New Currency Features Birthplace of Lord Buddha
Lumbini in Nepal has long been valued by followers as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, with pilgrims traveling from far and wide to pay homage to one of the world’s most revered figures. Most scholars agree that Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini in 623 BC, and this fact will soon be displayed on Nepal’s new 100-rupee noted which is imprinted with the words “Lumbini: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha”. This will no doubt go a long way to correcting misconceptions that Lord Buddha was born in India, although he did give his first sermon and attain enlightenment there, after which he came to be referred to as the “Awakened One” or the “Enlightened One”.
Lumbini is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being a World Heritage Site. The site has been visited by pilgrims since the third century BC, and Indian emperor Ashoka erected a commemorative pillar at Lumbini in 249 BC testifying to the fact that Lord Buddha had been born there. Lumbini has both cultural and historical significance, with the well-preserved archeological remains of Buddhist monasteries and memorial shrines dating from the 3rd century BC through to the 15th century AD, providing in depth information regarding early Buddhist pilgrimage sites. As such, the site is protected by Nepal’s Ancient Monument Preservation Act of 1956 and efforts are being made by the Lumbini Development Trust to preserve the site against natural weathering and visitor impact, bearing in mind that pilgrims and tourists visiting Lumbini must be provided for.
Earlier this year a claim was made on one of India’s television channels that Lord Buddha had been born there. To set the record straight, in April 2013, Nepal-born television journalist Rabi Lamichhane hosted a marathon talk show entitled “Lord Buddha was born in Nepal”. The talk show lasted 62 hours and 12 minutes and was certified by the Guinness World Records as setting a record for the longest talk show.