Places to Visit in Nepal @ Lumbini
Sanskrit for "the lovely" is a Buddhist pilgrimage site located at the Nepalese town of Kapilavastu, district Rupandehi, near the Indian border. Lumbini is one of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites based on major events in the life of Gautama Buddha. Interestingly, all of the events occurred under trees. The other three sites are in India: Bodh Gaya (enlightenment), Sarnath (first discourse), and Kushinagar (death).
What to See in LUMBINI?Lumbini lies in the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal. The site is a large garden with a grove of pipal trees. The area around Lumbini is entirely Hindu, but many Buddhist temples and shrines from various nations are scattered around the holy site itself. The most important temple at Lumbini is the Maya Devi Temple, which enshrines the traditional site of the Buddha's birth. The current temple stands on the site of earlier temples and stupas, including the stupa built by Ashoka. The modern temple consists mainly of simple white building that protects ancient ruins, with the exact spot of the Buddha's birth identified. The delicate sandstone sculptures discovered here are now in the National Museum in Kathmandu. Atop the temple is a small square tower of the type seen in Kathmandu, with Buddha eyes on each side and a golden pinnacle on top. On the south side of the temple is a sacred pool (see top photo), where it is said Maya Devi bathed before giving birth, and where the newborn Buddha was washed by two dragons. The Maha Devi temple is surrounded by the brick foundations of ancient temples and monasteries. All around Lumbini, long lines of colorful prayer flags are strung between trees. They carry prayers and mantras heavenward as they flap on the breeze. The other main sight of interest at Lumbini is Ashoka's Pillar, near the temple. It is protected by a small fence, which is decorated with prayer flags and banners from the faithful. Around the courtyard containing the pillar are bowls for incense sticks, and there is room to sit in front of the pillar for contemplation.