Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Tilaurakot’

Fresh perspective as dig reveals 9 post holes in Buddha’s birthplace

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 10, 2014

Manoj Paudel


KAPILVASTU, FEB 09 – The recent excavations in Tilaurakot have led to the finding of not one or two but nine ‘post holes’, justifying that the supposed ancient Shakya Capital had been in existence well before the birth of Siddhartha, who later went on to become Gautam Buddha.

The post holes were found 50 metres north-west to the security walls of the palace remains. “The recent findings have provided a fresh perspective towards the ancient city of Tilaurakot, substantiating the historical significance of the city,” said Kosh Prasad Acharya, co-director of the excavation project and senior consultant archaeologist at UNESCO.

The findings have further excited the two well known archaeologists, Prof Robin Coningham, chief archaeologist of the Durham University, and Prof Ian Simpson, specialist of Stirling University, involved in the dig. The well preserved post holes had not been found in former excavations. The nine post holes that range from 15 to 20 diametres have been opened to public viewing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chronology of Lumbini-related Events

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 4, 2013

623 BC – 1899 AD | 1900 – 1969 | 1970 – 1979 | 1980 – 1989 | 1990 – 1999 | After 2000

623 BC – 1899 AD

  • 623 BC: Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later becomes Buddha, is born in Lumbini.
  • 249 BC: Emperor Asoka visits Lumbini and erects the Asoka Pillar with Pali language inscriptions in the Brahmi script to pay homage to Buddha’s birthplace.
  • 350- 375 AD: Chinese Monk Sengtsai belonging to the Chin Dynasty visits Lumbini for pilgrimage and writes accounts of his visit.
  • 399-413 AD: Chinese traveller Fa-hsien visits Lumbini and describes the place where Buddha’s mother, Queen Mayadevi, gave birth to Prince Siddharta and where the newborn was bathed.
  • 636 AD: Chinese traveller Hsuan-tsang visits Lumbini. He describes Lumbini as “a deserted place, and wild animals roamed around enough to warn off travellers.”
  • 1312 AD: Ripu Malla, King of the Malla Kingdom of Kathmandu, visits Lumbini. He is the last visitor to leave evidence of his visit prior to the site remaining in oblivion for centuries.
  • 1896: General Khadga Shamsher, Governor of Tansen, organizes an expedition together with German archaeologist Anton Fuhrer. The Asoka Pillar, which marks Buddha’s birthplace, is re-discovered.
  • 1899: Excavation by Purna Chandra Mukherji discovers the main piece of the Nativity Sculpture. Two additional pieces of the sculpture are found and joined together some 85 years later by Tara Nanda Misra.

    1900 – 1969 Read the rest of this entry »

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Loitering in the land of Buddha

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2012

By Sanjib Chaudhary

After reading the article “Tilaurakot Excavations (2023 – 2029 V.S.)” by Tara Nanda Mishra and the book “The Great Sons of the Tharus: Sakyamuni Buddha and Emperor Asoka the Great” by Subodh Kumar Singh, I was dying to visit Tilaurakot, the place where Lord Buddha spent his 29 years.

Tilaurakot – the citadel in shambles

Finally, I got the chance to visit Taulihawa. I was excited – the reason – Tilaurakot and Jagadishpur Lake being in the vicinity. As we crossed the Bhikchhu Chowk, the roundabout that leads the way to Tilaurakot, the sign board was misleading. While one showed the way to Tilaurakot, another had a two headed arrow which was pointing towards two opposite directions. However, the problem was solved within minutes as the locals told us to head northward.

On the way to the Tilaurakot complex is a museum that houses the archaeological findings that were excavated from the complex. We wanted to see the site of King Suddhodana’s palace first, so we skipped the visit to the museum.

Not a single visitor in the complex

Reaching the complex, I had thought that crowds of people will be competing for a glimpse of the ancient kingdom. However, the expectation was shattered within seconds. I could see not a single visitor in the surrounding.

Anybody can enter the complex and surprisingly you don’t need to pay for the entrance. Entering the citadel was like travelling back into the days of Buddha. I could sense the ambience – tranquil and heavenly.

Grand defence of ancient times

At the entrance of the Western Gate, the remnants of 10 feet wide defence wall were astonishing. You can imagine how well protected the citadel was – apart from the defence wall, there used to be a 22 feet wide moat with crocodiles. It was simply impossible for the enemies to enter the city.

The excavations carried out on the western end of the ruins at Tilaurakot, roughly in the central position of the western wall brought to light three different phases of defence walls. Among them, the first wall was made of clay, possibly digging the nearest outside area, and the ditch had been simultaneously converted into a moat. The first mud wall can be dated to 7th-6th Century BC. The second phase of defence wall had also been made of yellowish clay, and had been built during 200 BC. The third wall was erected just over the basement and outer toe of the second phase wall. It was made of bricks and brick-bats in yellowish mud mortar. It can be dated to 150 BC. The walls were surrounded by a deep moat, which was probably fed by water from the Banaganga River.

One of my colleagues tried to step on the wall out of curiosity but was admonished by a staffer wearing an orange tee shirt with the Lumbini Development Trust logo. However, he was himself sleeping on the wall! Read the rest of this entry »

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LUMBINI: Mikel Dunham’s interview with Lisa Choegyal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 11, 2012

Lisa Choegyal is a tourism consultant who works throughout the Asia Pacific region, specializing in pro-poor sustainable tourism planning and marketing. With a background in the private sector, she was for over 20 years Director of Marketing of Tiger Mountain, Nepal’s pioneer trekking, adventure and wildlife operator. Based in Kathmandu, she has worked since 1992 as a senior associate of TRC Tourism (formerly Tourism Resource Consultants) in Wellington, New Zealand  ( Lisa was Team Leader of the ADB Ecotourism Project 2000-2001, DFID tourism monitor on TRPAP 2001-2005, tourism-marketing specialist for the ADB SASEC program 2004-2008, and prepared the UK Aid DFID Great Himalaya Trail development program for SNV Nepal 2006-2010. She serves on a number of non-profit boards related to tourism and conservation, and is New Zealand Honorary Consul to Nepal since 2010.


02-nun at Lumbini
DUNHAM: How do you assess the current framework for development in Lumbini, the framework that is already and has been in place for a long time?

CHOEGYAL: The institutional framework is interesting with so many stakeholders, different factions and historical complexities. UNESCO has a crucial role to play to preserve its world heritage status. The Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) is the obvious main custodian although it needs to be evolved into an Authority rather than a Trust. It is typical of the current political scenario that existing institutions become politicized. . Perhaps it was felt, in this case, that it is easier to create a parallel organization and just blow LDT out of the water. Three billion dollars is a convincing figure.

I’ve worked on Lumbini, from a tourism perspective, on and off, for the last twenty years but most recently with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) tourism infrastructure study, where I was part of a consulting team that designed the South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) tourism components. SASEC is an ADB grouping of five countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India – actually the north and northeast States of India – Nepal and Sri Lanka. We worked for six years as tourism sector advisors on the SASEC program with our firm, TRC Tourism, which is based in Wellington, New Zealand. SASEC was modeled on the ADB’s Greater Mekong Sub-Region tourism program, on which TRC had also been tourism advisors (Cambodia, China (PRC, specifically Yunnan and Guangxi), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam).

In many ways, South Asia was easier than the Mekong because we were dealing with countries that were used to working together in tourism, and had been cooperating and selling joint packages for decades — whereas in the Greater Mekong, many of them had been emerging from long-term conflicts. We were able to make a lot of headway in the tourism sector in South Asia, whereas other SASEC sectors, such as water resources roads and large-scale infrastructure had a much more complex agenda. Read the rest of this entry »

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Faking Lumbini Accelerating

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 13, 2012

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Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 20, 2011

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Lumbini: the Birth-place of Buddha

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 19, 2011

NEPAL has always fascinated the world with her majestic religious sites and picturesque beauty of mountains, and the serenity in the hearts of her people. Though the Nepalese have diverse beliefs and ethnic backgrounds, all unite and respect each other’s culture and religion marking unity in diversity. Nepal is endowed with many historical, religious and cultural aspects of interest. One of these mesmerizing holy places, Lumbini, where the Buddha Shakyamuni was born in 623 BC is situated in the south-western Terai of Nepal and is 298 kms away from the capital. Lumbini evokes a kind of holy sentiment to the millions of Buddhists all over the world. The following menu which takes you to other Important Buddhist Places in the Lumbini and its surroundings.





 Tilaurakot : Kapilavastu







Lumbini is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the Sakya prince, and the ultimate Buddha, the Perfectly Enlightened one. The site of his nativity is marked by the commemorative pillar erected by Indian Buddhist emperor Ashoka over 2,200 years ago and was rediscovered in 1896. Thus, as Ashoka himself acknowledged, Lumbini is a quintessential Buddhist heritage site, currently undergoing a renaissance by the internationally supported Lumbini Development Project


Across the world and throughout the ages, religious people have made pilgrimages. Many great teachers of the Buddhist tradition maintained the practice of pilgrimages, paying respect to the holy sites.


The Buddha himself exhorted his followers to visit what are now known as the four original places of Buddhist pilgrimage: Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar.

The View of Mayadevi Temple with Asokan Pillar and Puskarini Pond in Lumbini as they looked in olden days.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by worldamity on May 8, 2010

[Its periphery has wide brick ramparts and moat all around clearly making it a fortress town. With its layers of habitation proven to go back to 11th-8th century BC and its last built phase ending about 2nd century AD in Kushana period both by Indian Gangetic archeological nanogram comparision using PGW (Painted Grey Ware Culture) and NBP ware (Northern Black Polished Ware Culture) finds as well as C-14 dating and ramparts and moats making it a fortress town as described in Buddhist literature, Tilaurakot is the true and only contender for Kapilavastu.]

By Sudarshan Raj Tiwari[1]

Dear Friends at The Himalayan Voice,

The faithful will continue to claim and feel closeness to the life of Lord Buddha as long as life remains a play of birth, old age, disease and death. Occasional expansion of the idea should be expected but Mr. Terence Phelps is different. He starts by presenting himself like an investigator of forgery of Fuhrer but shows his true colors in his concluding paragraphs where he appeals to Indian nationalism and sectarian lobby rather than to logic.
Except it seems for Mr Phelps and the like, there should be no dispute that Siddhartha Gautam, the Buddha was born at Lumbini of Rupandehi district in Nepal. As for Mr Phelps, when he visited Lumbini in 1994, he could have seen much more than the signboard at Mayadevi temple. The archeological excavation of the Mayadevi temple started in 1992 was already in an advanced state and he could have seen the foundations of the eastern end of the pre-Ashokan brikshya-chaitya temple. Within that year’s archaeological season, the marker stone was exposed and several stages of construction spanning at least 1000 years preceding the seventh century AD Gupta phase saptaratha temple, each structure marking the birth spot as precisely as marked by the Nativity image were opened. Amazingly, even the sacred pond revealed two spring sources, one of warm and another of cold water, (see Lumbini by Basanta Bidari, 2002, page 156 for a drawing of the pond and wells therein) as if to retell the tale told to Huen Tsang. The account of Huen Tsang fits Lumbini quite well once we take the current sacred tank as the springs that came forth when the Lord was born and place the old sacred pond where Mayadevi took her auspicious bath, the one Huen Tsang saw, to its west. The study of charcoal obtained from below the brick plinth of the marker stone has been established to belong to the root of a Sal tree, Dipterocarpaceaetment Shorea. The Asoka tree in Huen Tsang’s account was to the west of Asoka pillar and spaces east of it were built over with stupas and the brikshya-chaitya in the intervening millennium. Read the rest of this entry »

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