Kushinagar is the place where Shakyamuni entered Mahaparinirvana. When Lord Buddha reached His eighty-first year, He gave his last major teaching. The subject of the teaching consisted of the thirty-seven wings of enlightenment. After this, He left Vulture's Peak with Ananda to journey north. After sleeping at Nalanda, he crossed the Ganges for the last time at the place where Patna now stands and came to the village of Beluva. Here, the Buddha fell ill, but he suppressed the sickness and continued towards Vaishali. This was a city where Shakyamuni had often stayed in the beautiful parks that had been offered to him. It was also the principal location of the third turning of the wheel of Dharma.
While staying at Vaishali, Buddha thrice mentioned to Ananda a Buddha's ability to remain alive till the end of the aeon. Failing to understand the significance of this, Ananda said nothing and went to meditate nearby. Shakyamuni then rejected prolonging his own life span. Later Ananda learned of about this and implored Buddha to live longer. But he was refused, since his request had come too late.
Coming to Pava, the blacksmith's son, Kunda, offered him a meal, which included meat. It is said that all the Buddhas of this world eat meal, containing meat, on the eve of their passing away. Buddha accepted, but directed that no one else should partake in the food. Later, it was learned that the meat was bad. He told Ananda that the merit created by offering an enlightened one his last meal is equal to that of offering food to him just prior to his enlightenment.
Kushinagar (also spelled Kushinagar or Kusinara) is the site of the Buddha Shakyamuni's death. It is located next to Kasia, a rural town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 52 km from Gorakhpur, in northern India.
Kushinagar is one of the four major pilgrimage destinations said to have been authorized by the Buddha himself. The other three sites are:Lumbini (birth); Bodh Gaya (enlightenment); andSarnath (first teaching). Kushinagar was a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom of ancient India. At this location, near the Hiranyavati River, Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana (passed away), and was cremated. Many of the ruined stupas and viharas at Kushinagara date back to 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD 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 nineteenth century, there was a silence of more than half a millennium at Kasia. Due possibily to violent invasions, Kushinagar lost its vitality and eventually was neglected. The notable Buddha Temple, when rediscovered, was covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest.
Excavations began in the late 1800s and many important remnants of the main site such as the Matha Kuar and Ramabhar stupa were unveiled.
Today, Kushinagar is a much-frequented pilgrimage site, especially for Buddhists from Asian countries. Temples have been constructed on the site by Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Japanese Buddhists alongside the ruins of ancient monasteries and stupas. Temples and sights at Kushinagar include