Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is a place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Shakya Prince Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Lord Buddha, was born to Queen Mayadevi, wife of King Suddodhana, ruler of Kapilavastu, in 623BC at the famous gardens of Lumbini, while she was on a journey from her husband’s capital of Tilaurakot to her family home in Devadaha.
Lumbini was the place where the Buddha lived until the age of 29. One of the most famous temples in the Mayadevi temple and just next to that temple is the Puskarini, or the holy pond where the Buddha’s mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath. This site later became a world famous place for pilgrimage.
Amongst the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars. This pillar was erected by the people in charge of the park to commemorate Ashoka’s visit and gifts. The inscriptions on the pillar also stands as a testament to the birth of the Lord Buddha at Lumbini, the pillar was erected on 249BC.
Present day, Lumbini as of 1997 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is specifically nominated for the international World Heritage Program. The holy site of Lumbini in total is 2km by 6km and is bordered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built.
- Sacred Garden: The garden that Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born in 623BC. The nativity site is marked by a commemorative pillar erected by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka of India during his pilgrimage to the holy site in 249BC.
- Mayadevi Temple: excavations have revealed the ‘marker stone’ showing the exact spot where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born.
- Puskarni Pond where Queen Mayadevi had taken a bath before the birth of Buddha and where Siddhartha Gautama also took his first bath.
- Monuments: to the north of the Sacred Gardens are the monastic zone where different countries have built temple and monasteries depicting different sects of Buddhism.
- The Myanmar Temple
- The International Gautami Nuns Temple
- The China Temple
- Dae Sung Suk Sa Korean Temple
- The Japanese Peace Stupa
- Others: Vietnamese, Thai, Mongolian, France, German and Sri Lankan temple and monuments.
- Kapilvastu: Located 27km west of Lumbini lies the ruins of the historic town of Kapilvastu. Kapilvastu the capital of the Shakya republic is believed to be the place where the Siddhartha Gautama lived and enjoyed his life till the age of thirteen.
- Devadaha: The parental home of Queen Maya Devi, is 38km east of Lumbini near the village of Khairhani.