Name of individual Silk Roads component properties: Buddhist Remains of Kushinagar
Brief description of the component property:
The Monuments of Kushinagara are situated in three distinct groups viz., The main site, comprising the Main Stupa and Nirvana temple with the other surrounding monuments, the Shrine called Matha-Kuar to its south-west and the Cremation Stupa (Rambhar).
The Main Site comprising the Main Stupa which is a huge mass of brick work inclusive of its pinnacles may once have reached the height of nearly 45.72m. The plinth on which the Stupa and the temple were erected was 2.74 mtr. higher than the ground level. Above it stood the cylindrical neck of the Stupa to a height of 5.49m fringed along its top with the remnants of a row of decorative and miniature pilasters. The Nirvana Temple stands on the same plinth as the stupa behind it. A reclining Nirvana Statue lies inside the temple. The statue measures 6.1m in length and is executed out of one block of sandstone. This statue had originally been installed in the fifth century A.D.
The Western Group:- In this group around the Stupa and Nirvana temple are to be seen a number of structures which were raised from time to time as complements to the nucleolus formed by the most sacred monuments. In this area some structures representing monasteries were built earlier than the fourth century to the west in front of the temple is seen a very large block of buildings covering a length of 109.73m of them, the one to the north measures 45.72m square extremely. It represents the largest monastery so far discovered at the place and comprises in fact not one but two monasteries of different periods and structures had been constructed in about the eight century and deserted some time after A.D 900.
The Southern Group: - The monument in this group represents mostly small sized Stupas raised from time to time by devout pilgrims in token of their pious visits to the holy monuments. All the monuments of this group including two Stupas stand out rather prominently because of the carved brick and ornamental pilasters and cornices of their basements. Further there is an interesting oblong structure to the north of these. The large structure on the eastern portion of this group belongs to the declining days of Buddhism at Kushinagara.
The Eastern Group: - The most important and interesting of the ruins in the eastern group is the large platform like brick structure a little obliquely oriented towards the main monument what sacred monument is represented by this quint building it is difficult to say but it may have been surmounted by a stupa of an uncommon type. Along the eastern side of the plinth of the main monument are also to be seen a few small sized stupas partly concealed in the plinth.
The Northern Group: - Monuments of this group may be assigned to the Mauryan Age. In this group are seen a number of small stupas raised by pilgrims as in the southern group.
The Matha-Kuar Shrine: - It is located in south-west of the main side. At this site is installed a colossal statue of Buddha locally called Matha-Kuar, made of Blue stone with inscription. In this part of the site same brick structure has been found and one inscription was also noticed by Carlleyle. It has records of the construction of the monastery and the chapel attached to it in the reign of a local chief of the Kalchuri dynasty probably Bhimata II.
The cremation stupa (Ramabhar):- It is situated at 1.61 km. east of Matha-Kuar site. There is a sheet of water, called Ramabhar Jhil or pond, close to it, which dries up in summer. This large stupa with a huge circular drum 31 m. in diameter rests on a circular plinth, consisting of two or more terraces, and 46 m. in diameter at the base. From the site during excavation so many Buddhist inscribed clay seals have been found. The other excavated ruins near by this represented the usual minor stupas raised by pilgrims from time to time.
Statement of authenticity and/or integrity of the individual component property:
- It is still placed amidst a calm setting not much disturbed by the forces of urbanization, industrialization or modernization.
- The site is well preserved and retains complete authenticity of ancient character and ambience.
- Ever since it's coming into being, the site is protected by ASI and as such is preserved on archaeological principles and norms. Throughout the period, repairs have been carried out using original materials and integrity of site remains undisturbed.
Comparison of the Silk Roads component property with other similar properties, whether on the Silk Roads or not, and the reasons that make the property stand out:
Though the contemporary brick stupas and monasteries are found elsewhere also, but the historic event attached to it (Buddha's Nirvana) gives it a sanctity not enjoyed by others. Added to it the placement of a huge reclining Buddha image of stone makes it unique among the usual structural brick stupas. The Kushinagara can be compared with other Buddhist sites like Vaishali, Bodhgaya (Bihar), Kausambi, Piparahwa, Sankisa, Sarnath (U.P.) which were closely associated with the main events of the life of Lord Buddha.