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Published on Feb 3, 2009
Set against a pastoral landscape, the small hamlet of Kushinagar, 53 km west of Gorakhpur, is revered as the site of the Buddha's Mahaparinirvana, his death and cremation, that marked his final liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth. During Buddha's lifetime, Kushinara, as it was then called, was a small town in the kingdom of the Mallas, surrounded by a thick forest cover. It remained forgotten, until the late nineteenth century, when archaeologists rediscovered the site, and began excavations. Today, Kushinagar is rediscovering its roots, as a centre for international Buddhism, and is home to many viharas, including a Tibetan gompa devoted to Sakyamuni, a Burmese vihara, and temples from China and Japan.