Lumbini (Buddhist Pilgrimages in Nepal )
About Lumbini: Lumbini is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. In fact, it is one of the only
four places the Lord Buddha himself identified as sites for future pilgrimage, that is, the place of his birth. In 249 BCE, Ashoka visited Lumbini,
erected a stupa in honor of the birthplace of the Buddha, and granted Lumbini tax-free status. Like many other Buddhist pilgrimage sites,
after the decline in popularity that the Buddhist philosophy encountered, beginning as early as the 6th century and going on till the 15th
century, Lumbini diminished in influence, and thereafter remained neglected for several centuries. In 1896, Nepalese archeologist, in
collaboration with Alois Anton Feuhrer, uncovered the long since obscured Ashokan Stupa, thus bringing Lumbini back to the limelight in
the spectrum of Buddhist patronage. It was granted the World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1997..
Geographical Information : Lumbini is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, approximately 22 km from Bhairahawa,
Nepal . It has a warm temperate climate
with dry winters and warm summers. The best time to visit Lumbini is between October and March.
The significance of Lumbini lies in the fact that is believed to be the birthplace of the Buddha. In 623 BCE, according to the
Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi, while travelling through Lumbini in the month of May, gave birth to a boy shortly thereafter
named Gautama at this site, under a Sal tree. He went on to achieve enlightenment and become the Lord Gautama Buddha. It is believed
that at numerous other sites near Lumbini, other Buddhas had been born, attained enlightenment and superseded their earthly bodies.
En route to Devadaha, where he preached the Devadaha Sutta, Gautama Buddha revisited the place of his birth.
The languages prominent in this region are Nepalese, Awadhi, and Maithali.
General Information ||
How To Reach ||
Mayadevi Temple ||
The Ashokan Pillar||
The Buddhist Monastery||
Nearby Place ||
General Information About Lumbini
Country : Nepal
State : Rupendehi
Climate :44 degrees C in the summer to and 7 degrees C in winter
Best Time to Visit :September last to mid-March.
Significance : Lord Buddha birth place
Language : English, Nepali, Hind
Buddhist Festivals :
Tourist Attraction in Lumbini
Mayadevi Temple : perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the Mayadevi Temple is that scholars insist it was built on the foundation of more than one previous temple, and perhaps even the Stupa placed there by Ashoka came before the temple which has been excavated. Inside the temple there was found a sandstone sculpture depicting this very temple and the birth of the Buddha. To the south of the temple is the Puskarni bathing pool, where Mayadevi is believed to have bather before the birth, and where the Buddha had his first bath.
The Ashokan Pillar : this was unearthed in 1896, and the inscription explains it to have been built on Ashoka’s visit to Lumbini in 249 BCE. It serves as authentication to the claim of Lumbini being the birth place of the Buddha, and is one of the few pieces of irrefutable evidence substantiating the prominence of the little Himalayan town in the context of Buddhism and Buddhist pilgrimage. Close to the pillar flows a river locally called ‘Ol’. A 1996 expedition under the waters of this river revealed a “flawless stone”, also placed there by Ashoka during the same visit, supposedly to denote the precise location of the birth of the Buddha.
The Buddhist Monastery :this is built in the style of modern Buddhist shrines in Nepal, but the walls of the monasteries are particularly noteworthy, with a few remarkable murals suggesting medieval influence. The holy site is bordered off in a way that ensures that within its bounds there is the exclusive presence of numerous monasteries. Within this area, there are no commercial establishments of any kind. The site is roughly 5 km in length and 1.5 km in width.
Places near Lumbini:
Kapilvastu :this is where the Gautama, before becoming the Buddha, spent his life in extravagance till the age of thirty. Premonitions of holy men warning his father, king Shuddhodhan of the threat of Gautama renouncing worldly worries upon leaving Kapilvastu made the king take extreme measures in terms of containing the child in the town, zealously furnishing it with luxury. It is located 27 km south of Lumbini, and is said to still have a resonance of the charm that was constructed for the growing Gautama Buddha.
Gotihawa:about 7 km southwest of Lumbini, Gotihawa is a village which has another Ashokan pillar standing on a slab. Unfortunately, the top part of the pillar is missing, and believed to be irretrievably lost. The bottom part, around 3.6 m high, is still intact and next to it is a large stupa built of Mauryan bricks.
Sagarhawa :about 14 km north, Sagarhawa is forest area, in the centre of which is a massive rectangular structure accordingly named Lumbusagar. In 1895, Feuhrer excavated this site and branded the ruins the ‘Palace of the Massacre of Shakyas’.
How to reach Lumbini:
Airways : the closest airport to Lumbini is at Bhairahawa, 22 km away. Bhairahawa airport has regular flights to and from Kathmandu Airport, which in turn is accessible to more than 20 international airlines in Asia and the Middle East.
Railways : the closest station would be Nautanwa, on the Indian railroad, but the reliability of passenger trains is fairly inconsistent, and roadways, taxis in particular, would generally be a more prudent choice.
Roadways : Lumbini is approximately 6 hours away from Kathmandu and less than hour’s drive away from Bhairahawa. Buses from Bhairahawa to Lumbini leave at regular intervals, and are an option from Kathmandu as well.