Lumbini - Birth Place of Lord Buddha
Lumbini - Birth Place of Lord Buddha Reviews
Lumbini - Birth Place of Lord Buddha Jul 24, 2013
As the birthplace of the Lord Buddha - the apostle of peace and the light of Asia was born in 623 BC - the sacred area of Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from a very early period. Lumbini, in the South-Western Terai of Nepal, evokes a kind of holy sentiment to the millions of Buddhists all over the world, like Jerusalem to Christians and Mecca to Muslims.
Lumbini is the place where the Buddha, known as the Tathagata, was born. It is the place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which should cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence. The site and its surrounding area is endowed with a rich natural setting of domesticable fauna and favourable agricultural environ. Historically, the region is an exquisite treasure-trove of ancient ruins and antiquities, dating back to the pre-Christian era. The site, described as a beautiful garden in the Buddha's time, still retains its legendary charm and beauty.
The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is 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. There is no particular significance in this, other than it perhaps explains why Buddhists have always respected the environment and natural law.
Lumbini is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas in modern Nepal. In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was a beautiful garden full of green and shady sal trees (Shorea robusta ). The garden and its tranquil environs were owned by both the Shakyas and the clans. King Suddhodana, father of Gautama Buddha, was of the Shakya dynasty and belonged to the Kshatriya (warrior caste). Maya Devi, his mother, gave birth to the child on her way to her parent's home in Devadaha while resting in Lumbini under a sal tree in the month of May, 642 BC. The beauty of Lumbini is described in Pali and Sanskrit literature.
Maya Devi, it is said, was spellbound to see the natural grandeur of Lumbini. While she was standing, she felt labour pains and catching hold of a drooping branch of a sal tree, she gave birth to a baby, the future Buddha.
In 249 BC, when the Indian Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini, it was a flourishing village. Ashoka constructed four stupas and a stone pillar with a figure of a horse on top. The stone pillar bears an inscription, which in translation runs as follows: 'King Piyadasi (Ashoka), beloved of devas, in the 20th year of the coronation, himself made a royal visit, Buddha Sakyamuni having been born here; a stone railing was built and a stone pillar erected to the Bhagavan having been born here, Lumbini village was taxed reduced and entitled to the eight part (only)'.
Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. In 1895, Feuhrer, a famous German archaeologist, discovered the great pillar while wandering about the foothills of the Churia range. Further exploration and excavation of the surrounding area revealed the existence of a brick temple and sandstone sculpture within the temple itself, which depicts the scenes of the Buddha's birth.
It is pointed out by scholars that the temple of Maya Devi was constructed over the foundations of more than one earlier temple or stupa, and that this temple was probably built on an Ashokan stupa itself. To the south of the Maya Devi temple there is the famous sacred bathing pool known as Puskarni. It is believed that Maya Devi took a bath in this pool before the delivery.
By the side of the Ashoka pillar a river which flows south-east and is locally called the Ol. In 1996, an archaeological dig unearthed a 'flawless stone' placed there by Ashoka in 249 BC to mark the precise location of the Buddha's birth more than 2,600 years ago. if authenticated, the find will put Lumbini even more prominently on the map for millions of religious pilgrims.
Ashokan Pillar - an inscribed pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka (249 BC) on the spot of Buddha's birth. The inscription, which is the oldest in Nepal, grants Lumbini a tax-free status in honor of Buddha’s birth.
Buddhist Temples - there are foundations of temples dating from the 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD, and two modern temples: one in Tibetan style, the Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Temple, which was built by the king of Mustang, and one Nepalese Theravada style building, the Lumbini Buddha Vihar, which was built by the Nepalese government and contains Tibetan-style frescoes and Newari-style Buddhist images. Outside the main complex, there are other temples built in the styles of countries where Buddhism is the predominant religion, such as Chinese, Japanese and Burmese.
The Japan Peace Stupa - the 41m imposing structure is situated at the northern end of the gardens.
The Lumbini Museum displays artifacts from the Mauryan and Kushana periods, religious manuscripts and other items discovered at the site. Closed on Tuesdays.
The Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI) is devoted to the study of Buddhism and other religions. It houses an extensive collection of books on religion, art and architecture.
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.
Tilaurakot: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.
Kudan: 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.
Gothihawa : 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.
Niglihawa: About 8 km from Tilaurakot, Niglihawa is where Kanakmani Buddha was born. Here too one can see remains of a broken Ashokan Pillar.
Devdaha: 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.
Sagarhawa : 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.
Wetland areas, lakes and ponds in the villages offer birdwatching opportunities. Visitors have the option of choosing to walk through the villages or ride in a local rickshaw or bullock cart. Some of the villages surrounding Lumbini are Ekala, Khudabagar, Tenuhawa, Lumbini Adarsh and Madhuvani. More information is available about the villages in the New Products section.
Lumbini Museum: The museum located in the cultural zone within the Lumbini Development Trust campus, contains Mauryan and Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra-cotta pieces, and stone and metal sculptures.
Lumbini International Research Institute (LIRI): The museum located opposite the Lumbini Museum, provides research facilities for the study of Buddhism and religion in general. It contains some 12,000 books on religion, philosophy, art and architecture. Kapilvastu Museum: The museum is situated 27 km west of Lumbini in the village of Tilaurakot. The museum displays coins and pottery dating between 7th century BC and 4th century AD.
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Birthplace of Lord Buddha ' Lumbini' Jul 24, 2013
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, in the Terai plains of Nepal is one of the greatest pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. More than 400,000 Buddhists and non Buddhists visit Lumbini every year. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture) and holds immense archaeological and religious importance.
Sacred Garden: It was here in the gardens of Lumbini that Prince Siddhartha Gautam, who later became the Buddha, was born in 623 BC. The nativity site is marked by a commemorative pillar erected by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka of India during his pilgrimage to the holy site in 249 BC.
The inscription on the Ashoka Pillar indentifies the Sacred Garden - spread over 9 sq. km – as the spot where the Enlightened One was born. A large number of Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world visit Lumbini to pray at the Mayadevi Temple where excavations have revealed the “marker stone” showing the exact spot where Siddhartha Gautam Buddha was born. The sacred 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.
Monuments: To the north of the Sacred Garden are monastic zones where different countries have built temples and monasteries depicting different sects of Buddhism. The Myanmar Temple (Lokamani Cula Pagoda) is a shiny gold and white structure that resembles the Shwe-dagon Pagoda of Yangon while the International Gautami Nuns Temple is a replica of the Swayambhu Stupa of Kathmandu. The China Temple, built by the Buddhist Association of China, is a complex of pagodas, prayer rooms and meditation cells. Across the road is the Dae Sung Suk Ga Sa Korean Temple.
The Japan Peace Stupa, built by Nippon Jon Kyohoji of Japan, is a 41-m tall structure with four different Buddha statues set into the stupa’s dome facing the four cardinal directions. Other beautiful monuments and temples have been built by Vietnam, Thailand, Mongolia, France, Germany and Sri Lanka.
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