The Mahaparinirvana Stupa Kushinagar

Monday, February 2, 2015


The initial excavation work that led to the discovery of Buddhist monuments that we see today in Kushinagar (India) is credited to the 19th-century British archaeologist A.C.L. Carlleyle. In 1876, Callleyle spotted a mound here about 60 feet high that appeared to be the remains of some very old structure. Upon some cleaning and removing of the debris, a brick Stupa began to emerge that had a radius of about 15 meters. This was the Mahaparinirvana Stupa of Kushinagar. Later a temple - The Mahaparinirvana Temple also emerged to the west of the Stupa. Both the Stupa and the temple had been built on the same brick platform which was 2.25 meters above the ground. The Stupa at its peak was approximately 65 meters above the surface of the platform. Carlleyle saw that the Stupa had already been subjected to repeated repairs and re-construction. It was like the older Stupa was hidden inside the newer structure built around it. Keep reading...

The Mahaparinirvana Stupa Kushinagar

Later, in 1910, another round of excavation was carried out here. A well was dug into the Stupa from the top and at a depth of 4.75 meters, a brick chamber was discovered. They found a copper vessel with the Chiatya Sutra engraved on it. It was determined that the Stupa and the adjacent temple were both constructed by a Buddhist monk named 'Haribala'.

Below this chamber they found another square chamber on which a Stupa 2.82 meter high had been built. There was a statue of Lord Buddha in Padmasan (meditation posture) to the west of this Stupa. The archaeologists found a piece of burnt wood in this small Stupa that was believed to be a relic from Lord Buddha's cremation. Nothing else was found in that excavation. Later in 1927, a group of Burmese Buddhist devotees donated money to reconstruct the Mahaparinirvana Stupa. The smaller Stupa discovered inside along with the articles found in there were sealed inside and a 75 feet high Stupa was constructed around it. This structure remained so until 1965 in which year a rainstorm caused damage to it. Later between 1980 and 1985, the Archaeological Survey of India got the Mahaprinirvana Stupa restored. The old smaller Stupa and the articles discovered earlier in it were left inside.

Both Mahaparinirvana Stupa and Mahaparinirvana Temple are open to public daily from sunrise to sunset. Entry is free.







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Posted by Narinder Singh
 

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email: desiyatri@gmail.com)

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