Lumbini: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha
Lumbini is one the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage site located in the Rupandehi district in the lumbini province. It is one of the most significant places among Buddhist pilgrims as it is believed to be the place where Lord Sakyamuni Buddha was born. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal, and an abode of peace and ultimate pilgrimage to the Buddhist devotees and peace lovers from around the world. Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini. Siddhartha Gautam achieved enlightenment sometime around 528 BCE, became the Buddha and founded Buddhism. Among the pilgrims was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage center, where the archaeological remains associated with the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature. The remains in the complex contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centers from as early as the 3rd century BC.
Lumbini has a number of older temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, and various new temples, monasteries funded by Buddhist organizations from various countries, have been completed or are still under construction. Also, there is the Puskarini, or Holy Pond, where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he had his first bath. Mayadevi Temple is the most sacred site in the Lumbini Garden where archaeologists have identified the exact spot where Lord Buddha was born which is testified by the inscription on the pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 249 BC.
It is believed the birth took place in the beautiful Sal grove, which is now the focal point of the Lumbini Garden. Mayadevi, the Queen of Shakya King Suddhodhana of Kapilvastu, while passing through the Lumbini Garden, on the day of Baishakha Purnima (full moon day of May in 623 BC) took a bath in the the Sacred Pond Pushkarini and soon after gave birth to Prince Siddhartha.
The Lumbini Garden covers an area of 2.56 sq km or 1 x 3 sq miles and encompasses three zones, each covering one square mile connected with walkways and a canal. The area has a sub-tropical climate with hot summers, very wet monsoon and pleasant winter. Winter is the best time to visit.