<< Mark of the spot where the Buddha was born
For centuries, Buddhists all over the world, knew that Lumbini where the Lord was born is somewhere around. The descriptions of famous Chinese pilgrims (of ancient times) Huian Tsang and Faeihan indicated to this area-saying 'Lumbini-where the lord was born is a piece of heaven on earth and one could see the snowy mountains amidst a splendid garden-embedded with stupas and monasteries!
However, the exact location remained uncertain and obscure till December the 1st 1886 when a wandering German archaeologist Dr. Alois A. Fuhrer came across a stone pillar and ascertained beyond doubt it is indeed the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is situated about 22 km. from Bhairahawa (Siddharthanagar), below the Churia range, 24 km south from the foothills of the Himalayas, on the western bank of Telar river in Rupandehi district of Lumbini zone in Nepal. It is about 300 km. west of capital city Kathmandu. Surrounding this town are Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and the Nawalparasi Terai districts of Lumbini Zone, which are fertile and densely populated.
It is about 34 km from Naugarh Railway Station on the North-Eastern Railway of India.
What to see
The Asokan Pillar
This nativity site, identified by the Ashokan Pillar, erected by Magadhan emperor Ashoka, to commemorate the birth place of Buddha, the Lumbini grove. The pillar was erected over 2200 years ago, making lumbini the quintessential Buddhist heritage site. The Asokan pillar has an inscription mentioning that "here the Buddha was born"
Nearby ruins that are presently undergoing restoration and the modern temples. Among the prime attractions are the sacred garden with an area of 8 sq. km, the Mayadevi Temple with a bas relief of Mayadevi, the Buddha's mother and a sacred stone marked with a "foot imprint" of Ashoka. The Ashokan Pillar, the oldest monument so far found in Nepal lies to the west of the Mayadevi Temple.
Today only the lower shaft of the pillar stands, the upper past having been split into two. There is no trace of the horse capital. To the south of the pillar is Puskarni, the sacred pond, wherein, Mayadevi is said to have had taken a bath just before giving birth to the Buddha - the Enlightened one.
For those interested in the treasury of cultural and archaeological riches, Lumbini is the perfect place to be there with a number of stupa, monasteries, meditation centers and bahals (courtyard). No other place evokes the time and aura of the Buddha like Lumbini, the Hallowed birthplace of the Apostle of Peace.
Lying about 27 km west of Lumbini and evoking the ancient palace of King Suddhodhan (The chief of the Shakya tribe and father of Buddha), is Tilaurakot, where Buddha spent his early years. The place of tremendous archaeological significance. Other than quite a few scattered fountains of ancient palaces, stupas and monasteries, archaeologists have discovered thirteen successive layers of human presence (habitation), the oldest dating back to the eight century B.C. one should always remember the eastern gate of the palace, here, through which Buddha is said to have departed on his search for enlightenment. A never miss for Buddhist as well as historians and scholars.
Some of the very valuable archaeological finds (Dating 3rd century B.C) have been unearthed at Niglihawa. Situated to the north-east of Tilaurakot, this place encompasses a quadrangular tank, two broken pieces of another Ashokan Pillar. The pillar inscription commemorates Ashoka's visit to the place.
Tengpoche Monastery, Nepal
Sagarhawa: Identified by Archaeologists as the "Palace of Massacre of the Shakyas", the ruins of an ancient water tank were excavated n the forest of Sagarhawa. It lies to the north-west of Niglihawa.
Gotihawa: Located to the south-west of Tilaurkot, the place is known for an Ashokan Pillar (Whose upper part, capital is missing) and a huge stupa. According to the legends, the place is also associated with Kanakmuni Buddha and Krakuchhanda Buddha. They arrived before Gautam Buddha.
Aroarakot: This place once had a walled rectangular fortress. The citadel was Buddha's natal town. Lying to the north-east of Niglihawa, here you can find remains of ancient moat and brick fortifications reminding you of its glorious past.
Lumbini is just a few kilometres inside Nepal but getting there requires all the formalities of crossing an international border.
There are plenty of hotels in Bhairawa which you have to pass through to get to Lumbini but it is better to stay in some of the temples near Lumbini. If you intend to enter Nepal and return Map to India you will need to apply for a Multiple Entry Visa when you get your Indian visa.
You can apply for a Nepalese visa at the border itself. A 15 day visa costs US $15 and a 30 day visa costs US $25 payable only in either US $ or Nepalese rupees. Crossing the border can be a slow tedious business unless 'baksheesh' is offered to officials.
2) BuddhaNet: Lumbini - Buddha's Birthplace
3) Lumbini: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Monasteries around Lumbini (Photo Gallery)