In news– Recently, the Indian Prime Minister inaugurated Kushinagar International Airport.
About Kushinagar Airport-
- It will be Uttar Pradesh’s third international airport.
- The airport is spread across 3600sqm.
- The new terminal is equipped to handle 300 passengers during peak hours.
- At present, Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Lucknow and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Varanasi are operational in the state.
- Another one is coming up at Jewar in Gautam Budh Nagar.
Historical significance of Kushinagar-
- The ancient city of Kushinagar is the final resting place of Gautama Buddha, where he attained Mahaparinirvana after his death.
- It is also at the centre of a Buddhist tourist circuit, which includes Lumbini (Nepal), Sarnath and Bodhgaya.
- Other Buddhist destinations nearby include Nalanda, Sravasti and Kapilavastu.
- According to one theory, Kushinagar was the capital of Kosala Kingdom and according to Ramayana it was built by King Kush, son of Rama, protagonist of the epic Ramayana.
- As per Buddhist tradition Kushavati was named prior to the king Kush.
- The naming of Kushwati is believed to be due to the abundance of Kush grass found in this region.
- The present Kushinagar is identified with Kusavati (in the pre-Buddha period) and Kushinara (in the post-Buddha period).
- Kushinara was the capital of Mallas which was one of the sixteen mahajanpads of the 6th century BCE.
- However, modern Kushinagar came into prominence in the 19th century with archaeological excavations carried out by Alexander Cunningham, the first Archeological Surveyor of India and later followed by C.L. Carlleyle who exposed the main stupa and also discovered a 6.10 meters long statue of reclining Buddha in 1876.