Discover the birthplace of Buddha at Lumbini
Whether you are a Buddhist or not, a trip to the ancient village of Lumbini is essential. No trip to Nepal would be complete without time spent at the place of Buddha’s birth. Once reported to be an incredibly beautiful network of gardens and trees which beautified the homes and lives of those who lived here, Lumbini today seems to place a stronger emphasis on the ancient ruins that have survived the centuries. Lumbini in Nepal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the four main holy sites of the Buddhist religion.
Situated at the foot of the beautiful Himalayas in the Lumbini Zone of Nepal, this ancient village was once well reputed across the country for its natural beauty. The entire village was a beautiful garden filled with green Sal trees and small bodies of water – all of which was tended by the Shakyas and Kolias clans. It is said that Maya Devi, the mother of Gautama Buddha, decided to travel to her parents in Devadaha while she was pregnant with Gautama Buddha. She stopped at the village of Lumbini along the way to rest and, perhaps overcome by the natural grandeur of the village, Maya Devi ended up giving birth to Buddha under a Sal tree. Over the coming centuries a number of monuments and reliefs were established in memory of this historical event.
The first may have been four stupas and a stone pillar complete with equestrian statue on it which was erected in 249 BC by Emperor Ashoka. The stone pillar has an inscription dictating the events of the royal visit and informing visitors of the fact that Buddha was born here. Another monument is that of a bas relief depicting Maya Devi holding onto the branch of a Sal tree with her newborn child standing on a lotus flower nearby. It is believed that this relief was installed by the Malla Kings somewhere between the 11th and 15th century. Over time the village became forgotten and neglected until it eventually disappeared. Then, in 1895, an archaeologist discovered the great pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka. This led to several archaeological digs and the rediscovery of Lumbini and the birthplace of Buddha.
Today you may be disappointed to find that Lumbini is not nearly as splendid as it must have been in its heyday. However there are plenty of excellent historical attractions to make up for this fact. The village is filled with the ruins of ancient temples and monasteries. It is also home to a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond and, of course, the Asokan pillar. The Mayadevi temple is said to pinpoint the precise location of Buddha’s birth and this temple is filled with pilgrims from across the world who chant and meditate here all day long. So visit this amazing World Heritage Site in Nepal for yourself - you wont regret it!