Kushinagar

Kushinagar
Town
Ramabhar Stupa was built over a portion of the Buddha's ashes on the spot where he was cremated by the ancient Malla people.
Ramabhar Stupa was built over a portion of the Buddha's ashes on the spot where he was cremated by the ancient Malla people.
Kushinagar is located in Uttar Pradesh
Kushinagar
Kushinagar
Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh
Kushinagar is located in India
Kushinagar
Kushinagar
Kushinagar (India)
Coordinates: 26°44′28″N 83°53′17″E / 26.741°N 83.888°E / 26.741; 83.888Coordinates: 26°44′28″N 83°53′17″E / 26.741°N 83.888°E / 26.741; 83.888
Country India
StateUttar Pradesh
DistrictKushinagar
Government
 • TypeNagar Palika
 • D.M.Ramesh Ranjan[1]
 • A.D.MShri Devi Dayal Verma (PCS)
 • MPVijay Kumar Dubey (BJP)
Population
 (2011)[2]
 • Total22,214
Language
 • OfficialHindi[3]
 • RegionalBhojpuri
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Vehicle registrationUP-57
Websitekushinagar.nic.in
Map of Kushinagar in relation to other Eight Great Places Buddhist pilgrimage sites and notable nearby cities

Kushinagar (Pali: Kusinārā; Sanskrit: Kuśinagara) is a town in the Kushinagar district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Located 53 kilometres (33 miles) east of Gorakhpur on National Highway 27, Kushinagar is an important and popular Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Buddhists believe Gautama Buddha attained parinirvana.

Etymology

According to Buddhist tradition Kushavati was named prior to the king Kush. The naming of Kushwati is believed to be due to abundance of Kush grass found in this region.[4][5]

History

Iron Age

The present Kushinagar is identified with Kusavati (in the pre-Buddha period) and Kushinara (in the post-Buddha period). It was the capital of one of the two Malla republics. The two Malla republics comprised one of the sixteen mahajanpads (oligarchic republics) of India in the 6th century BCE. Since then, it remained an integral part of the erstwhile empires of Maurya, Shunga, Kushana, Gupta, Harsha, and Pala dynasties.[citation needed]

Location of Gautama Buddha's death and parinirvana

When the Buddha reached his eightieth year, he felt that his time in this world was approaching an end. At that time, according to the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta (Sutta 16 of the Dīgha Nikāya), he and some of his disciples undertook a months-long journey that would take them from Rājagṛha, through Pāṭaliputta, Vesāli, Bhoganagara, and Pāvā, to their final destination at Kushinagar.[6] It was at Pāvā that Cunda, a resident of Pāvā, invited the group to a meal that featured a food called sukaramaddava. This would prove to be the Buddha's last meal, as he was afflicted by a painful illness resembling dysentery soon after consuming the meal.[7] After the meal, the Buddha crossed the Kakkuttha River (now called the Khanua River) and completed his journey to Kushinagar.[8]

According to the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta, the Buddha attained parinirvana shortly after his arrival in Kushinagar. Seven days after his parinirvana, the remains of the Buddha were cremated at that location. Originally his ashes were to go only to the Sakya clan, to which the Buddha belonged. However, six other clans and a king demanded the ashes of the Buddha. In order to resolve this dispute, a Brahmin named Drona divided the ashes of the Buddha into eight portions. These portions were distributed as follows: to Ajātasattu, king of Magadha; to the Licchavis of Vesāli; to the Sakyas of Kapilavastu; to the Bulis of Allakappa; to the Koliyas of Rāmagāma; to the brahmin of Veṭhadīpa; to the Mallas of Pāvā; and to the Mallas of Kushinagar.[9] In addition to these eight portions, two other important relics were distributed at that time: Drona (the brahmin who distributed the relics) received the vessel in which the body had been cremated, and the Moriyas of Pipphalivana received the remaining ashes of the funeral pyre.[9][10] According to Buddhaghosa, Each of these ten portions was placed in a reliquary (such as the Kanishka casket or the Bimaran casket) and buried in a tumulus.[10] These tumuli have been expanded or reconstructed over many centuries to form large stupas. Of these, the only one which remains intact is the Ramagrama stupa in Ramgram, Nepal.

5th century CE - 18th century CE

During the medieval period, Kushinagar was under the suzerainty of Kalachuri kings.[citation needed] The city was largely abandoned after the Islamic invasions of the 12th century, although the region was ruled over by a Rajput king named Madan Singh in the 15th century.[citation needed]

19th century

The earliest mention of the ruins at Kushinagar in modern literature was in 1837, by D. Liston. Liston noted that it was "an object of worship" and pilgrimage site, but misunderstood the ruins to be the remnants of the fortress of a powerful divinity by the name of Mata Koonr.[11]

Kushinagar came back into prominence when Alexander Cunningham performed archaeological excavations at Matha Kuar shrine and Ramabhar stupa in 1861-1862. Cunningham was the first archaeologist to identify the ruins as being the site of the parinirvana of the Buddha.[4] Archibald Carlleyle exposed the Mahaparinirvana stupa and also discovered a 6.1 metres (20 feet) meters long reclining Buddha statue in 1876. In 1901, a Burmese monk named Sayadaw U Chandramani applied to the English Governor of India, seeking his permission to allow pilgrims to worship the reclining Buddha image in Kushinagar. Excavations continued in the early twentieth century under J. Ph. Vogel.[12] He conducted archaeological campaigns in 1904–1905, 1905-1906 and 1906–1907, uncovering a wealth of Buddhist materials.

In 1896, Laurence Waddell suggested that the site of the death and parinirvana of Gautama Buddha was in the region of Rampurva.[13] However, according to the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta, the Buddha made his journey to Kushinagar, where he walked into a grove of sala trees and laid himself to rest. There, he died and was cremated on the seventh day after his death. The accumulated body of archaeological evidence and the historical record both support the assertion that the Buddha died and was cremated in Kushinagar.[14][15][16][17][18]

Archaeological evidence from the 3rd century BCE suggests that Kushinagar was an ancient pilgrimage site.[19] For example, Ashoka built a stupa and placed a pillar to mark Buddha's attained parinirvana in Kushinagar.[20] The Hindu rulers of the Gupta Empire (fourth to seventh century) enlarged the stupa and constructed a temple containing a reclining Buddha statue.[21][22] This site was abandoned by Buddhist monks around 1200 CE, who fled to escape the invading Muslim army, after which the site decayed during the Islamic rule in India that followed.[23][24] British archaeologist Alexander Cunningham rediscovered Kushinagar in the late 19th century, and his colleague Archibald Carlleyle unearthed the 1,500-year-old reclining Buddha statue.[22][25][26] The site has since then become an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists.[19][27]

20th century

After independence, Kushinagar remained a part of the district of Deoria. On 13 May 1994, it came into being as a new district of Uttar Pradesh.[28]

Modern Kushinagar

Demographics

According to the 2011 Census of India, Kushinagar had 3462 households and a total population of 22,214, of which 11,502 were males and 10,712 were females. The population within the age group of 0 to 6 years was 2,897. The total number of literate people in Kushinagar was 15,150, which constituted 68.2% of the population with male literacy of 73.3% and female literacy of 62.7%. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population was 1,117 (5.03%) and 531 (2.39%) respectively.[2]


Government and politics

Kushinagar comes under Kushinagar Lok Sabha constituency for Indian general elections. The Member of Parliament from this constituency is Vijay Kumar Dubey of Bharatiya Janata Party who was elected in the 2019 Indian general election. As of 2019, the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kushinagar Assembly constituency is Rajnikant Mani Tripathi of Bharatiya Janata Party.

Transportation

Kushinagar is well connected by air, rail, and road. Within the town, public transport is provided by taxis, auto rickshaws, and cycle rickshaws. The city is served by Kushinagar International Airport and Gorakhpur Junction railway station.

The Government of Uttar Pradesh has proposed the Kushinagar-Sarnath Buddha Expressway to connect these two Buddhist pilgrimage towns. The expressway will be around 200 km long and will greatly reduce the travel time between the towns.

As a Buddhist pilgrimage site

Parinirvana Temple

The statue of the reclining Buddha is inside the Parinirvana Temple. The statue is 6.10 metres long and is made of a single block of red sandstone. It represents the Buddha in the position he was in when he died and attained parinirvana — reclining on his right side with his head to the north, feet to the south, and face towards the west. It is situated on a large brick platform with stone posts at the corners.[29]

Parinirvana Stupa

The Parinirvana Stupa (Nirvana Chaitya) is located just behind the Parinirvana Temple. It was excavated by Carlleyle in the year 1876. During excavations, a copper plate was found, which contained the text of the Nidana Sutra and the statement that plate had been deposited in the Nirvana Chaitya by one Haribala, who also installed the reclining Buddha statue in the temple.[29]

Ramabhar Stupa

Ramabhar Stupa (also called Mukutbandhan Chaitya) is the cremation place of Buddha. This site is 1.5 km east of the Parinirvana Temple on the Kushinagar-Deoria road.[29]

Matha Kuar Shrine

This shrine contains a large statue of Buddha, carved out of one block of stone, which represents the Buddha seated under the Bodhi Tree in a pose known as bhumi sparsh mudra (Earth-touching attitude). The inscription at the base of statue dates to the 10th or 11th century CE.[29]

Other major places
  • Mata Bhagawati Devi Mandir: This is a Hindu temple situated at Buddha Ghat.[30]
  • Indo-Japan-Sri Lanka Temple: This is an interesting example of modern Buddhist architecture.[29]
  • Wat Thai Temple: This is a huge complex built in a typical Thai-Buddhist architectural fashion.[29]
  • Ruins and brick structures: These are located around the Parinirvana Temple and Stupa. These are the remains of various monasteries and votive stupas constructed in the ancient period.[29]
  • Several museums, meditation parks and other temples based on architecture of various Asian countries.

International relations

Kushinagar has one official sister city:

Notable people

  • Mr. Dharikshan Mishra, Bhojpuri poet
  • Mr. Sachchidananda Vatsyayan 'Agyeya', noted Hindi writer
  • Mr. Vijay Kumar Dubey, politician and Member of Parliament for Kushi Nagar
  • Mr. Ram Nagina Mishra, former Member of Parliament
  • Mr. Baleshwar Yadav, former Lok Sabha MP
  • Rajesh Pandey, member of 16th Lok Sabha, also served as a Member of Legislative Council in Uttar Pradesh
  • Manya Singh, Indian model and beauty pageant title holder
  • R. P. N. Singh, former member of parliament from Indian National Congress, also served as Minister of State for Road and Transport, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas in the cabinet of former Prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ramesh Ranjan (IAS) - District Kushinagar, Government of Uttar Pradesh - India". kushinagar.nic.in. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census of India: Kushinagar". www.censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  3. ^ "52nd Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India" (PDF). nclm.nic.in. Ministry of Minority Affairs. p. 49. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b Cunningham, Alexander (1871). Four reports made during the years 1862-63-64-65. Vol. 1. Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India: Archaeological Survey of India. pp. 76–85.
  5. ^ "History". Kushinagar District. 20 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta (DN 16), translated from the Pali by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu". Dīgha Nikāya of the Pali Canon. dhammatalks.org. 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  7. ^ "The Buddha's Last Meal". Life of the Buddha. Tullera, NSW, Australia: Buddha Dharma Education Association. 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  8. ^ D.ii.126 ff.; Ud.viii.5; the road from Pāvā to Kushinagar is mentioned several times in the mss. Vin.ii.284; D.ii.162.
  9. ^ a b Davids, T.W.R. (1901). "Asoka and the Buddha-Relics". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland: 397–410. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00028653. JSTOR 25208320. S2CID 163441004.
  10. ^ a b Fleet, JF (1906). "XXIV:The Tradition about the Corporeal Relics of Buddha". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland: 655–671. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00034857.
  11. ^ Liston, D (1837). "Notice of a Colossal Alto-Relievo, known by the name of Mata Koonr, situated near Kussia Tannah, in Pergunnah Sidowa, Eastern Division of Gorakhpur District". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 6: 477–9.
  12. ^ Vogel J Ph. (1950). "Some Buddhist Monasteries in Ancient India". Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 1: 27–32.
  13. ^ "A Tibetan Guide-book to the Lost Sites of the Buddha's Birth and Death", L. A. Waddell. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1896, p. 279.
  14. ^ United Nations (2003). Promotion of Buddhist Tourism Circuits in Selected Asian Countries. United Nations Publications. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-92-1-120386-8.
  15. ^ Kevin Trainor (2004). Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide. Oxford University Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-19-517398-7.
  16. ^ Elizabeth Lyons; Heather Peters; Chʻeng-mei Chang (1985). Buddhism: History and Diversity of a Great Tradition. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-934718-76-9.
  17. ^ Fred S. Kleiner (2009). Gardner's Art through the Ages: Non-Western Perspectives. Cengage. pp. 13, 31. ISBN 978-0-495-57367-8.
  18. ^ Huntington, John C (1986), "Sowing the Seeds of the Lotus" (PDF), Orientations, September 1986: 47, archived from the original (PDF) on 28 November 2014
  19. ^ a b Lars Fogelin (2015). An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism. Oxford University Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-0-19-994822-2.
  20. ^ Akira Hirakawa; Paul Groner (1993). A History of Indian Buddhism: From Śākyamuni to Early Mahāyāna. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 101. ISBN 978-81-208-0955-0.
  21. ^ Gina Barns (1995). "An Introduction to Buddhist Archaeology". World Archaeology. 27 (2): 166–168. doi:10.1080/00438243.1995.9980301.
  22. ^ a b Robert Stoddard (2010). "The Geography of Buddhist Pilgrimage in Asia". Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art. Yale University Press. 178: 3–4.
  23. ^ Richard H. Robinson; Sandra Ann Wawrytko; Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu (1996). The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction. Thomson. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-534-20718-2.
  24. ^ Mark Juergensmeyer; Wade Clark Roof (2011). Encyclopedia of Global Religion. SAGE Publications. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-4522-6656-5.
  25. ^ Asher, Frederick (2009). "From place to sight: locations of the Buddha´s life". Artibus Asiae. 69 (2): 244.
  26. ^ Himanshu Prabha Ray (2014). The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation. Routledge. pp. 74–75, 86. ISBN 978-1-317-56006-7.
  27. ^ Lars Fogelin (2006). Archaeology of Early Buddhism. AltaMira Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-0-7591-1444-9.
  28. ^ "Kushinagar History". kushinagar.nic.in. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g "Places in Kushinagar". kushinager.nic.in. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  30. ^ "उपेक्षित है मल्लों की कुल देवी का स्थान". Dainik Jagran (in Hindi). Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  31. ^ "India-Nepal agree to establish sister-city relations between Lumbini and Kushinagar; check details of MoUs signed today".

Further reading

  • A Literary History of Deoria & Kushinagar by M.A. Lari Azad (USM 1998 Ghaziabad)
  • Patil, D R (1981). Kusīnagara, New Delhi : Archaeological Survey of India.
  • Ujjwal Mishra (A student) says; "You can visit kushinagar for picnic as there is so much ancient history to see along with its the calmest place in whole kushinagar district".

External links

  • Official Photo Gallery of Kushinagar
  • Entry on Kusinara (Kushinagar) in the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names
  • Kushinagar, Archaeological Survey of India, Sarnath Circle
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