Lumbini - The
Birthplace of Lord Buddha
place in the South-Western Terai of Nepal, evokes a kind of holy sentiment
to the millions of Buddhists all over the world-as do the Jerusalem to
Christians and Mecca to Muslims. Lumbini is the place Lord Buddha -the
apostle of peace and the light of Asia was born in 623 B. C., Located in the
flat plains of south-Western Nepal and the foothills of Churia range ,
Lumbini 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 ruisn and antiquities,
dating back to pre-Christian era. The site, described as a beautiful garden
in the Buddha's time still retain its legendary charm and beauty. To the
mere 12 miles north of Lumbini lies the dense and picturesque sal-grove.
For centuries, Buddhists- all over the world, knew that Lumbini where the
Lord was born is somewhere around. The descriptions of famous Chinese
pilgrims (of ancient times) Huian Tsang and Faeihan indicated to this
area-saying 'Lumbini-where the lord was born is a piece of heaven on earth
and one could see the snowy mountains amidst a splendid garden-embedded with
stupas and monasteries!
However, the exact location remained uncertain and obscure till December
the 1st 1886 when a wandering German archaeologist Dr. Alois A. Fuhrer came
across a stone pillar and ascertained beyond doubt it is indeed the
birthplace of Lord Buddha.
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). The garden and its tranquil environs were owned by both
the Shakyas and Kolias clans. King Suddhodana, father of Gautama Buddha was
of the Shakya dynasty belonging to the Kshatriya or the warrior caste.
Attractions of Lumbini
- The Ashokan Pillar
Discovered by the now famous German archaeolgist Dr. Fuhrer, the
pillar is the first epigraphic evidence relating to the life history
of Lord Buddha and is also the most visible landmark of the garden.
The historic importance of the pillar is evidenced by the
inscription engraved in the pillar (in Brahmi script). It is said
that the great Indian Emperor Ashok visited the site in the
twentieth year of is ascendancy to the throne and as a homage to the
birthplace,erected the pillar.
The inscriptions in the pillar roughly translates as: Kin Piyadesi
beloved of th Gods, having been anointed 20 yeas, came himself and
worshipped saying Here Buddha Shakyamuni was born: And he caused to
make a stone (capital) representing a horse; and he caused (this)
stone pillar to be erected. Because the worshipful one was born in
the village of Lumbini has been made free of taxes and recipient of
- Puskarni - The Sacred Pool
South of the Ashokan Pillar, there is the famous sacred pool-
'Puskarni' believed to be the same sacred pool in which Maya Devi
took a holy dip just before giving birth to the Lord and also where
infant Buddha was given his first purification bath. Architecturally
the pool has the projecting terraces in descending order and is
reverted with a fine brick masonry.
- Sanctum-Sanctorum of the Birthplace
The single most important place of the Lumbini (and to the entire
Buddhist world for that matter) is the stoneslab-located deep in the
Sanctum sanctorum. Revealed after a hard and meticulous excavations
under the three layers of ruins over the site of a famous Maya Devi
temple, the stone slab foundation pinpoints the location of the
original place-marking the exact spot of the birthplace of Lord
- Image of Maya Devi
In adition to Ashokan Pillar, the other Shrine of importance is the
bas-relief image of Maya Devi, Enshrined in a small pagoda-like
structure, the image shows MayaDevi , mother of the Lord. Supporting
herself by holding on with her right hand to a branch of Sal tree,
with newly born infant Buddha standing upright on a lotus pedestal
on an oval halo. Two other celestial figures are depicted in an act
of pouring water and lotuses bestowed from heaven.
the image was placed in the famous white temple of MayaDevi beside
the pillar-now totally dismantled to make way for the excavations,
which revealed the Sanctum Sanctorum the exact spot where the Lord
- The Buddhist Temple
The monastery-of the Buddhist temple is built inside the
surrounding complex of Lumbini in the manner of modern Buddhist
shrines in Nepal. The prayer hall contains a large image of Buddha.
medieval style murals decorate the walls.
Located some 27 km. west of Lumbini lies the ruins of historic town
of 'Kapilvastu'. Believed to be the capital of Shakya republic where
the Lord lived and enjoyed his life until his thirteeth year,
Kapilvastu has been identified with. Tilaurakot by the
archaelolotists. Also, the place is believed to have been associated
with different important episodes: there are ruins and mounds of old
stupas and monasteries made of kiln-burnt bricks and clay-mortar.
The remains are surrounded by a moat and the wall of the city are
made of bricks. In fact, the city of Kapilvastu are in such a grand
scale that it could be easily be visualised as a seat of high
About 10 km northwest of Taulihawa there is a rectangular fortified
area which is popularly known as Arourakot. The fortified area is
identified by the famous Indian archaeologist P.C. Mukharji as the
natal town of Kanakmuni Buddha. Remains of ancient moat and brick
fortification around the Kot can still be clearly located. A brick
lined well is seen to the south and elevated mound towards the
About 5 km. southwest of Taulihawa, there is a village called
Gotihawa. In the village there is an Ashokan Pillar standing in a
slab. The upper portion of the pillar is broken and lost and only
the lower portion of the pillar 3.5m. high is still intact.
Adjoining the pillar towards its northeast there is a huge stupa
with successive ring of wedge shaped Mauryan bricks.
About 2 km. southwest of Taulihawa, on the left side of the
Shoratgarh Taulihawa road stands the village Kudan having a huge
structural ruin with a cluster of four mounds and a tank. The mounds
were excavated in 1962.
About 8 km, northwest of Taulihawa, there is another site of
archaelogical importance. The site has quadrangular tank surrounded
by bushes, locally known as Niglisagar. On the western Bank of the
tank there are two broken pieces of the Ashokan pillar, the longer
one laying flat and the shorter ones stack into the ground. The
pillar bears 2 peacocks on the top part and a Devanagari script
inscription reading Om mani Padme Hun Ripu mallasya Chiran Jayut
The shorter portion of the pillar which is partly buried in the
ground measures 1.52m in length bears four lines of Ashokan
inscription in the Brahmi script which roughly translates as: "King
Piyadasi Beloved of the gods, after 14 years of his coronation
enlarged for the second time the stupa of Buddha kanaka Muni, and
after 20 years of his coronat ion he came himself and worshipped
(and ) he caused (this) stone pillar to be erected:"
About 12 km. north of Taulihawa, there is a forest area called
Sagarhawa. In the midst of the forest there is a huge rectangular
tank which is popularly known as Lumbusagar, or a long tank. The
ancient tanks ruins which were excavated and indentified by Dr.
Aslois A Fuhrer as the 'Palace of massacre of the Shakyas' in 1895
can still be located on the west south banks of the Sagar.