Regarded as the holiest place for Buddhists, Lumbini in Nepal’s south-western Terai region is the place where the apostle of peace Lord Gautama Buddha was born in 623 B.C.
One of the most-visited locations in Nepal with a great historical importance, Lumbini attracts not only Buddhists but also the people of other faiths and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The place has been divided into two zones, with the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries situated in the western zone and the Theravadin monasteries in the eastern zone.
Chinese travelers Huan Tsang and Faeihan extolled the beauty of Lumbini in their writings and described the place as “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!”
Sakymanuni Buddha, also known as Tathagata or one who has found the Truth, is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Vaishnava sect of Hinduism. He spent the first 29 years of his life in Lumbini before he renounced the world and achieved enlightenment at Bodh Gaya.
The most popular attraction of Lumbini, the Maya Devi temple is located at the place where Maya Devi gave birth to the Lord Buddha.
Some of the other famous temples in Lumbini include the International Gautami Nuns temple, Nepal Buddha temple and Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihara.
The temples of Lumbini are characterized by a medieval architecture with large monolithic images of Buddha.
Some of the major attractions of Lumbini include the Lumbini Museum, Gotihawa, Kudan, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa, Ramgram Stupa, Tilaurakot, Ashoka Pillar, Puskarni, Kapilvastu and Aroarakot among others.
The World Peace Pagoda with a huge sparkling and smiling statue of Lord Buddha is another prominent monument of sightseeing interest for tourists to Lumbini.
Lumbini is situated on the border with India and hence, Indian food is quite common here in addition to the staple Nepali cuisine.
Vegetarian foods including momos, noodles, curries, pakoda, samosa, tikiya chat and pani puri are the most common delicacies that can be enjoyed in Lumbini.
Lumbini is well connected by road from various places in Nepal with frequent bus services from major cities like Pokhara and Kathmandu.
Two stretches of railway from Raxaul in India to Amlekhganj and Janakpur in Nepal also connect to Lumbini.
Nepal Airlines and other domestic carriers including Nepal Buddha Air, Kathmandu, Cosmic Air, Gorkha Airlines, Royal Nepal Airlines, Skyline Airways and Yeti Airlines fly regularly to Bhairahawa near Lumbini.
A visit to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, provides a great opportunity for visitors to experience inner peace and spiritual growth.