Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha located in Rupandehi district of Lumbini zone. It is about 300 km from Kathmandu and is approximately an 8-hour drive. Lumbini is one of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites based on major events in the life of Gautama Buddha. All four events occurred under a tree. The other three sites are located in India: Sarnath (first discourse), Bodh Gaya (enlightenment) and Kushinagar (death). Lumbini is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to Buddhist tradition, Buddha was born in the month of May in the year 642 BC, when his mother Mayadevi was on her way to her parent’s home. She felt the onset of labor and holding onto a tree branch gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, the future Lord Buddha. Furthermore, it is said that immediately after his birth he took seven steps under each of which blossomed a lotus flower. He also announced that this was his last birth.
The major attractions in Lumbini are:
Mayadevi Temple enshrines the site of Buddha’s birth. It also includes the stupa built by Ashoka.
Sacred pool is the pool where Mayadevi took a bath before giving birth to Buddha and also where the new born Buddha was washed by the dragons.
Ashoka’s Pillar is located near Mayadevi temple. The pillar is protected by a small fence and decorated with prayer flags. There is a room in front of the pillar where one can sit and meditate.
The sacred site in Lumbini is surrounded by a large monastic zone. It is divided into the eastern and western monastic zones. The western encompasses the Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries and the eastern includes the Theravada monasteries.