Lumbini Buddhist Pilgrimage
Lumbini is a small town in the Rupandehi District of Nepal, located near the Indian border. It is famous for being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as the Buddha.
For Buddhists, Lumbini is a significant pilgrimage site and is visited by thousands of people from all over the world every year. The town is home to several Buddhist temples and monasteries, including the Maya Devi Temple, which is built on the site where the Buddha was born.
How to reach
Nepal is a landlocked country located in South Asia, and there are several ways to reach Nepal depending on your location. Here are some of the most common ways to reach Nepal:
- By Air: Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. It is well-connected to major cities in Asia and the Middle East, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Doha. Several airlines, including Nepal Airlines, Thai Airways, and Qatar Airways, operate regular flights to Kathmandu.
- By Land: Nepal shares borders with India and China, and there are several land routes to enter Nepal. The most popular land entry points are Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, and Belahiya on the India-Nepal border, and Zhangmu and Kodari on the China-Nepal border.
- By Bus: If you are traveling from India, there are several bus services that operate between major cities in India and Nepal. The most popular bus routes are from Delhi, Varanasi, and Gorakhpur to Kathmandu.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Nepal is in Gorakhpur, India, which is about 130 kilometers from the border. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach Nepal.
- By Car: If you are traveling from India, you can hire a car or drive your own car to Nepal. However, it is important to note that driving in Nepal can be challenging due to poor road conditions and heavy traffic.
Overall, there are several ways to reach Nepal, and the best mode of transportation depends on your location and budget. Flying is the most convenient option, but traveling by land can be an adventurous experience.
What does it signify?
Lumbini is especially significant for being the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. In Buddha’s time, Lumbini was a land of lush greenery and Sal trees. The Shakyas and the Kolias clans were the owners of the exquisite gardens. Buddha’s father King Suddhodana belonged to the was of Shakya dynasty belonging to the Kshatriya (warrior) caste. Buddha was known as Siddharta in his childhood. Maya Devi gave birth to Siddharta on her way to her parent’s home, while taking a rest at Lumbini. The ancient Pali and Sanskrit literature even refer to the beauty of Lumbini.
What beckons devotees?
The Buddhist emperor Ashoka erected the Ashoka Pillar on the spot where Lord Buddha was born. The stone pillar is no less than a treasure for Lumbini. The pillar bears some ancient inscriptions.
One can find foundations of temples dating between the 2nd century BC and 9th century AD. The Dharma Swamy Maharaja Buddha Temple and the Lumbini Buddha Vihar are two modern temples built in the Tibetan style. There are other temples outside the main complex. These temples have been built by countries like China, Japan, and Burma.
The Lumbini museum is no less attractive to visitors, travelers, and devotees. The museum showcases a priceless collection of artifacts from as far as the Maurya and the Kushana periods. It also exhibits rare manuscripts and other items that were discovered at the site.
Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI)
The Lumbini International Research Institute promotes research work on Buddhism. The institute houses a large collection of books on religion, art, and architecture. Myriad of travelers and scholars arrive here to study what Buddha left behind to the world.
Maya Devi Temple:
This temple is built over the spot where Queen Maya Devi, the mother of the Buddha, is said to have given birth. Inside the temple, you can see a marker that denotes the exact spot where the Buddha was born.
The Sacred Garden is a large park that surrounds the Maya Devi Temple. It is home to several monuments, including the Ashoka Pillar, which was erected by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC.
Lumbini Monastic Site:
This area is home to several monasteries that have been built by different Buddhist countries, including China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Each monastery has its own unique architecture and cultural artifacts.
This museum houses artifacts from the ancient city of Kapilvastu, which is said to have been the childhood home of the Buddha. It is located about 27 kilometers from Lumbini.
Tilaurakot is an archaeological site located about 25 kilometers from Lumbini. It is believed to have been the capital of the Sakya kingdom, where the Buddha spent his early life.
What is the best time?
The climate at Lumbini remains pleasant for the most part of the year. However, the best time to pay a visit to this sacred place is between September and March. Winters can get chilly. Monks gather at Lumbini in huge numbers at the end of September and in the second week of December to attend the Peace Pooja and MahakalaPooja respectively.
Things to do
If you are planning to visit Nepal, there are many interesting and exciting things to do. Here are some of the top things to do in Nepal:
- Trekking: Nepal is home to some of the most breathtaking trekking routes in the world. The most popular trekking routes include the Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, and the Langtang Valley Trek.
- Visit Kathmandu: Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and is known for its rich cultural heritage. There are many interesting things to do in Kathmandu, including visiting ancient temples, palaces, and monasteries.
- Explore the Chitwan National Park: The Chitwan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. You can go on a safari to spot rare animals like tigers, rhinoceros, and elephants.
- Rafting: Nepal has many rivers that are perfect for rafting. The most popular rivers for rafting include the Trishuli River, Bhote Koshi River, and the Karnali River.
- Paragliding: Paragliding is a popular adventure sport in Nepal, especially in the city of Pokhara. You can fly over the beautiful Phewa Lake and enjoy the stunning views of the Annapurna mountain range.
- Visit Pokhara: Pokhara is a beautiful city in Nepal, known for its stunning natural beauty. You can visit the Phewa Lake, the World Peace Pagoda, and the Mahendra Cave.
- Bungee Jumping: Nepal is home to one of the highest bungee jumps in the world. You can jump off a suspension bridge over the Bhote Koshi River, which is an exhilarating experience.
- Visit Lumbini: Lumbini is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Nepal. Whether you are interested in adventure sports or cultural experiences, Nepal has something for everyone.