Kushinager: It was in Kusinara (the modern Kasia, known in Sanskrit as Kushinagara), when the third quarter of the night approached, Buddha asked his disciples three times if there were any doubts about the teachings or the disciplines. The Bhikkhus stood silent. "Not one, Ananda, has misgivings. All will eventually reach enlightenment”. Buddha then "laid himself down on his right side, with one leg resting on the other, mindful and self-possessed", between two sal trees in the park Upavattana of the Mallas, uttered his final words, "Listen, Bhikkhus, I say this: all conditioned things are subject to decay. Strive with diligence". He passed into meditation absorptions and entered mahaparinirvana (the great passing away) on the full-moon day of the month of Vesakha (April/May), probably between 487 and 488 BC (though according to Sri Lankan and other southeastern countries, the year was 544-543 BC).
For the next six days the body of the Great Master was laid in state. Preparations were made for his funeral under the direction of Anirudha a cousin and follower of the Buddha. On the seventh day, after honouring the body with perfumes and garlands, it was taken to the Mukutbandhana Chaitya, the sacred shrine of the Mallas. The last ceremony was performed by Maha Kashyapa and the body of the Great Master was cremated with due honour. When the cremation was complete, the Mallas collected the ash as relics, which consisted of a skull, bone, teeth and inner and outer shrouds. The relics were then distributed into eight shares amongst the representatives of the other eight Kingdoms, which constituted ancient northern India. These relics were again subdivided after King Ashoka decided to build 84,000 stupas. Today these relics are enshrined in stupas across Asia.
The statue was lying on broken Singhasan (Resting Seat) and was shattered and broken in many places -The upper part of the leg, both feet, left hand, portion of the left arm and portion of the body about west and upper part of the head of the head were entirely gone. The statue was made of sandstone of a mixed color mostly dark red and clay color probably from the Chunar hills near Benaras.
The length of the statue was about 24' with width of five and half feet. After Carlleyle had completed the excavation of the holy temple, he started repair of both the statue and the temple. When he was going to begin the repair of the statue he found that some other parts of the statue had been built in under it in the Singhasan (seat). He then had a portion of the statue lifted from the Singhasan and dug below the Singhasan and found most of the broken pieces of the statue. Hence, he was able to restore most of the statue.
In the inner doorway of the temple he found ancient cup shaped iron pivot hinges with some portion of the black burnt wood clinging to it. He also found various human bones and many burnt substances in the outer chamber. It appeared that Buddhism had met a very violent end in the ancient city of Kushinara.
The circular dome or the neck of the stupa stood about 13' east of the back wall of the temple. The temple which was repaired by Carlleyle was not the original or most ancient temple as it was evident from the site that it was not only the temple that had been built there, It was surrounded on 3 sides by the ruined remains of the base of the thick wall which extended from the front along the sides within 6 ft. of the present temple.
In this way a major historic discovery was carried out by Carlleyle and it was proved beyond all doubts that this was the famous ancient city of Kushinagar of the 'Malla' kingdom where Lord Buddha had attained parinirvana and was cremated. Today, Kushinagar is rediscovering its roots, as a center for international Buddhism, and home to many viharas, including a Tibetan gompa devoted to Sakyamuni, a Burmese vihara, and temples from China and Japan. The Buddha's last days are described in the Pali text called the Great Parinirvana Sutra.
Kushinagar is 53 kms from Gorakhpur city and the closest airport is Varanasi, 263 km away.