Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini; the Birthplace of Lord Buddha

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 1, 2011

                                                   ©UNESCO/Nipuna Shrestha – Maya Devi temple in Lumbini

Lumbini, as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is a sacred place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from across the world. The historic site, located in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, some 300km southwest of the capital Kathmandu, was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1997. The holy area contains the ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashoka Pillar and the Maya Devi Temple with a the Nativity Sculpture and the Marker Stone indicating the place of Lord Buddha’s birth.

About the Project

The project “Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini; the Birthplace of Lord Buddha, World Heritage Property” is funded by the Government of Japan within the framework of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage.

The project is being implemented by the UNESCO Kathmandu Office, in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology of Nepal’s Ministry of Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliament Affairs and Culture, and the Lumbini Development Trust.

The project implementation started with the signature of the Plan of Operation on 16 July 2010 by the Government of Nepal and UNESCO. The project takes into account urgent and critical works focused on conserving the outstanding universal value of the site and protecting it from any irreversible negative impacts by fostering the conservation of the Ashoka Pillar, the Marker Stone and the Nativity Sculpture; providing a survey of the archaeological vestiges within and around the property; a review on the present state of the Sacred Garden in respect to the Kenzo Tange Master Plan; and establishing an integrated management process for the entire site. 

Project Components

  • Conservation of archaeological remains and architectural optimization of the shelter, including mitigation of the micro-climate and hydrological effects inside the Maya Devi Temple
  • Archaeological identification, evaluation and interpretation of Lumbini
  • Review of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for the Sacred Garden
  • Establishment of an integrated management process for Lumbini

Relevant Organizations include: the World Heritage Centre; the Ministry of Federal Affairs; the Constituent Assembly, Parliament Affairs and Culture; the Department of Archaeology; the Japanese Embassy;  Durham University (UK); the Department of Urban Engineering; the University of Tokyo; the  Lumbini Development Trust; and the  Lumbini International Research Institute.

International Scientific Steering Committee (ISSC)

The International Scientific Steering Committee (ISSC) – composed of representatives of the Ministry of Federal Affairs; Constituent Assembly, Parliament Affairs and Culture, notably its Department of Archaeology (DOA); Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), Japan, UNESCO and international experts – is providing technical leadership.

International Experts

  • Yukio Nishimura

Prof. Yukio Nishimura, a city planner, was born in 1952 in Japan. He trained as a physical planner at the Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo, where he got a BA, MA and D. Eng. in planning. He teaches urban planning, urban design and urban conservation planning at the University of Tokyo.

Prof. Nishimura, as a successor of the Kenzo Tange Chair at the University of Tokyo, is familiar with the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for the Lumbini World Heritage property. He will supervise as a project team leader and as a chairperson of the ISSC. He will also work on project component three: “Reviewing of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for the Sacred Garden”.


  • Robin Coningham

Prof. Coningham, was born in 1965 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. He is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and holds the Chair in Archaeology, at the Department of Archaeology, Durham University, England. He has conducted extensive field work in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He was also involved in a reinvestigation of the birthplace and childhood home of Lord Buddha in Nepal. He will supervise the implementation of the project as the adviser for archaeological investigation and as a member of the ISSC. His team will work on project component two: “Archaeological Identification, Evaluation and Interpretation of Lumbini”.


  • Constantino Meucci

Dr. Constantino Meucci was born in 1946 in Rome, Italy. He completed a degree in Industrial Chemistry at Rome University in 1972 and qualified as a professional chemist in 1980. He has worked on several restoration sites as a scientific adviser. He is experienced in interventions on wall paintings, stone materials, organic materials and archaeological artefacts. He is the author of more than fifty scientific publications on Italian and foreign periodicals. Dr. Meucci will supervise the implementation of the project as a material conservation expert and as a member of ISSC. He will work on project component one: “Conservation of Archaeological Remains and Architectural Optimization of the shelter, including Mitigation of the Micro-Climate.”


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