The capital of the Mallas and the scene of the Buddha’s death. At that time it was a small city, “a branch-township with wattle-and-daub houses in the midst of the jungle,” and Ānanda was, at first, disappointed that the Buddha should have chosen it for his Parinibbāna. But the Buddha pointed out to him that in ancient times it had been Kusāvatī, the royal city of Mahā-Sudassana. DN.ii.146ff. It was twelve leagues in length and twelve in breadth, prosperous and full of people, like Āḷakamandā. It was then at the head of eighty-four Towns. SN.iii.144. DN.ii.170f.
Between Kusinārā and Pāvā lay the stream of Kakuttha on the banks of which was the Ambavana; beyond that was the Hiraññavatī river.
After the Buddha’s death his body was carried into the city by the northern gate and out of the city by the eastern gate; to the east of the city was Makuṭabandhana, the shrine of the Mallas, and there the body was cremated. For seven days those assembled at the ceremony held a festival in honour of the relics. DN.ii.160f.
As the scene of his death, Kusinārā became one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha to be fit places of pilgrimage for the pious, the other three being Kapilavatthu, Buddhagayā and Isipatana. DN.ii.140 Mention is made of other visits paid to Kusinārā by the Buddha, prior to that when his death took place. Thus, once he went there from Āpaṇa and having spent some time at Kusinārā, proceeded to Ātumā. The Mallas of Kusinārā were always great admirers of the Buddha, even though not all of them were his followers, and on the occasion of this visit they decided that any inhabitant of Kusinārā who failed to go and meet the Buddha and escort him to the city, would be fined five hundred. It was on this occasion that Rojā the Mallan was converted and gave to the Buddha and the monks a supply of green vegetables and pastries. Vin.i.247f. During some of these visits the Buddha stayed in a wood called Baliharana, and there he preached two of the Kusinārā Suttas AN.i.274f. AN.v.79f. and the “Kinti” Sutta. MN.ii.238f. A third Kusinārā Sutta he preached while staying at Upavattana. AN.ii.79 Ud.iv.2
The people of Kusinārā are called Kosinārakā. DN.ii.167