Written by Crusade Himalayaon 12 April 2012 23 May 2019. Posted in Things to Know
One of the largest religions in the world, Buddhism represents more than 500 million followers worldwide, with 269-674 million living within China alone.
Buddhism In Nepal
Buddhism in Nepal existed from the time of Buddha's enlightenment. Being the birthplace of Buddha, Nepal has always adhered and adopted Buddhism as its eternal part. It is suggested by historians that the Buddha later revisited Lumbini and converted his family to Buddhism again in 600-500 BC.
The ancient kingdoms of Nepal adopted Buddhism as their first religion, in which Buddhist art and culture flourished and reached its zenith. Bhrikuti, the daughter of the first Lichhavi king Amshuverma, married King Songtseng Gampo of Tibet. She was a Buddhist adherent who helped establish and flourish Buddhism in Tibet, and later in mainland China.
Today, more than 10% of the total population of Nepal is a practicing Buddhist. Tibetan Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism are two main branches of the religion are practiced in Nepal. Tamang, Magar, Gurung, Newar, Sherpa, Bhote and Thakali, these ethnic tribes of Nepal represent great followers.
Every year Buddha Jayanti is celebrated on the month of May, Buddhists of all persuasions as well as pilgrims from abroad, honor the Buddha at the two great stupas: Swyambhunath, Boudhanath and Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.
Lumbini (Sanskrit: लुम्बिनी), a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is the birthplace of the Buddha. The fact that Buddha was born here makes it a fundamental part of his life, others that are; Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Located in the Kapilvastu region of western Nepal, it is rich in relics and ancient artifacts.
Established as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, the site is considered an important pilgrimage for the practice of Buddhists around the world. A budding tourist destination, Lumbini Heritage is at 10 am by car from Kathmandu Airport. You can also take flights to and from Bhairahawa, the closest airport to Lumbini.
Historic And Cultural Sites
1. Pillar of Ashoka
It is a minor pillar built by Ashoka the Great (304-232 BC) marking the important sites of Buddha. Pillar of Ashoka in Lumbini marks the birthplace of Buddha and is one of the 19 pillars with inscriptions. It is located inside the temple of Mayadevi premise, therefore, tourists who visit can see the artifact at ease and in detail.
2. Mayadevi Temple
It is an ancient Buddhist temple located on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lumbini, an exact site considered the birthplace of Buddha. The temple is located next to a sacred pond (Puskarni) and a sacred garden. The premise of the temple is well protected and tourists are prevented from taking pictures of the interior part of the property.
3. Pagoda of Peace
The Lumbini Shanti Stupa or Peace Pagoda was built by the Myohoji Nipponzan monks and dedicated in 2001. It remains one of the main attractions of Lumbini cultural site. There are many pagodas that accompany around the premise built by the representatives of the different nations.
- Visiting Lumbini and its important sites can be completed in a couple of days.
- Quality lodges and meals are offered in the area.
- Being a place of worship, etiquette and manners of tourists are well controlled.
- Pre-monsoon (Mar-June), post-monsoon (September-November) and winter (December-February) are considered the appropriate stations to visit Lumbini.
- Curiosities and memories can be brought inside and outside the Mayadevi premise temple.
- Consider adopting a guide throughout the trip to make it easier to locate places and take a detailed understanding.
Burning Flame, Lumbini
Gold Temple, Lumbini