Lumbini is the biggest pilgrimage site for Buddhist people. We can find this place in Rupandehi District in Nepal. It is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. Thus this place carries great importance from a religious point of view.
According to mythology, people believe that Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini in 563 B.C. People have developed the places where Lord Gautama Buddha played and passed the time as temples and other monuments. This place is like a magnet to the Buddhist follower.
There are a number of temples, monasteries, monuments, museums, and institutes that people visit. These are the greatest source of attraction to national and international devotees as well as tourists. Due to this, it has not only become important from the religious aspect but also from the cultural, social, and economic aspects as well.
Some of the Temples found in Lumbini are Mayadevi Temple, Puskarini, Holy Pond, etc. Due to being unique in the world, UNESCO listed Lumbini in the World Heritage Site in 1997.
We can hear the story of Lord Gautam from anyone in the Buddist community. According to the story, people believe that Lord Gautam Buddha was an excellent teacher, spiritual leader, and a great philosopher.
People called him Budhha as it means someone who has gained enlightenment. It means enlightened one. People do not exactly know the dates related to the origin, birth, and death of Gautam Buddha. But they believe it all took place in the 4th to 6th century.
According to the researchers, Lord Gautam born in Lumbini with King Suddhodhana and Queen Mayadevi as his parents. Many people believe that when Gautam born, he instantly walked seven steps. This is a widely spread mythology of Lord Gautam Buddha displaying his potential even as a kid.
Later King Suddhodhana called many astrologists to know what Lord Gautam Buddha be in the future. Everyone except one predicted that Lord Gautam Buddha either would be a great emperor or he would be a great thinker. Only one of the astrologists predicted with confidence that he would reach enlightenment that no one had ever achieved.
Thinking his son would leave his kingdom, Lord Suddhodana kept his away from the worldly matters. Later when Lord Gautam Buddha was on a stroll, he noticed a person had died. Unknown to this phenomenon, he asked his butler what had happened. The butler calmly explained everything related to it and even mentioned that Lord Gautam would also have to die one day.
The event triggered a series of curiosity in the mind of Gautam Buddha. The condition led him to search for the answers to the questions that had arisen in his mind. Leaving his wife and son at night, Lord Gautam Buddha left his kingdom and went to seclusion to meditation.
After a long journey and hard struggle, lord Gautam Buddha obtained enlightenment at the age of 35. After enlightenment, he conveyed the four noble truths that are the principle of Buddhism in today’s world.
According to the four noble truths of the world, they convey that (a) existence is suffering, (b)human desire caused the suffering (c)if we achieve nirvana, we can reduce suffering, (d) we can achieve nirvana through “eightfold path” of right resolve, right views, right action, right speech, right livelihood, right mindfulness, right concentration, right effort.
Many people in the world still believe that Lord Gautam Buddha born in India. However, there are lots of evidence of Gautam Buddha borning in Nepal. Lumbini, situated in the east of Kapilavastu, is the place where Lord Gautam Buddha born. If we visit Rupandehi, we can discover a pillar which marks King Ashoka had visited this place.
People believe that they did not call the place as Lumbini before discovering the pillar. We can also find an inscription that conveys to us that King Ashoka himself came and worshipped to this place. It is because Lord Gautam born here.
If we dig up the story of the great King Ashoka, we can find that the ruler was in the journey conquering all parts of India. According to history, he even prepared to kill his own brothers to conquer India. Later in his life, he came to regret everything he had done. So he decided to adopt the life of non-violence.
The pillar exactly sums up the story of why he came to Nepal. He, with the help of stone bearing horse set up the pillar. He even exempted the people of Lumbini free of taxes.
Lumbini has been a great source of attraction for tourists as well as devotees for several years. We can find a large number of attractions in this place. There are large gardens with a wide density of pipal trees. It is quite shocking to know that Hindu people widely surround this place. Nonetheless, we can find multiple Buddhist temples and shrines scattered around this place.
Among the many temples in this heritage site, the most important one is the Maya Devi temple. This temple encompasses many traditional sites related to Lord Gautam Buddha’s Birth.
Though the temples are mainly old, new temples have also been constructed in the course of time. These temples consist of simple white buildings. The government has placed the exquisite and delicate sandstone sculptures in the National Museum of Kathmandu. We can go there to check the sculptures.
As mentioned already, different other temples, monasteries, and monuments surround the main temple of Maya Devi temple. We can find that the people responsible for building the temple used brick as the main component.
We can also find a sacred pool on the south side of the main temple. People believe that Queen Maya Devi bathed there before giving birth. People also believe that after the birth of Gautam Buddha, two dragons washed the newborn Buddha.
Another great attraction is the Ashoka’s Pillar near the temple. People have built a fence to protect the pillar. In order to make the sight of a pillar surrounded by flags pleasing to the eyes, people have decorated the fence with prayer flags, banners, and other objects.
Similarly, the eternal peace flame is also another attraction of this site. We can see that this flame never goes out. Some people believe that this flame shows the spiritual power present on this site. Others believe it is due to the presence of natural gas at the site.
Lumbini is a great source of tourism as it attracts tourists. Thus it has contributed to the religious and economic aspects of our country. The religious sight has also provided a world recognition as it is listed in the World Heritage site. Thus we should keep the site clean and safe.
Any activity that can degrade this place should be avoided. Pollution and dense population near the site can be a great problem for the image of this site.