Kushinagar also referred to as Kusinagar or Kusinara in ancient Buddhist scriptures is the site of the Lord Buddha Mahaparinirvana (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 in Buddhism been authorized by the Buddha himself. The other three sites are: Lumbini (birth); Bodhgaya (enlightenment); and Sarnath (first teaching).
Kushinagar was a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom of ancient India. Here near the Hiranyavati River, Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana , 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.