International airport to come up in Kushinagar

By Pawan Kumar Shah, PTI, May 31, 2009

Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh (India) -- An international airport is soon to come up in Kushinagar, the destination of Buddha 'Parinirvana' or final salvation, where Buddha breathed his last.

The place is connected by road only. Although it has an airstrip, it is not enough to meet increasing volume of tourists from across the world.

The government has hence taken a decision to develop an international airport in the city.

"It is a backward area and secondly it is the place of Parinirvana, final nirvana of Buddha, the place where Buddha breathed his last. An international airport was important here. This would help develop the area. If international level facilities were developed here, tourism will get a boost," said Avinash Avasthi, Director, Tourism, Uttar Pradesh.

The residents are happy that the airport will boost tourism and help generate employment for the locals.

"There are a large number of local and international tourists that come here every year. But the place is only connected by road. There are no railways. An international airport would boost tourism, especially international tourism. It will also generate employment opportunities for the locals," said Manish Mishra, a resident.

Kushinagar is a famous destination for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.

Almost forty thousand tourists from China, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and parts of India visit the holy city every year.

Kushinagar is one of the four important Buddhist pilgrimage sites relating to the life of the Buddha. The other three being, Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Lumbini in Nepal and Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh.