Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha the Shakya prince and ultimate Buddha. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It is a small town in the southern Terai plains of Nepal, where the ruins of the old city can still be seen. At the age of 84, Lord Buddha left this world with thousands of followers to keep Buddhism alive. Lumbini has since been a holy ground for Buddhists all over the world. The restored garden and surroundings of Lumbini have the remains of many of the ancient Stupas and Monasteries. A large stone pillar erected by the Indian Emperor Ashoka in 250 BC bears an inscription about the birth of the Buddha.
Lumbini Garden, PagodaThe most important attraction of Lumbini is the holy temple of Maya Devi. The temple has a stone sculpture of Maya Devi in labor pain. In the temple of Maya Devi, there is a stone image of Maya Devi giving birth to Lord Buddha as she holds onto a branch of a tree. The temple is very popular among women having some or other fertility problems. One cannot miss the heart-rending cries of such women as they pray for offspring at this place. To the south of the temple, there is a pond where Queen Maya Devi is said to have bath and given birth to her son his first purification bath which is compulsory in Hinduism. An important archaeological site near Lumbini, Kapilvastu evokes the ancient palace where Lord Buddha spent his formative years. Scattered foundations of the palace are abundant and archaeologists have by now discovered 13 successive layers of human habitation dating back to the eighth century BC. This area also houses ruins of ancient monasteries and the temple of Mayadevi – Lord Buddha’s mother. Other monuments here are the various monasteries constructed by other countries like Japan, Burma, Korea Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
Kapilbastu, not far from Lumbini, was the location of the Kingdom which Gautam Buddha’s father ruled. Around here are many ruins which indicate the old forts and palaces of the time. Tilorakot, the capital of Kapilbastu where Siddhartha (Buddha) spent his days inside a palace as an apparent to the throne. It was here he came to know about the suffering of people and decided to choose the way of the Buddha.
Maya Devi Temple
The most popular temple in Lumbini is the Maya Devi temple. Maya Devi temple is the place where Gautam Buddha was born. Gautam Buddha was the son of King Suddhodhan and Queen Maya Devi of Kapilvastu. Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam (who later became Gautam Buddha) on a full moon day (Baishakh Purnima). Right in front of the Maya Devi temple is the ‘Pushkarini pond’ where Maya Devi used to take a bath and Siddhartha Gautam is also believed to have taken his first bath in that pond. The Maya Devi Garden is also one of the great attractions there.
Ashoka, an emperor from India visited Lumbini and built the Ashoka Pillar. The Ashoka Pillar has great historical importance because the pillar is inscribed with the history of Gautam Budhha and Buddhism. The pillar is 22 feet tall and an inscription tells that it is erected in the place where Gautam Buddha was born. Though it was built around the 3rd century, it was rediscovered in 1896 by Khadga Shamsher Rana who was the governor of Palpa. The Ashoka Pillar is surrounded by a fence. Visitors offer butter lamps and prayer flags on the fence.
Myanmar Golden Temple
Myanmar Golden Temple is an attractive temple in Lumbini. The temple is painted in gold and white which has 3 prayer halls inside the temple. The temple has an artistic architecture. The structure of the temple resembles the top of the ancient temples built in Pagoda style.
World Peace Pagoda
Another major attraction of Lumbini is the World Peace Pagoda which was built in the US for $1 million by the Japanese. The structure covers quite a huge area. It is painted in white and there’s a golden statue of Lord Buddha.
Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar
Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar is a beautifully constructed Gompa outside the main premise. The Vihar is built in a Tibetan style of architecture. There’s a hall of a considerable size where 60 monks conduct Tara Puja every day. The walls of the Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar are painted artistically which depicts Buddhist art.
Lumbini is also famous for its Lumbini Museum it holds some major life events of Gautam Buddha in the form of paintings, photos, and artifacts. Thousands of tourists visit the museum every year and Historians who have a keen interest in Buddhism also visit this museum.
Chinese Buddhist Monastery
One of the beautifully constructed monasteries in Lumbini is a Chinese Buddhist monastery. Its impressive structure and arts attract a lot of tourists. The Chinese Buddhist Monastery was constructed in 2000 by the Buddhist Association of China. Inside the monastery, you can see halls to meditate and some humongous statues in a unique artistic position. The statues are an amazing art of work.
Tilaurakot is the historical site of Kapilavastu which is about 29 km west of Lumbini. Siddhartha Gautama spent the first 29 years of his life as a prince in this place before leaving the palace. It was the capital of Kapilavastu, an ancient Sakya Kingdom in those days. Archaeologists have identified the gate he left through to begin his journey to enlightenment.
Normally Tour Itinerary depends from company to company and your choice.
Day 01: Fly or Drive to Lumbini
Flight from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa takes 35 minutes and from there, it is a 30-minute drive to Lumbini. One can also drive to Lumbini (300 km) from Kathmandu. Overnight in a Hotel.
Day 02: Breakfast | Lumbini Tour
Lumbini Tour includes a visit to the Mayadevi temple and a tour of the surrounding areas of Lumbini Development Trust (LDT). The 3 square mile area of LDT includes Sacred Garden, Monastic Zone, and New Lumbini Village.
Day 03: Breakfast | Lumbini Cultural experiences
On the day we will visit the surrounding villages of Lumbini and observe rural culture. Interaction with warm and hospital local people, buying their authentic handicraft products, and observing their traditional rituals will bring one closer to understanding the diversity of Terai cultures in Nepal.
Day 04: Religious and archaeological sites of Kapilavastu
Drive and visit the religious and archaeological sites of Tilaurakot, Gotihawa, Kudan, Siddharthanagar, Niglihara, and Sagarhawam Aurorakot. Tilaurakot is the ancient Kapilabastu – the capital of Shakya. Kudan was where Buddha was received by his father after his access to enlightenment. Gotihawa is the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha. Niglihawa is where Kanakmuni Buddha was born. Sagarhawa is the archeological findings as the “place of the Massacre of the Shakyas”.
Day 05: Devdaha – Ramgram – Bhairahawa – Kathmandu
Drive and visit religious and archeological sites at Devdaha and Ramagram. Devdaha is the ancient capital of the Koliya kingdom. It is the maternal hometown of Queen Mayadevi (mother), Prajapati Gautami (stepmother), Princess Yasodhara (consort), and where Prince Siddhartha spent his childhood. Ramgrama is the brick mound on the bank of the Jharahi River. It is a seven-meter-high brick stupa consisting of a relic (one of the eight astha dhatu) of Lord Buddha. The Stupa was built by the king of Ramgrama, who was the eighth king to obtain the Buddha’s relics.
Day 06: Fly or drive back to Kathmandu