Lumbini - The Birthplace of Lord Buddha

Location: A Small Town Nestling in The Foothills of Nepal Himalayas
Main Attractions At Lumbini: Sacred Garden, The Mayadevi temple, Ashoka Pillar,
Excursions From Lumbini: Tilaurakot , Niglihawa, Sagarhawa
Famous Buddhist Sites in India: Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Vaishali

History of Buddhism and Buddhism in IndiaLumbini, the place where Lord Buddha was born, it has been a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims along side visitors from many parts of the world, which has become a symbol of peace and understanding for the world community. Lumbini like Buddha stands peacefully and calm, away from the crowds of the cities, on the southern plains of the country, surrounded by forests.

Buddha was believed to be born in Lumbini as Prince Sidhartha, when his mother Queen Mahamaya of Kapilbastu stopped to rest on her way to her parent's palace in a neighboring country some 2,600 years ago. People here also believe that she chose the place because of its peaceful setting. Although there are no cities or heavy population nearby, there are plans to develop the area, with gardens, trees, canal, accommodation facilities and even a library.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS AT LUMBINI

The main attraction at Lumbini is the Sacred Garden that is spread over 8 sq km and possesses all the treasures of the historic area. The Mayadevi temple, is the main attraction for pilgrims and archeologists alike. This is where we find a bas relief of Mayadevi, the Buddha's mother, giving birth to him as two Hindu gods, Brahma and Indra, shower him with lotus petals and holy water. There is also a sacred stone marked with a "foot imprint" of Emperor Ashoka which had been placed here to mark the exact birthplace. Nearby, to the west of the Mayadevi temple, stands the Ashoka Pillar - the oldest monument so far found in Nepal. The pillar was erected by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC to commemorate his pilgrimage to the sacred site. The inscription on it in Brahmi script authenticates Lumbini as the place where the Buddha has born in 623 BC. To the south of the Pillar we find the sacred pond - Puskarni - where Queen Mayadevi had taken a bath just before giving birth to the Buddha.

EXCURSION FROM LUMBINI

Tilaurakot Ashok Pillar, Lumbini
An important archeological site lying 27 km to the west of Lumbini, Tilaurakot evokes the ancient palace of King Suddhodhan, Siddhartha Gautam's father, where the Buddha spent his formative years as a Shakya prince. Scattered foundations of the ancient palace, stupas and monasteries made of kiln-backed bricks and clay mortar are abundant here. The most sacred spot here for Buddhists is the palace's eastern gate through which the Buddha had departed on his search for enlightenment. A must for archeology and history buffs.

Niglihawa
Located to the north-east of Tilaurakot, Niglihawa contains some of the most important archelogoical treasures dating back to the third century BC. This historic place encompasses a quadrangular tank surrounded by bushes and on its western bank are two broken pieces of another Ashoka Pillar.

Sagarhawa
To the north-west of Niglihawa is a forest called Sagarhawa. It is the site where ruins of ancient water tanks were excavated in 1895 and this site has been identified by archeologist as the "Palace of massacre of the Shakyas".

Aroarakot
Lying to the north-east of Niglihawa, Aroarakot used to be a walled fortress in ancient times. Rectangular in shape, this citadel was the Buddha's natal town. Remains of ancient moat and brick foundations, which can still be clearly located, point to a glorious past. A very interesting trip, takes you to the time of the Buddha.

HOW TO REACH LUMBINI

Reaching Lumbini is easy. A 35-minute flight from Kathmandu will wing visitors to Bhairawa, an industrial town situated 284 km south-west of the capital. From here, regular taxis and buses leave for Lumbini, 22 km away. There are daily flights to Bhairawa. Daily Bus services are also available from Kathmandu to Bhairawa. Lumbini can be combined with a jungle safari in Chitwan.



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