Located 22km west of Bhairawa (also known as Sidhhartha Nagar) in Nepal, Lumbini is the spiritual centre of Buddhism. For Buddhists, a visit to Lumbini is one the most important religious and spiritual journey of their life. The reason is not far to seek. It was in Lumbini that the Buddha, one of history’s greatest teachers, was born. Its central temple, Maya Devi Temple, is an obligatory stop on the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. Unsurprisingly this UNESCO World Heritage–listed site is a huge drawcard for the Buddhist pilgrims from around the world.
Lumbini is one of the four main sacred sites of the Buddhist religion. Other three are Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar all located in India.
Apart from the Maya Devi Temple, many monasteries and temples of various Buddhist traditions dot the town, built in their national style by foreign Buddhist communities.
Maya Devi Temple
The spiritually important Maya Devi Temple marks the exact spot where Siddhartha Gautama, who later came to be known as the Buddha after he attainted enlightenment, was born to Queen Maya Devi. On the south of the temple is the holy pond where Maya Devi is beloved to have bathed before giving birth to the Buddha. Adjacent to the area are ancient ruins of brick stupas and the Ashokan pillar and a sacred Bodhi tree under which maroon robed monks from different parts of the world congregate to offer prayers and mediate.
World Peace Pagoda
The brilliant white World Peace Pagoda in Lumbini is one of the several pagodas built by the Japanese Buddhists. Built in 2001 at a cost of US$1 million, the pagoda houses a shining golden statue represeint the posture the Buddha took when he was born.
How to Reach Lumbini
Air: the nearest airport to Lumbini is Gautam Buddha Airport at Bhairahawa which is 22 km and a half-an hour drive from the place. Gautam Buddha Airport is connected by flights to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Railway: The nearest station to Lumbini is at Nautanwa in India. However, Gorakhpur, a four hour drive from Lumbini, is the major railway station nearest to Lumbini. From Delhi you can board several trains including the Mahaparinirvan Express which will take you to Gorakhpur.
Road: Lumbini is connected by daily bus services with Gorakhpur, Varanasi and Kushinagar.
Best time to visit Lumbini
In Lumbini temperatures in winters and summers are extreme. October to March is the best time to visit Lumbini.