Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, in southwestern Nepal, nearly twenty-five hundred years ago. Since then, the city has always remained the focal point of Buddhism. Today's Lumbini is a small sleepy town in the southwestern Tarai plains of Nepal, where the ruins of the old city can still be seen. The followers of both Hinyana and Mahayana sects of Buddhism revere Lumbini. The restored garden and surroundings of Lumbini have the remains of many of the ancient Stupas and monasteries. A large stone pillar that is said to be erected by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 250 BC bears an inscription about the birth of the Buddha.
The most important attraction of Lumbini is the holy temple of Maya
Devi. The temple has a stone sculpture of Maya Devi in labor pain. The
image shows her holding the branch of a tree while Buddha is getting
birth. The temple is very popular among the women having some or other
fertility problem. The main complex have large stretches of Bo Tree
plantations. This the same tree that is shown in the sculpture in the
Maya Devi temple. Another variety of the same plant is known as Banyan;
the same plant under which Buddha got enlightened. The Bo plantation and
a newly planted forest nearby lend an air of tranquility to the
surrounding. Lumbini is now being developed under the Master Plan of the
Lumbini Development Trust, a non-governmental organization dedicated to
the restoration of Lumbini and its development as a pilgrimage site.
Apart from its religious and historical significance, Lumbini offers
cultural insights into the village life of southwestern Nepal. The must
catch event is the weekly communal Bazaar. This bazaar is organized
every Monday therefore try to coincide your visit with that. The weekly
bazaar looks like the scene taken straight out of the Arabian fables.
Villagers come from miles around to buy grains, spices, pottery,
jewelry, saris and various other items. With colorful merchandise spread
out under the Mango trees and the air perfumed with incense, the place
looks like the ocean of humanity. You can buy souvenirs for your dear
ones and side-by-side witness the local life in Lumbini.
After centuries of neglect from travelers, backpackers and
archeologists, Lumbini is finally scaling the chart. Serious
preservation work has only just been started and efforts are being done
on the war footing to save this historical marvel.