Lumbini- The Lovely Buddhist Pilgrimage to Visit
Lumbini is one of the famous Buddhist pilgrimage situated in Nepal. Lumbini is the Sanskrit word which means “the Lovely”. This is the birth place of Lord Buddha who is also the founder of Buddhist tradition. Nowadays Lumbini is famous for many beautiful temples, monasteries, stupas and other constructions which were built by various communities of Buddhist.
Birth place of Lord Buddha
Lumbini is hallowed ground as Shakyamuni Buddha was born here in southern Nepal more than twenty-five hundred years ago. As a sacred birthplace, it is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from around the globe. Many excavations have taken place here around this small town in the southern Terai plains of Nepal. Ruins of the old city are clearly visible and many artifacts were unearthed during the excavation. Shakyamuni Buddha was born a prince to the ruler of the little principality. Important landmarks are the Maya Devi temple and the Ashoka pillar. The remains of many ancient stupas and monasteries can be found in the surroundings of Lumbini The Ashoka pillar is said to have been erected by the Indian Emperor Ashoka in 250 BC and bears an inscription confirming this as the birth place of the Buddha. A stone image of Maya Devi giving birth to Lord Buddha as she holds onto a branch is seen in the Maya Devi temple. The belief that touching it will render a woman fertile has led to erosion as thousands of hands have stroked it.
South of the temple is the sacred pool where Maya Devi is said to have given her son his first purification bath. Shaded by the leafy Bo tree (the type of tree under which Buddha received enlightenment), it is a quiet garden and a newly planted forest nearby brings an atmosphere of tranquility to it. A Master Plan of the Lumbini Development Trust was drawn up decades ago and development is finally under way. The plan, completed in 1978 by the renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, will transform three square miles of land into a sacred place of gardens, pools, buildings, and groves. The development will include a Monastic Zone, the circular sacred Garden surrounding the Ashoka pillar and Maya Devi temple, and Lumbini Village, comprising lodges, restaurants, a cultural center and tourist facilities. Over the years, many stupas and monasteries have been built representing Buddhist communities of numerous countries from around the world. In Kapilvastu near Lumbini, is an excavation site that evokes the ancient palace where Lord Buddha spent his formative years. The ruins include scattered foundations of the palace and thirteen successive layers of human habitation dating back to the 8th Century BC; a must see for students of archeology and history.
Access: Nepal Airlines along with other airlines fly regularly to Bhairahawa airport near Lumbini, and there are regular bus services from Pokhara and Kathmandu. Accommodation: There are several good hotels and lodges in Lumbini, but accommodation is also available in monasteries of the various countries.
Places to see
The Ashoka pillar and the Maya Devi temple is one of the main attractions of Lumbini. The Ashoka Pillar was erected there by the great Indian emperor Ashoka in 245 BC. Maya Devi temple has image of Maya Devi holding a branch just look like giving birth to Lord Buddha. In the south direction of this temple there is one scared pool, it is said that it is the pool where Maya Devi gave first purification bath to his son. Footprint on stone is the indication of birth place of Gautama Buddha. There is a pond named Pushkarni pond, it is said that Queen Maya Devi took bath in that before giving birth to Lord Buddha. Nuns temple which is popularly known as International Gautami Nuns Temple is also located here in Lumbini.
There are many other places to be visit at Lumbini, one of the famous museums named Lumbini Museum, an international research institute which is known as Lumbini International Research Institute, and famous Kapilvastu Museum. This is museum is famous for all ruins of Sakya Kingdom which was the Kingdom of Prince Siddhartha who was known as Lord Buddha.
Another place to visit is sacred garden; morning is the best time to visit in this garden. This garden is spread under 8sq. km. Many temples are built by Buddhist Communities those are located in various countries. Stupas and Monasteries were also built by these communities near to this garden. The purpose of building these monasteries near to the scared garden is to spread the culture and architecture of the nation of communities, which is also become attraction for tourists.
Gotihawa is one of the very important and famous places for Buddhists which is located 31 km in west direction of Lumbini. The specialty of this place is that here Krakuchanda Buddha was born and he also attained nirvana. Sakyamuni Buddha came after him. Kudan is the place to visit at Lumbini, this is the place where Lord Buddha met with his father King Suddhodhana.
To reach at Lumbini there are two means of transport, either they can use the path of air or they can go by road through bus.