Lumbini, a place where Buddha was born in 623 BC, is situated in the terai plains of the southern Nepal. The nativity site is marked by a stone pillar reected by Indian Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC to commemorate his pilgrimage to the sacred spot.
The Sacred Garden in the southern part of Lumbini has created an atmosphere of peace, spirituality, universal brotherhood and nonviolence consistent with the time and Buddha's message to the world. There are many important monuments in the sacred zone like Mayadevi Temple, Marker Stone, Ashoka Pillar, Pushkarini Pond.
Mayadevi Temple is the most important monument in the Sacred Garden. The temple houses of idol of Mayadevi giving birth to Lord Buddha. The artifacts inside the temple date back from 3rd to 7th century BC. The Marker Stone, which marks the exact birthplace of Lord Buddha, is another important monument in the Sacred Garden. It was excavated in 1996.
The Ashoka Pillar erected in the western part of Mayadevi proves that Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini. The pillar was erected by Indian ruler Ashoka in 249 BC. It is belived that Emperor Ashoka, who killed many people as part of his territory expansion, gave up violence and adopted Buddhism after visiting Lumbini. It is regarded the most authentic monument that proves Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini.
The Pushkarini Pond lies in the south of Ashok pillar. It is belived that Mayadevi bathed in the pond before giving birth to Lord Buddha and gave the new born Buddha the first purification bath in this holy pond.
Monastic Zone is the special area in the Lumbini Region which has been allocated for building monasteries, as per the master plan. The East Monastic Zone is dedicated for the construction of monasteries for the followers of Theravada Buddhism and the West Monastic Zone is dedicated for construction fo Mahayana traditional monasteries. The first monastery in the east monastic zone is the Thai monastery. The monastery is build by the Thailand government and the construction started in 1997. The monastery is sprawled over five acres. The grand monastic wall and some buildings reflect typical Thai architecture. Next to the Thai monastery lies the Theravadin monastery built by Mahabodhi Society of India. The monastery is sprawled over 1.5 acres and the construction started in 1996.
Next to the Theravadin temple of Mahabodhi Society of India is the plot reserved for construction of another Theravadin temple by Bengal Buddhist Association. The magnificent replica of Burmese Swedagoan pagoda lies next to the plot. The monastery is sprawled over five acres and the construction began in 1993.
There is also a Nepali monastery built by International Nunnery Associtation. The monastery is sprawled over 1.5 acres. There is also a Sri Lankan monastery in the east monastery zone. The monastery is built by the Sri Lankan government and the construction began in 1998. There is also a Vipassana medication center in the monastery premises.
Fifteen plots have been allocated for construction of Mahayan monasteries in the west monastic zone. Many of the monasteries have already been built. Chinese monastery is perhaps the most majestic monastery in the west majestic zone. The monastery, which was built in 1998, is sprawled over 6.25 acres. The monastery reflects typical Chinese architectural style. Another beautiful monastery in the west zone is the Viatnemese monastery built by the government of Vietnam. The monastery complex, which is spread over 6.25 acres, houses a pagoda which is 25 meters tall. The Korean monastery lies right in front of the Chinese monastery. Other monasteries in the western zone are Manang Sewa Samaj (Nepal), Great Drigung Kagyud Lotus Stupa built by the German Tara Foundation Linhson Monastery (France), Sokyao Temple (Japan), Geden International (Austria), Dharmodhaya Sabha (Nepal) and Cambodian Monastery (Cambodia).
This zone is purely allocated for physical facilities like hotels, pilgrims inn, post and telegraph offices, a hospital and a school. According to the master plan, there are also provision for construction of a museum, a library, an International Buddhist Research Centre and a tourist information centre. Also within this zone, the construction of tallest World Peace Pagoda of Asia has already been completed by Japanese Buddhists.
Tilaurakot: Some 27 km west of Lumbini lies the ruins of the historic Tilaurakot, which is believed to the capital of Shakya Kingdom (ancient Kapilvastu) where Lord Buddha live till he was 29. 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 is made of bricks. These remains date back to 4th century BC to 2nd century AD. A museum at Kapilvastu showcases everyday materials like ancient coins, terracotta utensils, metallic weapons and ornaments. We can also see eastern and western gates of the palace of Shakya kings. About 500 meters north of Tilaurakot lies Dharmanihawa twin stupas built in the memory of King Suddhodhan and Queen Mayadevi.
Kudan: About 2 kilometers northwest of Taulihawa on a roadside is the dilapidated village of Kudan. It is belived that Lord Buddha met his father King Suddhodhan for the first time after his enlightment in this village. The village lies 28 km south-west of Lumbini. Lord Buddha is belived to have preached five important sutras of Majhimnikaya to 800 disciples at this very place.
Niglihawa: Niglihawa is belived to be the birthplace of Kanakmuni Buddha. It lies 8 km northwest of Taulihawa. It is believed that kanakmuni Buddha got enlightened in this very place. The place has a quadrangular pond surrounded by bushes locally known as Niglisagar. On the western bank of the pond there are two broken pieces of the Ashoka Pillar, the longer one lying flat on the ground while the shorter ones stand erect. The pillar bears two peacocks on the top.
Gotihawa: About 5 km southwest of Taulihawa lies the village of Gotihawa. It is belived that kakrachunda Buddha was born and achieved Nirvana in this village. Emperor Ashoka built a pillar here in 249 BC. The upper portion of the pillar is broken and lost. The lower still intact. There is a huge stupa in the north east of the pillar.
Sagarhawa: It is belived that thousands of Shakyas were massacred in this place b King Virudhaka out of vengeance. According to Buddhist literature, Shakyas didn't fight against Virudhaka's army because they believed in non-violence. The area lies 12 kilometers north of Taulihawa in the forest of Sagarhawa. There is a huge rectangular pond, locally known as Lumbusagar or a long pond. In 1989, Dr A Fuhrer excavated hundreds of stupas built in the memory of the deceased Shakyas by their descendants.
Devdaha: Devdaha is an important Buddhist site in Nepal. It is believed to be the capital city of Koliya Kingdom. Devdaha, which lies in Rupandehi district, is believed to be the maternal home of Prince Siddhartha. Siddhartha's wife Princess Yasodhara was also from Devdaha. According to Buddhist literature, Lord Buddha visited Devdaha seven years after his enlightenment. There are various sites of archaeological importance like Kumarbarti, Khayar Danda, Bairimai, Kanyamai, Bhavanipur and Mathagadhi in and around Devdaha.
Ramgram: The Ramgram Stupa made of kiln-burn bricks lies on the banks of Jhorahi River. It is believed that the seven meters tall stupa houses sacred relic of Lord Buddha himself. The stupa is built by the king of Ramgram. According to Buddhist literatures, the king was one of the eight persons who received the sacred relics of Lord Buddha. Ramgram lies 4 km southeast of Parasi Bazaar, the district headquarters of Nawalparasi.
The Lumbini Museum, located in the cultural zone, contains Mauryan and Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra-cotta fragments, and the stone and metal sculptures. It is also posses an extensive collection of stamps from various countries depicting Lumbini and Buddha.