Lumbini, the world itself stands for “beauty” in Sanskrit. It is one of the popular destinations of Nepal, as it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha. In 1997, Lumbini was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mauryan emperor Ashoka who later converted to Buddhism visited Lumbini in 249 BC and constructed four stupas and a stone pillar which holds a message about the birth of Gautam Buddha.
There are more than 25 international Buddhist monasteries, monuments, and the Lumbini International Research Institute and many other beautiful sites to see within Lumbini. This holy place is regarded as the source Buddhism. Today, Lumbini is a small and beautiful town in the southwestern Terai plains of Nepal, which attracts huge numbers of tourists from all over the world.
The snow-capped mountains, the terraced fields, splashing rivers, pagoda styled temples, and everything about Lumbini attract tourists from around the world.
Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone in which is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having Theravadin monasteries, the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries. There is a long water filled canal separating the western and eastern zones, with a series of brick arch bridges joining the two sides along the length. The canal is serviced by simple outboard motor boats at the north end which provides tours.
The place has sacred Bodhi Tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashoka Pilla and the Mayadevi Temple.
During the 20th Century CE, after the numerous excavations, many Buddhist structures were rediscovered. One of the most amazing and significant structures in the area is the Mayadevi temple. The temple area includes the actual place of birth of Buddha and is indicated by the marker stone. It was discovered in 1996 CE during the time when the temple was excavated. Mayadevi temple is situated together with the holy pond where Buddha and Mayadevi first took their bath.
History says, While returning to her home, Queen Mayadevi was in labor pain. She got into the pond and took bath. After the bath, she walked towards the northern part and faced towards the east. She had no trouble giving birth to a baby. When the baby fell to the ground, he walked seven paces right after. It was miraculous and it is believed that the baby spoke: “it’s my rebirth”. He was washed then which later became a holy pond.
Lumbini -where the Lord was born – is a piece of Heaven on Earth, where one could see the snowy mountains amidst a splendid garden, embedded with stupas and monasteries.
Buddhism is now practiced in all the major countries of the world but predominantly in Japan, Taiwan, China, Sri Lanka, Indo-Chinese countries, India, and Nepal.
Buddhism is founded in principle of Ahimsa (no killing) and is very simple to practice. Buddhism seldom criticizes others, does not claim superiority over others, has no fundamentalists, and easily co-exists with any other type of philosophy and religion. As a result of this, Buddhism is increasingly favored in a confused and troubled world where materialistic values are given the highest priority. As an example to this, many people in the west have now opted for Buddhism.
Within Buddhism, one can practice Yoga and meditation, which are considered by Buddhists to be ways of purifying the mind and soul. Lumbini Buddha Garden with its large space is an ideal place to practice yoga and meditation! From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.