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Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the religious philosopher who pierced the cycle of births deaths with his enlightenment. The sage of the sages, the Sakyamuni was born here on the full moon night of Vesakh in the Terai plains of Nepal as Prince Siddhartha to Queen Mayadevi and King Shuddhodhana. The location is now one of the four prominent pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. The forests of Lumbini witnessed the birth of Siddhartha Gautama who later became Buddha. The site is also a UNESCO recognized world heritage site for its archaeological and religious significance.
The Sacred Gardens of Lumbini received the blessing in the form of birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama in 623 BC. The exact site is marked by a commemorative pillar erected by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka during his pilgrimage to the holy site in 249 BC. The inscription here marks the site where the Enlightened One was born.
Excavations here have revealed the “marker stone” highlighting the exact spot where the Siddhartha Gautam Buddha was born. The sacred Puskarni Pond nearby was the pond where Queen Mayadevi had taken a bath before Buddha’s birth. It was also in this pond that the infant Buddha was given his first bath.
The Nativity Sculpture is the shrine dedicated to the actual scene of Buddha’s birth. Queen Maya Devi, mother of Buddha can be seen grasping a tree branch with her right hand. Standing next to the queen is Gautami Prajapati, her sister in a supporting posture at the time of delivery. The far right of the shrine shows figures of Brahma and Indra, standing in devotion and waiting delivery of this divine child to the queen. At the bottom of panes is the newly born Prince Gautama (Buddha) with a halo around his head standing upright on a lotus pedestal with two celestial figures receiving him.
The Group of Stupas also holds great reverence in Lumbini. The brick masonry foundations owe their origins to the Mauryan, Gupta and Kushana rulers during the 3rd century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D.) Even such great kings desired to stay near this sacred shrine of Buddha.
Besides these heritage monuments, there are the monastic zones in the north of Sacred Garden where different countries have built temples and monasteries depicting different sects of Buddhism. The shiny gold and white pagoda Myanmar Temple is modeled on the Shwe-dagon Pagoda of Yangon. The International Gautami Nuns Temple is replicated on the Swayambhu Stupa of Kathmandu. Other prominent monasteries and temples are sponsored by Vietnam, China Thailand, Mongolia, France, Germany and Sri Lanka.
How to Reach Lumbini
By Air – Lumbini is located close to Bhairahwa Airport which can be reached via a flight from Kathmandu.
By Road – Lumbini can be reached out from Gorakhpur, India via road from Kushinagar, the site of Lord Buddha’s Mahaparinirwan.
Best time to visit Lumbini
October to March is the best time to travel to Lumbini.
Festivals of Lumbini
Buddha Poornima festival is iconic to the location. It was here only 2600 years ago that Prince Siddhartha was born on the full moon night of Vesakha. The festival is celebrated with great excitement and devotion. Here Buddhists from different parts of the world come in to pray on the exact region where Buddha was born.