Kushinagar, one of the principal centers of Buddhist pilgrimage, is the place where Lord Buddha left his physical self and attained Mahaparinirvana (“Great Nirvana”). The credit for bringing this ancient site to light goes to General A. Cunningham and A.C.I. Carlyl, who, after excavating the site in 1861, established its antiquity for the first time. The remains of the Parinirvana Stupa and Parinirvana Temple, when rediscovered, were covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest. Later, between 1904 and 1912, several excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India at Kushinagar confirmed its identity. Today, Kushinagar is a much-frequented pilgrimage site for Indian and foreign tourists, and temples have been constructed by Indian, Chinese, Sri Lankan, Thai, Burmese, South Korean, Tibetan and Japanese Buddhists, alongside the ruins of monasteries and stupas.