Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is situated about 22 km. from Bhairahawa (Siddharthanagar) and 24 km. south from the foothills of the Himalayas, on the western bank of Telar river in Rupandehi district of Lumbini zone in Nepal. Buddha, Known as the Light of Asia, Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini on the full moon day in the month of Baisakh in 623 BC. He was born under a sal (Shorea robusta) tree when Mayadevi was going to her parents.
Suttanipata (the ancient Buddhist text) has mentioned the earliest description of the birth of Buddha in Lumbini. After the birth of Buddha he took seven steps towards north and, looking in all directions, he declared that “I am the foremost of all creatures to cross the riddle of the ocean of the existence, this is my last birth and here after, I will not be born again”. The site is spelt as Rummindei or Rupandei (beautiful lady), the perverted form of Rupa devi, the queen Anjana of the king of Devadaha which was situated to the east of Kapilvastu in ancient time. The site is called Lun- min and La-Fa-Ni by the Chinese pilgrims Fa- Hien and Hiuen- Tsiang respectively. In course of exploration of the ancient Buddhist sites, famous archaeologist General Cunningham has mentioned La-Fa-Ni is Sanskrit Lavani, a beautiful lady. In Buddhist literature it is known as Pradimokşa vana blessed with various trees and flowers, which is compared to the Chittalata grove of Indra’s paradise in heaven. Suttanipata has also mentioned that, “The wisdom- child, that Jewel so precious, which can not be matched, has been born at Lumbini, in the Sakya land for well being and joy in the world of men”. It is also known as Paderiya (Parariya) where the Asokan pillar is located in the Nepalese Terai. The name of the site is spelt Lumminigame and Lumbini Vana in the Asokan pillar Edict still standing at the same place. The present location of Lumbini is undoubtedly the exact birth place of Lord Buddha.
Lumbini is situated in Nepal about 22 kms from Bhairahawa of Nepal in the foot hills of Himalayas. 122 kms from Gorakhpur city in Uttar Pradesh . 181 Kms from Kushinagar of Uttar Pradesh and 240 kms from Sravasti of Uttar Pradesh of North India.
Buddhist Attractions in Lumbini
The place itself is interesting as a whole, the landscapes and the green forestry. However Maya Devi temple and the Stupas and the Pillar built by Ashoka are really worth a visit. Recently, several beautiful shrines have been constructed by devotees from all over the world. A visit to Lumbini is not only for spiritual enlightenment but also for solace and satisfaction that one gets in such a calm and peaceful place.
Maya Devi Temple : Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. In 1895, Feuhrer, a famous German archaeologist, discovered the great pillar,further exploration and excavation of the surrounding area revealed the existence of a brick temple and a sandstone sculpture within the temple itself which represents the scenes of Buddha’s birth. On the south of the Maya Devi temple there is the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maha Devi took a bath in this pool before the delivery. The temple is built gradually and is composed of many temples, one after the other. It is also found that there is possibility that a Ashoka Stupa existed in the place of temple.
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The Ashokan pillar : The Ashokan Pillar, essentially erected by Ashoka (249 BC) visited Lumbini and erected an inscribed Ashokan Pillar on the spot of Buddha’s birth. The inscription of the pillar (the oldest in Nepal) declares that Ashoka granted Lumbini tax-free status in honor of Buddha’s birth. It is 6m high and half of it is beneath the ground. It is behind the Maya Devi Temple, to the west of the temple. Emperor Ashoka erected many other pillars throughout India. The carved top of the pillar has never been found.
The Buddhist monastery : Its built in the way of the modern Buddhist temples of Nepal but is quite important in the purview of architecture of the walls. The middle hall contains some exquisite murals resembling the medieval periods’.
How to Go there
By Air – Bhairahwa is the nearest airport, 22 kms , well connected to Kathmandu airport. At present, about 22 international airlines connect Nepal to various other destinations in Asia and the Middle East.
By Rail – Gorakhpur, In India, is the nearest railhead, 122 km from Lumbini.
By Road – Good motorable roads connect Bhairahwa to Lumbini, and also other important cities of Nepal. India border is 22 kms.