Lumbini, for the word, is a place of great significance. It is the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha and, in a sense, the birthplace of Buddhism. Lumbini is the epitome of peace and tranquility. This place has achieved the almost impossible task of bringing nations closer with the shared goal of conserving Buddhism’s culture. Lumbini is proof that Nepal truly is a land of never-ending peace and love.
Lumbini is located in the district of Rupandehi at an altitude of only 150m above sea level. It is only a 10 hours’ drive from Kathmandu. Before 1896, Lumbini’s existence was unknown to the world and was known by the name of Rupandehi. In 1896, after discovering the Ashoka pillar, the place came to be known as Lumbini. In 1997, Lumbini was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which reinstated its value to the world.
According to ancient Buddhist scriptures, the Mayadevi Temple is where Queen Maha Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam in 623 BCE, who later became known as Gautam Buddha after attaining enlightenment. With further excavation, archaeologists could uncover the exact place where Buddha was conceived, which now resides in the Lumbini garden.
According to ancient Buddhist and Jain texts, Queen Maya travelled from Kapilvastu when she stopped to rest and a bath in Lumbini’s gardens. She went into labor and gave birth to a son and bathed him in a nearby pond known as the Pushkarini pond.
The inscription in the Ashoka pillar, which is said to have been erected by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE to commemorate his visit, is further proof that Buddha was born here. There are more than 25 monasteries built in the memory of Buddha from several countries like Vietnam, China, Thailand, France, Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Germany, and so on.
The ancient architectural remains of the Buddhist Bihars and stupas dating back to the 3rd century BC to the 15th century AD, proving Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site from an early age. The ancient and new architecture combined is alluring and a feast to the eyes.
Preserved along with other structures is also the lapis lazuli sculpture of Queen Maya giving birth to Buddha and stone slabs marked as the place where Buddha took his first seven steps. The sculpture has been erected under the Sala tree’s descendent, under whose shade Buddha was born. This site has also been recorded in the accounts of Chinese pilgrim Seng-Tsai.
The peaceful surrounding along the Lumbini garden is the perfect place for meditation. Travellers find themselves at ease in the relaxed environment, closing their eyes and soaking up the vast spiritual energy which has remained even after more than 2200 years. Visitors can also look up the Panditvarma Vipassana Center to enjoy yoga and meditation and interact with the monks who have dedicated their life to Buddhism. Many Buddhist pilgrims also visit Lumbini in the hope of finding enlightenment themselves.
The plain paddy fields and hot temperatures add on to the beauty of Lumbini. Watching the sun setting through the gold and glimmering paddy fields presents a moment of tranquillity. Thus, Lumbini’s spiritual land is a place everyone must visit at least once in their lives.