Lumbini: Lord Buddha’s Birth Place
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 19, 2010
Location: Lumbini is situated in the Southwestern Nepal amid Tarai.
Climate: Summer 44°C to 28°C, winter 26 °C to 7 °C
Best time to visit: October to March
Nearest International Airport: Tribhuwan International Airport Kathmandu
Nearest Domestic Airport: Lumbini Airport
Must Visits: Buddha Vihar and Ashoka Pillar
Language spoken: Nepalese, Awadhi and Maithali
STD Code: +977-71
Significance: Birthplace of Lord Buddha
Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It is situated 230 km away from Kathmandu in Rubandehi District of Southern Terai (lowland), at an altitude of 600 ft. above sea level. Lumbini, respected by all Buddhists. In 1998, Lumbini was declared as the Fountain of world peace and the pilgrimage for all the peace loving people of the world.
Some important places in Lumbini:
• The Lumbini Garden : This is the site marked by a certain stone pillar erected by the Indian Emperor Ashoka at about 245 B.C. The most important discovery in this place is a stone marked to suggest the exact birthplace of Buddha.
• Mayadevi Temple : This temple, dedicated to the mother of lord Buddha- Maya Devi, was excavated a few years ago. Many sculptures and carving in which the figures and designs are only slightly projecting from their background are seen here.
• Pushkarni pond : This is the pond where Mayadevi is said to have had a bath before giving birth to Buddha.
• Ramagram : It is believed to be the maternal home of Buddha. This is where we can see the biggest stupa, with important relics. It is said that it was built around 600 B.C.
• Lumbini has many new monasteries occupied by different nations. Some notable ones are:
• The Myanmar temple was built with the contribution from Burmese Buddhist. The monastery is an attractive big white structural monument with a golden pinnacle soaring into the sky.
• The China temple, which is a very beautiful pagoda styled temple with many prayer and meditation cells.
• The Korean Temple is a beautifully set temple having many remarkable images of Buddha.
Besides these, there are others like the Nepal Buddhist Temple and the Dharmaswami Buddhist monastery. Other countries like Japan , Sri Lanka , Thailand , Vietnam , etc. are also contributing to build more temples and monasteries.
How to Reach Lumbini?
Lumbini is located in South-western Nepal amidst unending stretches of Tarai. Being the birthplace place of Buddha and a major Buddhist tourism attraction, the place is easily accessible. It is well connected with the network of roads and airlines.
Lumbini is connected to the other parts of Nepal by both roadways and airways. Nepal Transport Corporation buses run from every city in the length and breadth of Nepal to Lumbini. Nevertheless, the better option is to travel by Cabs. It requires a lot of dickering before the rowdy cab drivers will settle for a reasonable fare. In case of airlines, Nepal has as many as 15 domestic airlines that provide their service to commuters. Most of these aircrafts are 20-seater Dakotas that are very comfortable and safe. Some bigger aircrafts such as Airbus 320 also ply on major routes such as Pokhra-Lumbini and Kathmandu-Lumbini.
Lumbini does not have an international airport therefore you have no option but to break your journey at Kathmandu and take another flight
Lumbini Tourist Attractions:
Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, in southwestern Nepal, nearly twenty-five hundred years ago. Since then, the city has always remained the focal point of Buddhism. Today’s Lumbini is a small sleepy town in the southwestern Tarai plains of Nepal, where the ruins of the old city can still be seen. The followers of both Hinyana and Mahayana sects of Buddhism revere Lumbini. The restored gardens and surroundings of Lumbini have the remains of many of the ancient Stupas and monasteries. A large stone pillar that is said to be erected by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 250 BC bears an inscription about the birth of the Buddha.
The most important attraction of Lumbini is the holy temple of Maya Devi. The temple has a stone sculpture of Maya Devi in labor pain. The image shows her holding the branch of a tree while Buddha is getting birth. The temple is very popular among the women having some or other fertility problem. One cannot miss the heart-melting cries of such women as they pray for an off spring at this place. To the south of the temple is a pond where Queen Maya Devi is said to have bathe and given her son his first purification bath that is compulsory in Hinduism.
The main complex have large stretches of Bo Tree plantations. This the same tree that is shown in the sculpture in the Maya Devi temple. Another variety of the same plant is known as Banyan; the same plant under which Buddha got enlightened. The Bo plantation and a newly planted forest nearby lend an air of tranquility to the surrounding. Lumbini is now being developed under the Master Plan of the Lumbini Development Trust, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the restoration of Lumbini and its development as a pilgrimage site.
Kapilvastu, near Lumbini, is a prime archeological site. Though very little remains of what was once a flourishing town, the place is a must visit. The place has the ruins of the palace where Lord Buddha spent his formative years. The archeological works that had been done in this area had to pass through various roadblocks including financial constraint. The archeologists had dug out as many as 14 different layers of human habitation in this area. The oldest among these dates back to 8th century before Christ. The place is a must for archeological and historical buffs!
Apart from its religious and historical significance, Lumbini offers cultural insights into the village life of southwestern Nepal. The must catch event in this part of Nepal is the weekly communal Bazaar. This bazaar is organized every Monday therefore try to coincide your visit with that. The weekly bazaar looks like the scene taken straight out of the Arabian fables. Villagers come from miles around to buy grains, spices, pottery, jewelry, saris and various other items. With colorful merchandise spread out under the Mango trees and the air perfumed with incense, the place looks like the ocean of humanity. You can buy souvenirs for your dear ones and side-by-side witness the local life in Lumbini.
After centuries of neglect from travelers, backpackers and archeologists, Lumbini is finally scaling the chart. Serious preservation work has only just been started and efforts are being done on the war footing to save this historical marvel.