Lumbini Kapilvastu, Nepal
Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Nepal. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 623 BCE. Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of Gautama Buddha; other notable pilgrimage sites include Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya and Sarnath.
(The birthplace of the Buddha.) Siddhartha Gautama was born in the famous gardens of Lumbini. It is a UNESCO world heritage site & one of the four holy places of Buddhism. It is said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death. All these events happened outside in nature under trees.
The place itself is interesting as a whole, the landscapes and the green forestry. However Maya Devi temple and the Stupas and the Pillar built by Ashoka are really worth a visit. Recently, several beautiful shrines have been constructed by devotees from all over the world. A visit to Lumbini is not only for spiritual enlightenment but also for solace and satisfaction that one gets in such a calm and peaceful place.
• Maya Devi Temple
Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. In 1895, a famous German archaeologist discovered the great pillar, further exploration and excavation of the surrounding area revealed the existence of a brick temple and a sandstone sculpture within the temple itself which represents the scenes of Buddha’s birth. On the south of the Maya Devi temple there is the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maha Devi took a bath in this pool before the delivery. The temple is built gradually and is composed of many temples, one after the other. It is also found that there is possibility that a Ashoka Stupa existed in the place of temple.
• The Ashokan pillar
The Ashokan Pillar, essentially erected by Ashoka (249 BC) visited Lumbini and erected an inscribed Ashokan Pillar on the spot of Buddha's birth. The inscription of the pillar (the oldest in Nepal) declares that Ashoka granted Lumbini tax-free status in honor of Buddha’s birth. It is 6m high and half of it is beneath the ground. It is behind the Maya Devi Temple, to the west of the temple. Emperor Ashoka erected many other pillars throughout India. The carved top of the pillar has never been found.
• The Buddhist monastery
It’s built in the way of the modern Buddhist temples of Nepal but is quite important in the purview of architecture of the walls. The middle hall contains some exquisite murals resembling the medieval periods'.
Lumbini -Buddhist Circuit Tour
The circuit provides insight into the life of Lord Buddha and the development of Buddhism. There are 62 archaeological sites scattered around Lumbini. The tour goes through Tilaurakot, Kudan, Gothihawa, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa, Aurorakot, Devadaha and Ramagrama - all bearing significance to the life and enlightenment of the Buddha.
• Puskarni Pond
Where Queen Mayadevi had taken a bath before the birth of Buddha lies to the south of the pillar. It was also in this pond that the infant Buddha was given his first bath.
Identified by archaeologists as the capital of Kapilvastu, Tilaurakot lies 27 km west of Lumbini, where excavations are on to unearth the ancient palace of King Suddhodhan, Siddhartha Gautam’s father. The Buddha is believed to have spent the first 29 years of his princely life in Tilaurakot.
Located some 4.5 km south of Tilaurakot, Kudan is where King Suddhodhan met Lord Buddha for the first time after returning from his enlightenment. It was here that the Kasaya (yellow robe worn by monks) was presented to Lord Buddha. It was also here that the Kasaya was presented by Lord Buddha to Rahul, his son.
About 5 km from Tilaurakot, Gothihawa is where Krakuchanda Buddha, who preceded Shakyamuni Buddha, was born. Remains of a broken Ashoka Pillar and relics can be seen here.
About 8 km from Tilaurakot, Niglihawa is where Kanakmani Buddha was born. Here too one can see remains of a broken Ashokan Pillar.
The capital of the Koliya kingdom and maternal home of Mayadevi, Devdaha is 35 km to the northeast of Lumbini. This is where Siddhartha Gautam spent his childhood.
Forest site is identified by archeologists as the “Palace of the Massacre of the Shakyas” by the invading forces. The ruins of the ancient site lie on the west and south banks of a large rectangular pond known locally as Lumbu Sagar, or long pond, in Niglihawa village. Sagarahawa is 12 km north of Taulihawa municipality in Lumbini
• Lumbini Village Tour
A walk through the villages surrounding Lumbini and interaction with the warm and hospitable local people, buying their handicrafts and observing their traditional rituals will bring one closer to understanding the diversity of the Terai cultures in Nepal. Village tours also give an opportunity to observe the Terai landscape and a peek into the locals’ agro-based rural lifestyle, colorful costumes, festivals which they celebrate with much joy and enthusiasm, and gracious hospitality. Visitors can also visit the local temples and mosques or partake in the cultural ceremonies.
Fusion Garden Restaurant Lumbini, Nepal (Ranked #7 of 8 Restaurants in Lumbini)
DAY 12: Lumbini-Lucknow airport (approx 300 km)
Check out from the Lumbini hotel to reach Lucknow airport by an assisted drive.
Transfer to an airport and take flight from luck now to Kolkata.