Lumbini is the place where the apostle of peace and the light of Asia lord Buddha were born in 623 B.C. Lumbini is situated in the foot hills of Himalayas about 22 kms form Bhairahawa of Nepal. It is located in the flat plains of south –Western Nepal which evokes a kind of holy sentiment to the millions of Buddhists all over the world. Lumbini and its surrounding area are endowed with a rich nature environment. Lumbini is a piece of heaven on earth and one could see the Snowy Mountains amidst a splendid garden-embedded with stupas and monasteries! The sacred place is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites.
Historically, It is an exquisite treasure-trove of ancient ruins and antiquities, dating back to pre-Christian era. The site, described as a beautiful garden in the Buddha’s time still retains its legendary charm and beauty. To the mere 12 miles north of Lumbini lies the dense and picturesque sal-grove. King Suddhodana, father of Gautam Buddha was of the Shakya dynasty. Siddhartha Gautam was born from the womb of maya-devi in the sixth century BC in Lumbini garden during the full moon day in the month of Baishak. Maya-devi gave birth to the child on the way to her parental home in Devadaha while taking rest in Lumbini under a sal tree. While she was standing, she felt labor pains and catching hold of a drooping branch of a Sal tree, the baby, the future Buddha, was born. Maya Devi with her right hand holding on to a branch of a sal tree with a newborn child standing upright on a lotus petal and took seven steps towards north, shedding an oval halo, around his head, Two other celestial figures are depicted in an act of pouring water and lotuses bestowed from heaven and looking in all directions, he declared that:’ I am the foremost of all creatures to cross the riddle of the ocean of the existence, this is my last birth and here after, I will not be born again.’ About 30km east of Lumbini is the village of Tilaurakot which is believed to have been the location of the Kapilvastu royal palace where the Buddha born and grew up as the Shakya dynasty prince.
newly born Prince named Siddhartha had supernatural birth & signs, which indicated that the new born child will bring deliverance to the world. Rishis warned the king that the boy might renounce the world anytime if he happens to come across: (1). The dilseased, (2). The old man, (3). The dead body & (4). The ascetic. The king alarmed to hear this and married Prince Siddhartha at an early age and almost imprisoned him in pleasure palaces providing there in all kinds of enjoyments. Eventually Kapilvastu is the place where Lord Buddha had lived the childhood and the days of teenage, in complete luxury but he renounced it at the age of 29 in search of enlightyenment.
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: Bidh Gaya (enlightenment), Sarnath (first discourse), and kushinagar (death). It is said that Lord Buddha himself had advises the monks and followers form his death bed at Kusinagar to visit the four places: Lumbini, Bodhagaya, Saranatha and Kusinagar. So, Lumbini remained not only as a pleasure garden, but it also developed as a place of pilgrimage after the birth of Lord Buddha.
The capital of King Shuddhodhan, Kapilvastu still carries with it the mystic charm. It houses many sculptures of Buddhism, which present a landscape before that visitor that makes them feel calm, content. Kapilvstu carries the vilsitors away to ancient days when Buddha was a small child, a pricne.
Maya Davi Temple of Lumbini itself depicts the scenes of the Buddha’s birth. On the south of the Maya Davi temple there is the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maya Devi took a bath in the pool just before giving birth to the Lord and also where infant Buddha was given his first purification bath. By the side of the Ashoka pillar there is a river which flows southeast.
In 249 BC, when the Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini constructed four stupas and a stone pillar with a figure of a horse on top. The stone pillar bears an inscription in Brahmi script and its English translation is King Piyadsi (Ashoka), beloved of divas, in the 20 year of the coronation, himself made a royal visit, Buddha Sakyamuni having been born here, Lumbini village was taxed reduced and entitled to the eight part. The inscription of the pillar declares that Ashoka granted Lumbini tax-free status in honor if Buddha’s birth. It is 6m high and half of it is beneath the ground. It is situated nearby the Sacred Garden and behind the Maya Devi Temple, to the west of the temple. The pillar of considered as the first epigraphic evidence relating to the life history of Lord Buddha and is also the most visible landmark of the garden. The middle hall contains some exquisite murals resembling the medieval periods. His visit indicates that this region was under the sovereignty of this dynasty and that this region was still widely known as holy place of pilgrimage. In this context various antiquities and monuments reveal that Lumbini was continuously inhabited from the sixth century BC to the fourteenth century AD. In the 15/16th century (1489-1517AD) Lodi Sultan attack and might have destroyed the stone sculptures as well as monuments as Lumbini and Kapilvastu in the process of propagation of Muslim movement in the region. Recently, several beautiful shrines have been built by devotees from Buddhist countries. 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. Currently, the holy site is being developed with international support as the supreme Buddhist pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace. The shrines and monasteries that many countries have built reflect the architectural traditions of the respective countries, and thus giving Lumbini an international feel with a message of universal friendship and brotherhood. Lumbini is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism. The place itself is interesting as a whole, the landscape and the green forestry. However Maya Devi temple and the Stupas and the Pillar built by Ashoka are really worth a visit.
The main Visiting Place at Lumbini remains the Sacred Garden, which is spread over 8 sq. km and possesses all the treasures of the historic area. Most of the Nepal travelers want to make their itinerary to travel in lumbini.