Kushinagar or Kusinagar is a rural town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 52 km off Gorakhpur, in northern India.
In ancient times, it was known as Kasia, a celebrated center of the Mallas kingdom of ancient India. Later, it would be known as Kusinara, one of four holy sites for Buddhists. At this location, near the Hiranyavati River, Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana, and was cremated.
Many of the stupas and viharas in ruin here date back to 3rd century BC - 5th century when prosperity was at peak. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka is known for contributing to significant construction at this site.
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 later discovered, was covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest. After E.Buchanan, an officer of the East India Company, arrived in the course of his survey-work, H. H. Wilson, in 1854, made the suggestion that the identity of Kushinagar and Kasia were the same. Work resumed around 1861-1862 when General Alexander Cunningham, an archaeological surveyor, would prove the site to be of Gautama Buddha's passing. A British officer named Mr. A.C.L. Carlleyle followed suit. Excavations began in the late 1800s and many important remnants of the main site such as the Matha Kua and Ramabhar stupa were unveiled.
Today, Kushinagar is a frequented pilgrimage site for tourists and temples have been constructed by Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Japanese Buddhists along the ruins of monasteries and stupas. For Buddhists, this is one of four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath.