Friday, December 28, 2007

A Pilgrimage Special: At Kusinagar -the Site of Parinirvana

Leaving India for Nepal was a fantastic experience. It was towards evening when we left Kapilavastu for Lumbini. The road to Nepal was bad and it was a bumpy ride all the way as we passed through hamlets where villagers could be seen gathering outside their homes or going about their chores. At night, oil lamps were lit and occasionally in little shops, a small motor may be used to light up a little bulb. All along the way, people can be seen walking or cycling along the isolated road even when it was already pitch dark, thus giving me the impression that there were actually many people and activities going on around these remote areas where there was no electricity or piped water. I really wonder how the locals live and no, I would not want to go for a home stay here! The hotel in Lumbini was fine though and we had no difficulty getting through the customs at the congested border. We had visited Mayadevi temple the next day and following there had left Nepal again for Kusinagar in India which was 130 km and 6 hours ride away. Kusinagar was another important site for our pilgrimage, it being the site where Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana (or 'Final Nirvana') after falling ill from eating a meal of a species of mushroom.

At Kushinagar...

Prayers were said at the Parinirvana Temple...

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Have another serving of Travel Pangs!