As the birthplace of the Buddha, Nepal is a popular pilgrimage destination for spiritual seekers all over the world. And as an experimental Buddhist, I knew I had to make the trip as well.
Lumbini, the town where the Buddha was born in 623 B.C., is located near the Indian border, and Naren and I planned it as our final destination before returning to India.
As a town, the Buddha complex is Lumbini’s main event, and the city doesn’t really require more than a day’s visit to experience, unless you plan on staying a few days to soak up the spiritual energy.
The complex is broken into several parts and must be entered and exited through specific locations. To start, visitors begin at International Monastic Zone, a growing collection of Buddhist temples from Buddhist communities around the world, meant to promote world peace.
The development zone is split down the middle with temples from the Theravada tradition on the east side and temples from the Mahayana tradition on the west side. The walk through is lovely, with the two sides separated by narrow roads, a long pool of landscaped water and trees dotted with Buddhist sayings. It’s also a great way to experience Buddhist traditions from different parts of the world.
At the end of the International Monastic Zone, you approach the Sacred Garden where the birth took place. The garden includes the Mayadevi temple, which surrounds an underground excavation that holds a rock that marks the spot where the Buddha was born (unfortunately, no photos were allowed on the inside). The garden also includes the Sacred Pool where Buddha’s mother is said to have bathed before giving birth, as well as the Ashokan Pillar, an ancient pillar identifying the spot as the birthplace.
A visit to the complex is a real treasure, and even if you are not into Buddhism or spirituality, you’ll walk away happy and calm. It’s just that kind of place.
Below are some photos of birthplace of the Buddha.