Lumbini – 3 days
Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 bce. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath.
Lumbini is in the foothills of the Himalaya, 25km east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, where the Buddha is said to have lived till the age of 29. Kapilvastu is the name of the place as well as of the neighbouring district. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site. Also here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond – where the Buddha’s mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath – as well as the remains of Kapilvastu palace. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form. In the Buddha’s time, Lumbini was a park situated between Kapilavastu and Devadaha.
Lumbini, as of 1997, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site specifically nominated for the international World Heritage program. The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone, in which only monasteries can be built, no shops or hotels or restaurants. It is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having the Theravadin monasteries, the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.
The holy site of Lumbini has many places worth to see:
- ruins of ancient monasteries
- a sacred Bodhi tree
- an ancient bathing pond
- the Asokan pillar which marks the spot of Asoka’s visit to Lumbiní (it was placed there to commemorate Asoka’s visit and gifts)
- Mayadevi temple – here the precise place of birth of Buddha is located.
From Kathmandu you need 4-5 hrs by car to get here.