Nepal is a hilly country in South Asia with highest point on earth, the Mount Everest. More than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level are located in Nepal. The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of the Buddhist religion; it contains important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimages dating from as early as the 3rd century BCE.

Lumbinī  is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama (Gautam Buddha)  Siddhartha Gautama lived roughly between 623 and 543 BCE and he founded Buddhism as Gautama Buddha. 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, where the Buddha lived until the age of 29, has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. Also located there 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 Kapilavastu 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   Situated between kapilavastu &  Devadaha (both in current Nepal). It was there, that the Buddha was born. A pillar now marks the spot of Asoka’s visit to Lumbiní. According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the people then in charge of the park to commemorate Asoka’s visit and gifts. The park was previously known as Rummindei, two miles (3.2 km) north of Bhagavanpura.

In the Sutta Nipáta (vs. 683) it is stated that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans in the Lumbineyya Janapada. The Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta.

Pillars of Ashoke

In 1896, Nepalese archaeologists (effort by Khadga Samsher Rana, with Alois Anton Führer) discovered a great stone pillar at the site attributed to Ashoka. It is believed that the pillar was established by the great king Ashoka in about 245 BC. Records made by the Chinese pilgrim Faxian were also used in the process of identifying this religiously acclaimed site.

Lumbini, as of 1997, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site specifically nominated for the international World Heritage program.

The present Lumbini is divided into a ratio of 1:3 which means it is 3 km (2 mi) long for every 1 km (0.6 mi) wide. In total it is 2 km (1 mi) by 6 km (4 mi)

The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built, no shops, hotels or restaurants. It is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having the Theravada monasteries, the western   having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries.

The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.

A non-governmental organization named Samriddhi Foundation started in 2013 working extensively in the field of education and health specially in government schools of the area where underprivileged children study. A non-governmental organization called “Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation” (APECF) backed by chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and then Prime Minister Prachanda, the Chinese government and a UN group called “United Nations Industrial Development Organization” (UNIDO) signed a deal to develop Lumbini into a “special development zone” with funds worth $3 billion. The venture was a China-UN joint project. A broader ‘Lumbini Development National Director Committee’ under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal was formed on 17 October 2011.The six-member committee included Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) leader Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal, Forest Minister Mohammad Wakil Musalman, among other leaders. The committee was given the authority to “draft a master plan to develop Lumbini as a peaceful and tourism area and table the proposal” and the responsibility to gather international support for the same.

Nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in the park in 2001, which is visited by many different cultures and religions every day.

Hindus regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu and thousands of Hindu pilgrims come there on the full moon of the Nepali month of Baisakh (April–May) to worship Maya Devi as Rupa Devi, the mother goddess of Lumbini.

 Present scenario

Lumbini, as of 1997, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site specifically nominated for the international World Heritage program.

The present Lumbini is divided into a ratio of 1:3 which means it is 3 km (2 mi) long for every 1 km (0.6 mi) wide. In total it is 2 km (1 mi) by 6 km (4 mi)The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built, no shops, 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 ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.

A non-governmental organization named Samriddhi Foundation started in 2013 working extensively in the field of education and health specially in government schools of the area where underprivileged children study. A non-governmental organization called “Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation” (APECF) backed by chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and then Prime Minister Prachanda, the Chinese government and a UN group called “United Nations Industrial Development Organization” (UNIDO) signed a deal to develop Lumbini into a “special development zone” with funds worth $3 billion. The venture was a China-UN joint project. A broader ‘Lumbini Development National Director Committee’ under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal was formed on 17 October 2011.] The six-member committee included Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) leader Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal, Forest Minister Mohammad Wakil Musalman, among other leaders. The committee was given the authority to “draft a master plan to develop Lumbini as a peaceful and tourism area and table the proposal” and the responsibility to gather international support for the same.

Nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in the park in 2001, which is visited by many different cultures and religions every day.

Hindus regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu and thousands of Hindu pilgrims come there on the full moon of the Nepali month of Baisakh (April–May) to worship Maya Devi as Rupa Devi, the mother goddess of Lumbini.

Nepali Currency

Nepal’s central bank has introduced a 100-rupee Nepali note featuring Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. The Nepal Rastra Bank said the new note would be accessible only during the Dashain, Nepal’s major fiesta in October 2013. It displays the portrait of Mayadevi, Gautam Buddha’s mother in silver metallic on the front. The note also has a black dot which would help the blind recognize the note. The name of the central bank in Latin script would be printed on the note along with the date of printing in both the Christian Era and the Bikram Era. The new note is being issued following a cabinet decision 27 August.

Transport:-

Lumbini is a 6-hour drive from Kathmandu and a 30-minute drive from Bhairahawa. The closest airport is Gautam Buddha Airport at Bhairahawa, with flights to and from Kathmandu Exact birthplace of Gautama Buddha Bodhi tree and pond at Lumbini  Ashoka Pillar.