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Lumbini is believed to be the birthplace of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. It is a peaceful place located in the western Terai of Nepal, close to the Indian border, 22km west of the towns of Bhairawa and Sunauli.
There is not much here except a few monuments and some monasteries. It is believed that Maya Devi, the mother of the Buddha, gave birth to Siddhartha, while she was traveling to her parent’s house. It is said that she went into labor, then she bath in the pond and walk 25 steps and then delivers here child.
The main area is known as the “Sacred Garden.” It only takes a couple of hour to see everything. Most people who come here, visit for the day from Bhairawa. The best time to visit Lumbini is the early morning or late afternoon, and the hot mid-afternoon is best avoided.
Most people come just for a day trip and usually stay the night in Bhairawa or Sunauli 22 km away. It is possible to stay in the very basic facilities at some of the monasteries for a donation.
Sometimes the bathrooms can be quite depressing. The Theravada monastery has a basic dharmshala. It may be possible to stay at the Tibetan Monastery, outside of the winter months. It may also be possible to stay at the Dae Sun Suk Gu Sa Monastery.
- Lumbini Hokke Hotel, Lumbini, Nepal: several km north of the main site, is a luxury hotel with rooms. It is managed by Japanese and is used mainly by Japanese Buddhist pilgrims. It has rooms with Japanese furniture. It is one of the best hotels in Nepal.Hotel Lumbini Garden New Crystal, Lumbini, Nepal: is newly built. Pool, health club and meditation center.
- Buddha Maya Garden Hotel, Lumbini, Nepal:
- Hotel Pawan International, Lumbini, Nepal:
- Hotel Nirvana, Lumbini, Lumbini, Nepal:
- Lumbini Buddha Garden, Lumbini, Nepal:
- Hotel Rainbow, Lumbini, Nepal: has air-cooled rooms. It is over-priced and is right on the highway so can be noisy.Mikasa Hotel, Lumbini, Nepal: is a new place with good rooms.
- Lumbini Village Lodge, Lumbini Mehalbar, Nepal: about 2 km east of main site, has simple rooms. Basic meals also avaible.
- Lumbini Buddha Hotel, Lumbini, Nepal: is a mid-range place with hot water and air-cooled rooms. It has a restaurant. It is southwest of the Sacred Garden.
- The Lumbini Garden Restaurant, near the main parking lot (car park), is a decent place that has Indian and Western dishes. The is an eating place in the compound of the Theravada Monastery
The Indian Emperor Ashoka (249 BC) visited Lumbini and erected an inscribed Ashokan Pillar on the spot of Buddha's birth. The inscription of the pillar (the oldest in Nepal) declares that Ashoka granted Lumbini tax-free status in honor of Buddha’s birth. It is 6m high and half of it is beneath the ground. It is behind the Maya Devi Temple, to the west of the temple. Emperor Ashoka erected many other pillars throughout India. The carved top of the pillar has never been found.
Maya Devi Temple
There used to be is a temple here dedicated to Maya Devi, Buddha’s mother. Parts of the temple are over 2,000 years old. It is believed that the temple was located where the Buddha was born. There used to be a pipal tree here that some people believed to be the tree that Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha under.
In 1993 the temple was demolished and the tree cut down and an archaeological excavation has been taken place. A commemorative reddish-brown stone (70 cm long) on top of a platform has been discovered 5m (16 ft) below the old location of the temple. It is said that Ashoka placed a memorial stone at the place where the Buddha took birth. The stone was found where according a Buddhist literature, where the distance from the pond where the Buddha is supposed to have taken birth.
Excavation point to the fact that there are remains of a Gupta period (4th to 6th century), is on top of foundations from earlier Kushana and Mauryan periods. There is a bas-relief sculpture of Buddha’s birth, said to date to 14th century that used to be in the old temple.
There is a pond next to the temple and just south of the Ashoka pillar, where Maya Devi is said to have bathed in, before (some say after) the delivery of the Buddha. There are some ruined foundations of stupas and buildings dating from the 2nd century to the 9th century.
There are heavily restored brick foundations of stupas and buildings, which date from the second century BC to the ninth century AD. There are two modern monasteries. The Tibetan Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar was established by Chogye Trichen Rinpoche and built by the king of Mustang. It has some aged paintings and gilded Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Sri Lankan Pilgrims Rest House, Lumbini, Nepal: about a half-hour walk (3km) from the Sacred Garden, is a large modern place that has clean rooms with common bath and hot water. Dorm beds arealso avaible. It has a restaurant. The Theravada Lumbini Buddha Vihar was built by the Nepal government. It has some Tibetan-style paintings, Newar woodwork and Buddhist images.
Master Plan Area
The government has set aside a large area of land north of the Sacred Garden to build a large pilgrimage centre consisting of monasteries, gardens, fountains and a tourist village. Some work has already been done. Several foreign temples and monasteries have already been built, and over a half a million have been planted. There is an eternal flame, which is supposed to represent the “Light of Asia.” In the east side of the area a site has been set aside for the building of Buddhist monasteries built in the national style from countries from all over the world, with the form of worship from the particular countries.
Some monasteries have already been built. The Chinese Monastery has a large statue of Buddha and is built like a small-Forbidden City. The Myanmar (Burmese) Pagoda was built in the style of the famous Shwedagon temple in Rangoon. There is a Cultural Center. North of the Cultural Center is the large Lumbini Shanti Stupa which is being built. When it is finished it is supposed to be 40m high. The Lumbini Crane Sanctuary is where around 30 endangered sarus cranes live. They are the tallest flying bird. Around 200 or 300 of these cranes live in Nepal. Storks, egrets and other water birds are also here. The area around the master plan has around 150 species of birds.
There is a Buddhist festival in April/May called Buddha Jayanti here to celebrate the appearance of the Buddha. At the same time there is a big Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Nepali month of Vaisakha (April/May), when Hindu come to worship Maya Devi as Rupa Devi, the goddess of Lumbini.
Village Development Committees VDC's & Towns of Rupandehi District:
|Aama||Aanandaban||Amari||Amawa Marchawar||Amuwa Paschim||Asurena|
|Hati Bangai||Hati Pharsatika||Jogada||Kamahariya||Karaiya||Karauta|
|Madhabaliya||Madhuwani||Mainahiya||Makrahar||Man Materiya||Man Pakadi|
|Samera Marchwar||Semalar||Shankar Nagar||Siddharth Nagar||Sikatahan||Silautiya|
|Sipawa||Souraha Pharsatikar||Suryapura||Tama Nagar||Tarkulaha||Tenahawa|