Lumbini, the place where the Buddha was born in 623 BC, is situated in the Terai plains of southern Nepal. The nativity site is marked by a stone pillar erected by Indian Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC to commemorate his pilgrimage to the sacred spot.
Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Lumbini is being developed with international support as the supreme Buddhist pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace. The Sacred Garden where the Buddha was born converges on the Ashoka pillar which carries an inscription identifying the spot as the birthplace. The serene tree-shaded lawn is dotted with brick mounds - ruins of ancient stupas and monasteries. To one side of the pillar is the Mayadevi Temple which houses a bas relief depicting the nativity. Recent excavations have turned up a stone bearing a foot imprint" indicating the exact place of birth. The Puskarni pond where Queen Mayadevi, the Buddhas mother, had taken a bath before giving birth to him lies nearby.
TEMPLES AND MONASTERIES
The Lokamani Cula Pagoda, a gleaming gold and white structure gracefully soaring into the sky in the style of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, is also known as the Myanmar Temple. Nearby, the International Gautami Nuns Temple is a fine replica of the Swayambhu stupa in Kathmandu. There is also a guest house for pilgrims here.
The magnificent China Temple is a complex of pagodas, prayer rooms and meditation cells. Built by the Buddhist Association of China, the centerpiece at the Zhong Hua Buddhist Monastery is a huge statue of the Buddha housed in its main pagoda. Across the road, the Dae Sung Suk Ga Sa Korean Temple (Tel: 071-80123) is still under construction, but its guest house has been completed. Its prayer room contains beautiful Buddha images.
The Nepal Buddha Temple and the Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihara are located inside the Sacred Garden. A number of other countries like Japan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand are also erecting temples and monasteries.
The Lumbini Museum, located in the cultural zone, contains Mauryan and Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra-cotta fragments, and stone and metal sculptures. It also possesses an extensive collection of stamps from various countries depicting Lumbini and the Buddha.
Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI), located opposite the Lumbini Museum, provides research facilities for the study of Buddhism and religion in general. Run jointly by the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) and the Reiyukai of Japan, LIRI contains some 12,000 books on religion, philosophy, art and architecture. (Tel: 071-80175).
Kapilvastu Museum is situated 27 km west of Lumbini in the village of Tilaurakot. The museum holds coins, pottery and toys dating between the seventh century BC and fourth century AD. The museum also has a good collection of jewelry and other ornaments from that period. Open daily except Tuesdays and holidays, 10 am to 5 pm. Entrance fee is Rs. 15 (Tel: 071-60128).
An important archeological site lying to the west of Lumbini, Tilaurakot evokes the ancient palace of King Suddhodhan, Siddhartha Gautams father, where the Buddha spent his formative years as a Shakya prince. A must for archeology and history buffs.
Lumbini is situated in the tropical Terai plains to the southwest of Kathmandu.
Access: From Kathmandu, fly to Gautam Buddha Airport at Bhairahawa (45 minutes) and then by bus or car to Lumbini (22 km away). Overland from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa is 282 km (10 hours).
Local transport: Rickshaws, taxis and buses
Fees: The parking fee per day for a car/jeep is Rs. 20, minibus Rs. 30 and bus Rs. 50. The charge per day for bringing a still camera is US$ 1 and movie/video camera US$ 10.
Season: Maximum temperature in summer 42 degrees Celsius, and in winter 5 degrees. The rainy season lasts June-September.
Additional info: For more information about development activities in Lumbini, contact Lumbini Development Trust, Lumbini; Tel 071-80189, 80194; Fax: 977-71-80181. Kathmandu Office: Tel: 268285
Hotels in Lumbini
LUMBINI GARDEN NEW CRYSTAL
Managing Director: Mr. Ajay Ratna Sthapit
Kathmandu Office: Jyatha Tole; Tel: 228011, 228561; Fax: 977-1-228028; E-mail: ajsthapit @mos.com.np
Situated within walking distance from the sacred site where Lord Buddha was born, the Lumbini Garden New Crystal will be opening soon with 72 rooms including 12 Japanese-style rooms and two suites. An air-conditioned conference hall accommodating 325 people and other facilities including IDD telephone service, satellite television, air ticketing, baggage storage, currency exchange, laundry service, safe deposit box, tour desk, shopping arcade, bicycle hiring, parking, swimming pool with outdoor Jacuzzi, sports facilities and meditation garden available.
LUMBINI HOKKE HOTEL
General Manager: Mr. Subash Sharma
Lumbini Sacred Garden, Lumbini; Tel: 071-80236, 80136; Fax: 977-71-80126
Located just off the road to Tilaurakot, Lumbini Hokke Hotel is a super-deluxe property. Most of its rooms are furnished in traditional Japanese style with tatami floors, paper partitions, and Japanese furniture. It also has a number of European-style rooms.
General Manager: Mr. Mahesh Dewan
Paklihawa Road, Siddhartha Nagar; Tel: 20837, 20516; Fax: 977-71-21262
Kathmandu Office: Tripureswor; Tel: 225370, 247422; Fax: 977-1-270048; E-mail: nirva@ ccsl.com.np
Hotel Nirvana, a centrally air-conditioned deluxe hotel with 42 rooms, has all modern amenities including individual room temperature control. Its restaurant serves Nepali, Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisines, and its Lobby Bar offers exotic drinks. There is also a Japanese bath house and a banquet hall with seating capacity for 250.
MD Publishing Co.
Tripureswor, P. O. Box 3525, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tel: 260327, 256003 . Telex: 2611 EMC NP. Fax: 977-1-261159.
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Last Updated: 24 July, 2000
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