Kushinagar was the main town of a tribe of people called the Mallas. That it was a small place is clear from ânanda’s description of it as ‘a wattle-and-daub town, a jungle town, a town in the woods’ (D.II,145).
During the Buddha’s last journey, he arrived on the outskirts of Kushinagar, lay down between two sal trees and passed away the next day. For centuries Kushinagar was a center of pilgrimage and there were two stupas there, one marking the place where the Buddha passed away and another marking where the cremation of his body had taken place. There were several temples and monasteries there as well. After Buddhism died out in India, Kushinagar was overgrown with jungle and was only rediscovered in 1861. Excavations in the 20th century revealed numerous ruins including the two stupas.
This spot, the place of the parinibbana, is considered one of the four most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists.
- Kusinagara, D.R.Patil, 1981.