Saturday, March 5, 2011

Visit Lumbini Anchal Nepal

Lumbinī (Sanskrit: लुम्बिनी, "the lovely") is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, near the Indian border. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath.

Lumbini is in the foothills of the Himalaya, 25 km east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, where the Buddha is said to have lived till the age of 29. Kapilvastu is the name of the place in question as well as of the neighbouring district. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. Also here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond - where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath - as well as the remains of Kapilvastu palace. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form.

In Buddha's time
In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was a park situated between Kapilavastu and Devadaha in India. It was there that the Buddha was born. A pillar now marks the spot of Asoka's visit to Lumbiní. According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the people then in charge of the park to commemorate Asoka's visit and gifts. The park was previously known as Rummindei, two miles north of Bhagavanpura.

In the Sutta Nipáta (vs. 683) it is stated that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans, in the Lumbineyya Janapada. The Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta.

For centuries, Buddhists- all over the world, knew that Lumbini where the Lord was born is somewhere around. The descriptions of famous Chinese pilgrims (of ancient times) Huian Tsang and Faeihan indicated to this area-saying ‘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!

Orientation and Information
The main archeological sites are located in the Sacred Garden. The newer temples are located north of the Sacred Gardens and some of them are in the new Master Plan area and some aren’t.
There is a tourist information booth is near the parking area at the entrance of the Sacred Garden. They may be able to arrange a guide. One of the Lumbini Development archeologists can provide good information about the site.

You can change money at the Nepal Bank of Ceylon, in Buddha Nagar on the main road (Sunday to Thursday, 10 am to 2 pm, Friday, 10 am to noon).

It is believed that the Sacred Garden was made after the Buddha’s death and that there was at least one Buddhist monastery here when Emperor Ashoka visited. The Indian Emperor Ashoka came to Lumbini in 245 BC and erected one of his famous pillars here. In 636 Hsuan Tang and saw many run-down monasteries. In the 15th Muslim came to the area and most likely destroyed what remained of the monument here. After this time the site got covered over by jungle and was lost. In 1896 Palpa Shumsher Rana excavated the Ashoka pillar. Nothing really remains of the ruins of the past accept the pond where it is said Maya Devi bathed. There are some foundations of viharas and stupas near the pond.

There is a Buddhist festival in April/May called Buddha Jayanti here to celebrate the appearance of the Buddha. At the same time there is a big Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon day of the Nepali month of Vaisakha (April/May), when Hindu come to worship Maya Devi as Rupa Devi, the goddess of Lumbini.

Best Place to See In Lumbini Nepal

The Ashokan Pillar
Discovered by the now famous German archaeolgist Dr. Fuhrer, the pillar is the first epigraphic evidence relating to the life history of Lord Buddha and is also the most visible landmark of the garden. The historic importance of the pillar is evidenced by the inscription engraved in the pillar (in Brahmi script).

It is said that the great Indian Emperor Ashok visited the site in the twentieth year of is ascendancy to the throne and as a homage to the birthplace,erected the pillar.

The inscriptions in the pillar roughly translates as: Kin Piyadesi beloved of th Gods, having been anointed 20 yeas, came himself and worshipped saying Here Buddha Shakyamuni was born: And he caused to make a stone (capital) representing a horse; and he caused (this) stone pillar to be erected. Because the worshipful one was born in the village of Lumbini has been made free of taxes and recipient of wealth"

Puskarni-the sacred pool
South of the Ashokan Pillar, there is the famous sacred pool- ‘Puskarni’ believed to be the same sacred pool in which Maya Devi took a holy dip just before giving birth to the Lord and also where infant Buddha was given his first purification bath. Architecturally the pool has the projecting terraces in descending order and is reverted with a fine brick masonry.

Sanctum-Sanctorum of the Birthplace
The single most important place of the Lumbini (and to the entire Buddhist world for that matter) is the stoneslab-located deep in the Sanctum sanctorum.Revealed after a hard and meticulous excavations under the three layers of ruins over the site of a famous Maya Devi temple, the stone slab foundation pinpoints the location of the original place-marking the exact spot of the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

Maya Devi temple
Maya Devi temple
  has been built in the memory of Gautam Buddha’s mother, Maya Devi. This has become one of the major Nepal Buddhist Tour Destination for the tourists from abroad. The splendid sculpture that has been engraved is Buddha standing upright on a lotus petal and his mother under the Sal tree. This temple is believed to have been built 2000 years back. This is indeed amazing that the temple has been excavated and has been restored for people to learn about the rich culture of Buddhism.

Getting there and around
Buses run regulary after every hour or so from morning six o' clock to afternoon five o' clock to Lumbini from Bhairawa, an industrial town situated 284 km to the southeast of Lumbini. They are crowded and slow: it almost takes an hour for the 22km trip. 

You can hire a cab for the day for about US$15. The cost may sound little bit expensive, but it's worth spending if you are travelling in a small group. The other option is you can hire a three-wheeler tempo for about half the price. 
You can also take a 45-minute flight from Kathmandu to Gautam Buddha Airport at Bhairawa. 
Buses from Bhairawa leave from near the main intersection, across the street from the Hotel Yeti.

Air The closest airport is at Bhairawa, from where there are flights to and from Kathmandu.

Depending on how long you want to stay in Lumbini, a bicycle or hiring a rickshaw would be nice to go around but not necessary (especially for the fact that one cannot find a bike for rent easily).

Where To Stay in Lumbini Nepal

Most people come just for a day trip and usually stay the night in Bhairawa or Sunauli 22 km away. 
It is possible to stay in the very basic facilities at some of the monasteries for a donation. Sometimes the bathrooms can be quite depressing. The Theravada monastery has a basic dharmshala. It may be possible to stay at the Tibetan Monastery, outside of the winter months. It may also be possible to stay at the Dae Sun Suk Gu Sa Monastery.

Lumbini Village Lodge, Lumbini Mehalbar, about 2 km east of main site, has simple rooms (a bit depressing) for Rs 200/300 appox. Basic meals are Rs 40 appox.

Sri Lankan Pilgrims Rest House  about a half-hour walk (3km) from the Sacred Garden, is a large modern place that has clean rooms with common bath and hot water. Dorm beds are Rs 250 Appox. It has a restaurant.

Hotel Rainbow  has air-cooled rooms for Rs 500/600 Appox. It is over-priced and is right on the highway so can be noisy.

Mikasa Hotel is a new place with good rooms.

Lumbini Buddha Hotel (email: is a mid-range place with hot water and air-cooled rooms. It has a restaurant. It is southwest of the Sacred Garden.

Lumbini Hokke Hotel (20236, 80236; fax: same), several km north of the main site, is a luxury hotel with rooms for $90/130. It is managed by Japanese and is used mainly by Japanese Buddhist pilgrims. Meals for non-guest are $12 or more. It has rooms with Japanese furniture. It is one of the best hotels in Nepal.

Hotel Lumbini Garden New Crystal is newly built. Pool, health club and meditation center.
The Lumbini Garden Restaurant, near the main parking lot (car park), is a decent place that has Indian and Western dishes. The is an eating place in the compound of the Theravada Monastery

Address of Hotels in Lumbini

Hotel Lumbini Garden
Buddhanagar, Mahilawar,
Lumbini, Nepal.
Tel: 977-71-580145/622155
Fax: 977-71-580045
Lumbini Hokke Hotel
Hotel Nirvana (Lumbini, Nepal)
P.O. Box 24 
Paklihawa Road, Siddhartha Nagar 
Lumbini, Nepal 
Fax: (977)-71-521262
Buddha Maya Gardens Hotel
South Of Lumbini Garden, Lumbini, Nepal
+977 71 580 220
(The Buddha Maya Gardens Hotel, Lumbini is set in 4 acres of grounds. A 10 minutes walk away from the Mayadevi temple)

Places around Lumbini
Located some 27 km. west of Lumbini lies the ruins of historic town of ‘Kapilvastu’. Believed to be the capital of Shakya republic where the Lord lived and enjoyed his life until his thirteeth year, Kapilvastu has been identified with. Tilaurakot by the archaelolotists. Also, the place is believed to have been associated with different important episodes: there are ruins and mounds of old stupas and monasteries made of kiln-burnt bricks and clay-mortar. The remains are surrounded by a moat and the wall of the city are made of bricks. In fact, the city of Kapilvastu are in such a grand scale that it could be easily be visualised as a seat of high culture.

About 10 km northwest of Taulihawa there is a rectangular fortified area which is popularly known as Arourakot. The fortified area is identified by the famous Indian archaeologist P.C. Mukharji as the natal town of Kanakmuni Buddha. Remains of ancient moat and brick fortification around the Kot can still be clearly located. A brick lined well is seen to the south and elevated mound towards the northwest corner.

About 5 km. southwest of Taulihawa, there is a village called Gotihawa. In the village there is an Ashokan Pillar standing in a slab. The upper portion of the pillar is broken and lost and only the lower portion of the pillar 3.5m. high is still intact. Adjoining the pillar towards its northeast there is a huge stupa with successive ring of wedge shaped Mauryan bricks.

About 2 km. southwest of Taulihawa, on the left side of the Shoratgarh Taulihawa road stands the village Kudan having a huge structural ruin with a cluster of four mounds and a tank. The mounds were excavated in 1962.

About 8 km, northwest of Taulihawa, there is another site of archaelogical importance. The site has quadrangular tank surrounded by bushes, locally known as Niglisagar. On the western Bank of the tank there are two broken pieces of the Ashokan pillar, the longer one laying flat and the shorter ones stack into the ground. The pillar bears 2 peacocks on the top part and a Devanagari script inscription reading Om mani Padme Hun Ripu mallasya Chiran Jayut 1234.’

The shorter portion of the pillar which is partly buried in the ground measures 1.52m in length bears four lines of Ashokan inscription in the Brahmi script which roughly translates as: "King Piyadasi Beloved of the gods, after 14 years of his coronation enlarged for the second time the stupa of Buddha kanaka Muni, and after 20 years of his coronat ion he came himself and worshipped (and ) he caused (this) stone pillar to be erected:"

About 12 km. north of Taulihawa, there is a forest area called Sagarhawa. In the midst of the forest there is a huge rectangular tank which is popularly known as Lumbusagar, or a long tank. The ancient tanks ruins which were excavated and indentified by Dr. Aslois A Fuhrer as the ‘Palace of massacre of the Shakyas’ in 1895 can still be located on the west south banks of the Sagar.

Lumbini Development Project
To develop "Lumbini" as a center of International Buddhist Culture and Learning a master plan development is underway. As suggested by Mr. U-Thant. The UN secretary a master plan was prepared by Mr. Kenzo T ange, the reputed Japanese architect. The salient features of the plan are

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