Nirvana is not too far when you step foot in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, nestled in the lap of the Himalayas in Nepal near the Indian border. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini has a plethora of ancient stupas dating back to 2000 years and monasteries built by far-flung communities from all over the world. People come here from all over the world come to this abode of Buddhism to study scriptures, meditate, practise yoga, trek, learn more about Buddhism and find inner peace. 'Lumbini' literally means 'The Lovely' in Sanskrit, and true to its name it stands!
The entire site is decked up with prayer flags that have blessings and incantations upon them, which have been put up by thousands of tourists. Each of the monasteries here is architecturally distinctive, with beautiful façades and paintings.
The Mayadevi Temple is the most important and sacred site in the area - it houses the actual spot where the Buddha was born, to Queen Mayadevi, the wife of King Suddhodana of erstwhile Kapilavastu. A stone marker can identify the birth spot. Nearby is the Bodhi Tree in Lumbini Garden, where the Holy Mother is said to have rested a while before giving birth to the Buddha. The tree radiates peace and spiritual serenity and is decked in prayer flags. Significant archaeological remains are placed inside the temple as well. The Lumbini Garden also houses the Pushkarini - Sacred Pond - where Queen Mayadevi is said to have taken a dip before giving life to the Buddha. Little Siddhartha is also said to have swum in this holy pond. Another important archaeological marvel is the Ashoka Stupa (Pillar), which was built in 249 B.C.
Avid trekkers can do the Lumbini Circuit Trek and witness 64 historical and archaeological sites around the area, including visits to villages where one can get an authentic experience of the local culture and hospitality.
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