Lumbini is said to be official birthplace of Siddharth Gautama, otherwise known as Buddha.
I wanted to share a Lumbini travel guide, because although this town is small and Lumbini attractions are consolidated in one area, it can be mistaken with a Lumbini in India and it can be easily confused with other prominent pilgrimage spots in Buddhist history.
This is not to be confused with Sarnath in India where Buddha gave his first sermon, Bodh Gaya where he received enlightenment under a bodhi tree or Lumbini Park in Hydrabad India, which is a park honoring Buddha. Nor is it to be confused with the many temples which house an artifact of Buddha like a bone or hair. This is the actual birthplace of the man now known as Buddha. As such, today it’s a famous pilgrimage destination filled with Lumbini attractions for Buddhists.
The area housing this famous spot is the Lumbini Development Zone.
Lumbini Travel Guide
Getting around Lumbini Development Zone
The best ways to get around are to rent a bicycle through your hotel, hire a tuk tuk (I’ve heard around 500-900 rupees for a full day of monastery sightseeing) or hire a tour or guide.
Lumbini park is spread out and spans approximately 3 miles wide and 1 mile long. There’s a wealth of Lumbini attractions. The zone is split into three main zones: the East Monastic Zone (Theravadic monasteries), the West Monastic Zones (Mahayana monasteries) and the Sacred Garden surrounding the Maya Devi Temple. The new Lumbini Village Zone is the town area before entering the development zone and houses hotels, guesthouses, restaurants. Within construction plans are a museum, library and institute.
Temple hopping through Buddhism
As far as main Lumbini attractions, there are around sixteen monastic temples from a countries around the world where Buddhism is represented: Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, etc…
In some cases, temples can resemble famous temples in their resident country, like in Myanmar’s case of erecting a temple reminiscent of the Shwedagon Temple in Yangon.
There is also a Peace Pagoda (which I missed).
The Chinese Temple – constructed by the Chinese takes up 6.25 acres of land and is one of the more important sites for pilgrims.
Maya Devi Temple: The birthplace of Buddha
Maya Devi Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a temple covering built over the birth spot of Siddharth Gautama, the future Buddha. The temple isn’t particularly stunning but humble. There is a bodhi tree with prayer flags streaming everywhere ( I loved this ), some ruins and a walled pond, where Buddha’s mother was said to have bathed before giving birth. It’s a peaceful area, which might inspire you to sit, relax and meditate.
Tip: It’s best to visit Maya Devi Temple at either sunrise or sunset if you want a great photo. There is no photography in the temple museum however.
What else can you do in Lumbini?
I was visiting Lumbini for a short while, but the pilgrimage spot is the only main tourist sight or thing to do in the town. The tour can either take a half day or full day depending upon how many temples/monasteries you want to visit. There is the new Lumbini Village Zone area, which has basic necessities for travelers. Lumbini Market Road is the main road you’ll find with guesthouses and hotels, shops and cafes. There are hotels in the vicinity as well. An Oshodam village is nearby for those looking for a peaceful Zen retreat.
If you’re visiting during Buddhist festival season, reserve your hotels in advance rooms fill up fast.
Getting to Lumbini:
Getting to Lumbini from Kathmandu is a 5-9 hour drive. Getting to Lumbini from Pokhara is 6-8 hour. I did this route from Chitwan- Lumbini- Pokhara.
Lumbini Development Zone
Taulihawa Road, Lumbini Sanskritik, Nepal
Hours: 9a – 9pm, daily
Admission: 200 ruppees for foreign travelers and 15 rupees for SARC countries. Additional costs for video cameras and filming.
Will you pilgrimage to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha? What Lumbini attractions would you add to my Lumbini travel guide?