Lumbini is the birth place of Lord Buddha. It is situated in Rupendehi district in the western Terai of Nepal. It is about 327km southwest from Kathmandu and 22km west from Bhirahawa airport, the nearest airport. Lumbini is a historic place and is listed in the world heritage site by UNNESCO. This World Heritage Site is not only a place of pilgrimage but also an international tourist attraction.
Siddhartha Gautama, the person who became Buddha after his enlightment was born in Lumbini. It is believed that Maya Devi, the mother of the Buddha, gave birth to Siddhartha, while she was traveling. The story tells that she went into labor, and then she bathed in the pond, walked 25 steps and then delivered her child. The Indian Emperor Ashoka (249 BC) visited Lumbini and erected an inscribed Ashokan Pillar on the spot of Buddha’s birth.
All the historical sites are located in the sacred garden that is spread over 8 sq.km. In the sacred garden you can find the Mayadevi Temple, Ashoka Pillar, China Temple, German temple, the sacred pond and more The Mayadevi temple is the main attraction of Lumbini for pilgrims and archaeologists. There is a bas-relief sculpture of Buddha’s birth. Standing west to the Mayadevi shrine is the oldest monument of Nepal, the Ashoka pillar. Ruler Ashoka built the pillar in 249 BC to commemorate his pilgrimage to the sacred site. South of the pillar, is the sacred pond, puskarni, where Queen Mayadevi had taken a bath just before giving birth to the Buddha. Nowadays the holy site is being developed as one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage and a sign of world peace. There are several shrines and monasteries which are built by different countries and in different periods; reflecting the architectural traditions of the countries, and thus giving Lumbini an international feel with a message of universal friendship and brotherhood. Located about 30km east of Lumbini is the beautiful village of Tilaurakot, which is supposed to be the location of the Kapilvastu royal palace where Buddha grew up as the Syakya Dynasty prince, until he renounced it at the age of 29 in search of enlightenment
A visit to Lumbini has helped to bring emancipation to the life of those who are looking for salvation from wrong activities practiced in the world. Most of all it is a very important historical part of Nepal.
There are some other places as well to see nearby as Kapilvastu. You are able to fly to Bhairahawa airport from Kathmandu and you are also able to drive to this holy place by car or bus which is takes about 9hours.
Place to see in Lumbini
The Mayadevi temple
The Mayadevi temple is the heart of all monuments at this holy site. The complex bears proof of many layers of history built over the centuries. The main object of worship here is the Nativity monument. The restored Maya Devi temple was after renovation reopened on May 16, 2003 on the 2547th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. Government of Nepal and LDT together restored the temple; the ground floor consists of the remains of the foundations of the early Maya Devi temple that in 3rd century BC. The sanctum sanatorium is the birth spot of Lord Buddha.
Some of the Important monuments to be seen around Maya Devi temple
The marker stone:
The marker stone located deeply covered in the sanctum sanatorium pinpoints the exact place of the birth of Lord Buddha, which was discovered after the careful excavation of the Maya Devi temple site in 1996. The marker stone now covered with bulletproof glass.
The Puskarini or Holy Pond:
On the southern side of the Ashokan Pillar is the holy pond, the Puskarini pond, believed to be the holy pond where Maya Devi took a bath just before giving birth to the lord Buddha. This is also the place where the baby prince Siddhartha was given his first purification bath. The pond has terraced steps and is rapt by wonderfully covered bricks.
The Ashokan Pillar:
The Ashokan Pillar bears the first epigraphic proof relating to the birthplace of Lord Buddha. This is the most remarkable monument and a real historic document of birthplace of Lord Buddha in Lumbini. The inscription engraved by Emperor Asoka is still intact and testifies the genuineness of the birthplace. The text written in Brahmi script and Pali language is translated in English as well.
Sightseeing around Lumbini
Located about ten kilometers northwest of Taulihawa, the capital of Kaplivastu district, is a rectangular fortified area commonly known as Arorakot, which is believed to be the natal town of kanakmini Buddha. There are remains of very old moat and the strengthening made of bricks. A brick wrinkled will can be seen in the south and an eminent mound is toward the northwest.
Situated about five kilometers southwest of Taulihawa, there is an amazing village called Gotihawa where an Ashokan pillar is situated. The lower portion is 3.5m high and still intact, the rest is broken and lost. A massive stupa seen on the northeast of the pillar.
It is situated at about two kilometer northwest of Taulihawa on a roadside is the partly ruined village of Kudan.
Situated at about 7 kilometers northwest of Taulihawa is another place of archaeological importance. The place has a quadrangular pond surrounded by bushes locally known as Niglisagar. On the western bank of the pond there are two broken pieces of the Ashokan pillar, the longer one lying flat on the ground while the shorter ones stand erect. The pillar bears two peacocks on the top.
Approximately 13 kilometer north side of Tulihawa is the forest of Sagarhawa. In the midst of forest here is a huge rectangular pond, locally knows as Lumbusagar or long pond.
Located about 34 kilometers to the northeast of Lumbini, Devdaha is supposed to be the maternal home of Prince Siddharth. Siddhartha’s wife Princess Yosodhara was also from Devdaha
Museum in Lumbini:
Situated in the cultural Zone is the Lumbini museum. The museum contains Mauryan and Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra- cotta fragments, and stone and metal sculptures. It also possesses an extensive collection of stamps from various countries depicting Lumbini and the Buddha.
It is located 27km west of Lumbini in the village of Tilaurakot. The museum holds coins, pottery and toys dating between the 7th century BC and 4th century AD. The museum also has good collection of jewelry and other ornaments of that time.
Lumbini International Research Institute:
Situated opposite to the Lumbini Museum, provides research facilities for the study of Buddhism and religion in general. Run jointly by the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) and the Reyukai of Japan, LIRI contains some 12000 books on religion, philosophy, art and architecture.