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Lumbini Buddhist Pilgrimage
Where is Lumbini?
Lumbini, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site, is located in Rupandehi District in southern Nepal near the Indian border. Lumbini lies 25 km east of Kapilvastu.
How will you gain access?
Bhairawa (22 km) is the closest airport. The airport operates flights connecting Lumbini to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Bus services are available between Bhairawa and Lumbini. Buses also connect Bhairawa to places like Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Varanasi. From Bhairawa one can also hire taxis and bikes to reach Lumbini.
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 the 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 travellers and scholars arrive here to study what Buddha left behind to the world.
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.