Lumbini Gautama Buddha’s Birth Place

Posted on | september 3, 2012 | No Comments

Listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO and declared as the Fountain of World Peace by World Buddhist Federation (WBF), Lumbini is an amazing spiritual destination. With such historical and archeological values, Lumbini holds the essence of a live museum that marks the birth of Light of Asia Gautama Buddha. Looking at it from historical point of view  the then Prince Siddhartha Gautama transforming into Shakyamuni Buddha, and spreading the message of peace all over the world has brought Lumbini as the epicenter of Buddhism where the world lists Nepal as a sacred ground. From the ruins of the ancient city to the Asoka pillar, Lumbini testifies the essence of spirituality and meditation in its every part and holds many stories of magical powers.

According to legend, Siddhartha Gautama was born in Kapilvastu in 566 B.C. as a Prince. It is believed that the young prince emerged from his mother’s right side as she raised her arm to rest under the branch of a fig tree. After his birth he immediately took seven steps in the four directions, each step leaving a lotus flower where his foot touched the ground. Within the royal life, he lived a life of isolation until one day, when he ventured outside the castle walls. Then he came across the reality of life that changed his perception. A beggar, a cripple, a corpse and a holy man which made him think about the reality and suffering. The encounters affected him deeply, awakening a deep desire to find the ultimate cause of suffering and thus to alleviate it. For several years he fasted and mediated, searching the “QUEST OF TRUTH” in finding a method to stop the suffering. In this journey he traveled from one place to another but was restless in finding any answer. On the night of the full moon in the north India town of Bodhgaya, Siddhartha had a realization of reality, he attainted knowledge. This enlightened state of mind transformed Siddhartha into the historical Buddha. For 45 years, Buddha spread his message of spirituality and peace among his disciples and common people. He gave emphasis on the purification of mind, heart and soul by following the Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths and the Five Perceptions. This path included the right speech, understanding, determination, deeds, efforts, awareness, thinking and living. As per Buddhism, if one follows these paths, one could overcome desires, which were the reason for all grieves and miseries. The rest of his life was spent teaching and guiding thousands of followers. He left this world at the age of 84, having exhausted his human form for the sake of all sentient beings.

Looking at Nepal’s history, the current archeological standing was discovered a century ago, that led to uncovering of other nearby remains of buildings and temples, till then an overgrown jungle had taken over, still today most of the artifacts of the ancient city and temples are yet to be un-dug  from the earth. In 1895, Feuhrer, a famous German archaeologist, discovered the great pillar while wandering about the foothills of the Churia range. Further exploration and excavation of the surrounding area revealed the existence of a brick temple and sandstone sculpture within the temple itself, which depicts the scenes of the Buddha’s birth. Though there has been disputes as on whether Lumbini is truly the birthplace of Buddha, there are a variety of evidence in Lumbini itself that undoubtedly proves it to be the birthplace of Buddha, the most famous being the pillar erected by Asoka. In 249 BC, when the Indian Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini, he constructed four stupas and a stone pillar with a figure of a horse on top. The stone pillar bears an inscription, which in translation runs as follows: ‘King Piyadasi (Ashoka), beloved of devas, in the 20th year of the coronation, himself made a royal visit, Buddha Shakyamuni having been born here; a stone railing was built and a stone pillar erected to the Bhagawan having been born here, Lumbini village was taxed reduced and entitled to the eight part (only). Lumbini was a site of pilgrimage until the 15th century AD. Its early history is well documented in the accounts of Chinese travellers, notably Fa Hsien (4th century AD) and Hsuan Tsang (7th century AD), who described the temples, stupas, and other establishments that they visited there. In the early 14th century King Ripu Malla recorded his pilgrimage in the form of an additional inscription on the Ashoka pillar.

In 1996, an archaeological dig unearthed a ‘flawless stone’ placed there by Ashoka in 249 BC to mark the precise location of the Buddha’s birth more than 2,600 years ago. If authenticated, the find will put Lumbini even more prominently on the map for millions of religious pilgrims.

Talking more about the fascination of Lumbini then one such is the temple of Maya Devi. Carved in the ancient stone is an image of queen giving birth to Lord Buddha while holding onto the tree branch. This bas relief is sacred to the local Hindus – well worn by the strokes of barren women in hopes of fertility. To the south of the Maya Devi temple there is the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maya Devi took a bath in this pool before the delivery.

Similarly, other places that are worth visiting are:

Lumbini Museum: Situated 27 KM west of Lumbini in Tilaurakot, Lumbini Museum, and research institute is an interesting way of understanding the core values of Buddha and his life. The Kapilvastu museum has ruins of ancient capital of Shakya kingdom where the Buddha spent his youth

Sacred Garden: Spread in over 8 Sq.KM and with the tranquility and greenery, the sacred garden holds many mysteries of history. The garden is located near the International Monastery Zone where it is believed that Siddhartha Gautama played and cherished his childhood.

Gotihawa:  Gotihawa is regarded as a very important religious place for Buddhists all over the world. It is believed that Krakuchanda Buddha, who came before Shakyamuni Buddha, was born and attained nirvana in Gotihawa. It is located about 31 KM west of Lumbini.

Kudan: It is located about four and half kilometers south of Tilaurakot. It is where King Suddhodhana met Lord Buddha for the last time before he left for his quest of reality.

Niglihawa: Located 32 KM northwest of Lumbini, Niglihawa hold special historical and spiritual value. It is the place where Emperor Ashoka built a stupa and set up a pillar. It is believed that the Kanakmuni Buddha, who came earlier than Shakyamuni Buddha, was born and enlightened, here

Ramgram Kingdom: The King of Ramgram Kingdom was one of the eight Kings who obtained Buddha’s relics and he also built a pagoda, which was named Ramgram Pagoda.  It is located 60 KM to the east.

Tilaurakot: Tilaurakot is about 25 kilometers west of Lumbini that extends over an area of two and half miles. Tilaurakot is the exact site of ancient Kapilvastu as described in the Buddhist texts and travel accounts; it is in the process of archeological exploration and recognition.

Millions of devotees from all over the world come to Lumbini highlighting the concept of spiritualism and meditation. With such prospects the Nepal government had declared 2012 as “Visit Lumbini year 2012”. The program was targeted of attracting 1 million tourists to Lumbini and introducing Nepal as a new destination of spiritual values. Under the master program, Lumbini area is in the process of expansion and all the places related to the life of Buddha within the country would be developed.

Travelling a trip to Lumbini is very easy from every point, within the facilities of bus, private car or airplane. Lumbini is located in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. First you have to arrive at Bhairawa. A daily bus leaves Kathmandu for Bhairawa, that’s 252km, ten hours trip. Daily flights connect Kathmandu with Bhairawa which are readily available. If you want to take the roads it takes about 45 minutes ride to Lumbini. Arriving by air it may be necessary to take transportation to the center of Bhairawa to connect with surface transport.

Lumbini is a learning experience that’s never enough, once you start exploring you quest for more. From the exploration of relics to the legends and stories of Gautama Buddha Lumbini holds its presence to reality of what world accepts. Come be part of this enriching experience and learn the core values of Buddhism.

AUTHOR: Shreedeep Rayamajhi
E-MAIL: weaker41 [at]


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