Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site, near the Indian border. Buddha, known as the Lord of Asia, was born in Lumbini during the full moon day in the month of Baisakh in 623 BC and was born under a sal tree, when Mayadevi was going to her maternal town.
The Sacred Garden where Buddha was reportedly born was at the time a well tended site but lost for nearly six hundred years and in 1896 was re-discovered, quite by chance. The centrepiece of the Sacred Garden is the Maya Devi Mandir, with part of it being the oldest known structure in Nepal. However, it is being renovated and at present is cordoned off and it may be years before the work is completed. The temple during the 4th to 6th centuries sat on foundations from earlier times, with the lowest level of the excavations showing a structure that would have existed at the time of Buddha.
Near to the temple is the Ashokan pillar, with a square pool near to it and the brick foundations all around the site date from the 2nd century BC to the 10th century AD. Today there are two active monasteries that face the Sacred Garden, one Tibetan and one Nepali. In the East and West Monastic Zones, 41 plots have been set aside for temples and monasteries and nearly ten have been completed so far. The Lumbini Shanti Stupa and the Crane Sanctuary for sarus cranes, storks and egrets completes the master plan, a 5 square kilometre religious park which was set up by the Indian government.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...