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Lumbini, Nepal

Lumbini Travel Blog

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Lumbini, Nepal - Jeune chauffeur népalais

Ready to visit Buddha’s birthplace??!!  Well, I certainly was!!

It had always been the plan to finish up our journey in Nepal at this magical place, where thousands of pilgrims come to pay their respects to the great Buddha. 

And well, even though we were incredibly tired out by that point, we also wanted to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity for ourselves.

So upon arrival in Lumbini, it was the same routine, find accommodation so that we then could visit the sites to be seen at this sacred place.

Not too hard to do, just had to venture to the outskirts of the downtown area, in order to find a reasonably priced hostel, as opposed to staying downtown where prices were way more expensive and obviously set for the rich tourists.

Lumbini, Nepal - The Myanmar Monastery, aka Lokamani Cula Pagoda

And what a huge difference there was between this part of town and the city centre.  Although we hadn’t step foot in India just yet, this area gave off a totally different atmosphere. 

A bit more chaotic, a lot less peaceful, and well pretty much the feeling of a border town.  No surprise, considering that we were not too far from the Indian border too!!

Anyway, a bit of info for you folks . . .

As already mentioned, Lumbini is the Birthplace of Lord Buddha and a World Heritage Site. 

Today it’s been enlivened by the multitude of architecturally beautiful temples, stupas and monasteries built by various international Buddhist communities. 

This pilgrimage site attracts devout Buddhists from around the world, who arrive to pay homage at the Sacred Garden where the "Enlightened One" was born.

Lumbini, Nepal - At the entrance of the Burmese Lokamani Cula Pagoda

During our brief stay at this holy site, we got the chance to visit many of the must-see spots in Lumbini.  To start off the Eternal Peace Flame and Peace Bell. 

And let’s not forget the World Peace Pagoda, found within the International Monastery Zone, along with all the other lavish monasteries located near the Sacred Garden also in THE Zone.

Interestingly enough, many Buddhist communities from various countries around the world have built or are building temples, monasteries or stupas, as part of a global initiative to promote Lumbini.

Arnaud found this to be a bit strange because he saw it as if the whole purpose of it all was just to show off.  As if other countries were just trying to out-do one another, financially-speaking, I guess. 

I, on the other hand, saw it more as a nice contribution to humanity and peace.

Lumbini, Nepal - Images depuis la Pagoda birmanne de Lokamani Cula
  May sound cheesy, but hey that’s me.  :)

Our visit also included a break at the Sacred Garden, to check out the one and only sacred Bodhi tree, under which Buddha received enlightenment.

At the same time, we also got to relax a bit at the ancient bathing pond, where supposedly Maya Devi is said to have given her son his first purification bath.

To top it all off, how could we miss out on visiting the Ashoka Pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located, and where a glimpse of Buddha’s "foot-print" is NOT to be missed.

Apart from all the tranquil sightseeing we managed to squeeze in, there is one regret I do have about our visit to this soothing and peaceful place . . . our lack of interaction with the town’s population. 

It was non-existent, unfortunately.

Lumbini, Nepal - Entrance of Burmese Lokamani Cula Pagoda
  It was almost as if we were all alone to stroll around this magical place. 

I guess Lumbini’s folk don’t really mingle with all the tourists passing through here; or could it be that our presence is so banal that they don’t even notice us any more. 

Don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing . . . hmm? 

In any case, some more contact with the locals would have been appreciated, so that we could have a better feel of their thoughts and spirituality.

Ah, almost forgot, we did have one little incident with the locals, but nothing peaceful nor spiritual about it at all!!! 

Well, not me, Arnaud, more so!!  There we were trying to grab some lunch at a food stall near the World Peace Pagoda, when suddenly a fight broke out!!  Haha, well not exactly.

Lumbini, Nepal - The Myanmar Monastery, aka Lokamani Cula Pagoda

Here’s what happened . . . as we were trying to negotiate our meal, Arnaud automatically assumed that we were being ripped off again, and well started implying it the owner. 

Paranoia or was he right?  Don’t know. 

In any case, the owner didn’t appreciate the assumption and became quite aggressive with Arnaud, and even began waving a butcher knife at him, at one point!! 

Pretty ironic occurrence, considering the location where we were . . . THE WORLD PEACE PAGODA!!!  Hmmm?

Long story short, a bit of hostility and hot-headedness for no reason!  The happy ending to the story is that any potential violence was avoided, and we even had our lunch for a reasonable price!!!  :)

So, our time here was nice, but off we go from here for more adventures!!!

Avant d’arriver à Lumbini, une bande de jeunes chauffeurs nous amenèrent pour une bonne partie du voyage.

Lumbini, Nepal - Zhong Hua Chinese Buddhist Monastery
La communication était assez difficile mais bon, ils nous déposèrent à leur terminus.

Ils nous conseillèrent un hôtel restaurant, car il faisait déjà nuit. On tenta un coup de poker, il y avait un jardin, donc on proposa au taulier en échange d’un repas à son resto.

Il nous laissait dormir dans son petit jardin. De toute façon, vu l’état des chambres d’hôtels, c’était du pareil au même, sauf que là, on allait juste payer le resto.

Il acceptait mais, je pense qu’avant d’avoir vu la tente déployée dans son jardin, il avait pas vraiment compris mon offre.

Lumbini, Nepal - Au temple chinois de Maitreya
C’est quand même fou, tout est possible quand on y pense.

On reprit la route le lendemain, Lumbini était notre dernière destination au Népal. C’était la ville où le buddha était né.

Ce n’est pas forcement la religion qui nous attirait mais plutôt son environnement. Il parait que chaque pays à son propre temple, pour se donner bonne conscience peut-être.

Effectivement, en arrivant là-bas, on est vite rentré dans l’atmosphère. Il y avait des temples partout, avec dans chacun d’eux, le drapeau arborant fièrement son origine.

Je trouvais cela un peu bizarre, en France, je n’avais jamais vraiment remarqué un tel engouement pour cette religion.

Lumbini, Nepal - Images of the Chinese Monastery

Pour vous donner une idée de la ville, il y a au centre de la ville un parc géant, où se mélange tous les temples, au cœur même du parc la demeure où le bouddha est né, sa chambre, la maison et l’arbre sacré.

Autour de tous ces temples en rénovation ou flambant neufs, montrant fièrement leur puissance économique.

Les villageois vivant dans des bidonvilles nous voyant visiter ce temple, comme si ne rien n’était, c’était effrayant, ils ne faisaient même plus attention à nous.

On faisait parti du paysage, il y avait 2 sites, celui des touristes et celui des villageois.

Lumbini, Nepal - Buddha statue inside the Chinese Maitreya Temple


Pour trouver un endroit où dormir sur le premier site, les prix étaient beaucoup trop exagérés. On décida de continuer sur un autre endroit.

Et c’est là que l’on découvrit ce bidonville, il y avait un petit hôtel qui proposait des chambres pour un prix plus raisonnable. Mettre la tente aurait pu être une source de problème. 

J’avais l’impression que c’était plus des indiens qui vivaient dans ce bidonville. Ils avaient peut être fuit leur pays, dont la frontière était à quelques kilomètres. Lumbini faisait parti de l’Inde ancienne.

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Lumbini
photo by: Biedjee