. It’s a beautifully made temple with loads of idols and a lovely
theme. It also gives you a lot of photo opportunities as the design of this temple
are quite unique, as the idols inside it.
The main Pagoda tomb is beautiful golden and mesmerizes you in the first look. Its huge and it is grand at the same time.
Enter inside the temple and start walking to your left. On your left are the idols of the followers dressed in black and are spread around the periphery of the temple. It’s a unique design concept. On your right are the idols decorated in Golden and are dedicated to the days of the week – Monday, Tuesday etc. The carvings are amazing and the idols looks like as they have life.
Just outside this temple on the right are more followers standing idols dressed in golden.
Overall, I found this temple the best among all the ones in Kushinagar. The design is unique, it looks grand and a lot of efforts are visible to make this temple look beautiful. It is clean and peaceful. And it is photogenic.
Our next stop is the most important stop in this place, the thing Kushinagar is known for.
The Mahaparinirvan place of Buddha
This is the temple of Buddha where the Maha Parinirvan of Lord Budhha happened, which means, Lord Buddha attained salvation here !
This temple has two important sections –
1 The lying idol of Lord Buddha. This is one of the most prominent idols of Buddhism in India which is not explored well enough by travelers of the world yet. Its an amazing 6.1 meters long idol that has some unique characteristics. It is made of monolith red sandstone and represents ‘Dying Buddha’. This reclining Buddha idol is lying on its right side with head towards the north.
You will find lots of devotees from across the globe praying and worshipping in their own unique ways. There is a lot of peace and tranquility here. You’ll feel it immediately when you enter the hall where the idol lies.
2 The ruins around the temple of the Mauryas and Guptas. Take a walk around the temple and you’ll see the ruins.
There are boards that explains the history behind these ruins that are worth a read.
Here is what it says :
In the park you will also see devotees praying together in group. That’s a sight to behold, very peaceful.
Matha Kuar Shrine
Just a few minutes walk from the previous spot, at the turn is the Matha Kuar Shrine. It’s a shrine with a colossal statue of Buddha, carved out of blue stone of the Gaya Region and represents Buddha under Bodhi Tree in the Bhumisparsha Mudra.
Now comes a series of Buddha temples from various countries.
Tibetan Buddhist Temple
A beautiful Buddha temple managed by Tibet, has a complete name as Phuntsok Choephelling Namgyal Monastery.
AIK World Buddhist Culture Association.
On the right side of the road you will find this point and can be spotted by a huge dome. Walk inside a bit and you’ll find a beautiful Buddha statue on your left under a tree. On your right in the dome you will find a huge hall with Buddha idol in the middle and some paintings on the wall. If they allow you to go inside, its certainly a very spiritual and peaceful place to spend some time.
The most important highlight here is the statue of Buddha – it is made of eight metals, which was transported from Japan
Another beautiful Buddha Temple managed by Korea.
Indo Japan Buddhist Stupa
A small beautiful garden with a stupa at the end with scribblings in Japanese.
Wat Thai Kushinara Chalermraj
A huge lovely 10 acres campus of Thai Buddhist Temple. This temple was built by disciples of Buddha from Thailand to celebrate the golden jubilee of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne of his country. This is one of the most beautiful temples in the city !
Wat Kushavadee Buddha Vihar
Sri Lanka Buddha Vihar
Another small and beautiful Buddha temple, with idol under the tree and a small prayer room, library and staff rooms with flowers and trees around.
This is the last spot to visit in this city in regards to Buddhism. It is called as Buddha Ghat. This is place with excavated remains of Ramabhar stupa where Buddha is believed to be cremated. It’s a nice, calm, lush green place where you can sit for hours and meditate.
Kushinagar is undoubtedly a huge pilgrimage point for Buddhists, and in general, all of us, to know the importance of India in Buddhism, and Buddhism in India. It’s a great tourist spot as well since in every few meters you’ll find a temple that has own history, own design, and is immensely beautiful and important.
Here is a small video that takes you virtually in this beautiful city –
If you are in Gorakhpur and have a day to spare, or if you are a Buddhist, or if you have interest in Buddhism, or History, or for any other reason unsaid, please visit Kushinagar. It’s a beautiful town, with exceptionally amazing temples, rich history, cultural diversity, sacred remains, calm environment, green surroundings, and a lot to explore.
I loved being in Kushinagar. This was one of my best solo trips that had a lot to offer, explore and learn.
Hope this blog helped you in planning your trip to this city. For any questions, drop a comment.
Happy Exploration !