Nepal is one of the most diverse places to travel. It has many natural, historical, cultural as well as social wonders. One place of religious fascination that floods many travelers in this country is the sacred site of Buddhists- Lumbini. Every year thousands of travelers, many of whom are devotees of various faiths, travel to Lumbini to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, is situated in Rupandehi district. It is located in the southern part of Nepal close to the Indian border. The holy site of Lumbini is home to various monuments, monasteries, the Lumbini International Research Institute, as well as a museum.
Presently, Lumbini has a length of 3 miles and a breadth of 1 mile. The holy site of Lumbini is prohibited to be used for commercial purposes. In other words, building shops, restaurants, or hotels inside the premises of this place is not allowed. The status of a World Heritage Site was granted to Lumbini in 2007.
This article will be your comprehensive travel guide to Lumbini. We will let you know all the major places in Lumbini that you are not supposed to miss out on, how to get there, the accommodation, food, and other things in this region. Exciting Nepal provides a wonderful Lumbini Tour Package. For more details contact us.
List of Monasteries in Lumbini
- Chinese Monastery
- Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar
- World Peace Pagoda
- Myanmar Golden Temple
- Great Lotus Stupa, German Monastery
- Dae Sung Shakya
Other Major Attractions of Lumbini
Maya Devi Temple
Maya Devi Temple is the main temple in Lumbini. The temple is adjacent to a holy pool called Pushkarini. It is believed that this is the pond where Buddha’s mother took a dip prior to his birth. It is also believed that Buddha took his first bath in this pond.
Maya Devi Temple is considered to be the temple where Buddha was born. In 2013, a group of archaeologists uncovered the evidence of the oldest Buddhist shrine discovered till date in the Lumbini Pilgrimage Center.
A Bodhi tree is situated next to Maya Devi Temple. It is widely believed that Maya Devi rested under the shade of this tree while traveling and went into labour. Therefore devotees who visit this region wrap it up with prayer flags.
King Ashoka was a ruthless ruler of Mauryan Empire who ascended the throne in 269 BC. After witnessing the tragedy of the loss of human lives in a war, he resorted to the principles of nonviolence of Buddhism. He built many pillars based on the principles of Buddhism. One of those pillars, also known as Ashokan Pillars, is located in Lumbini.
The Ashokan Pillar at Lumbini is supposed to have been created on 249 BC during his pilgrimage to Lumbini. A small fence surrounds the pillar on all sides. It is decorated with colorful flags by devotees. It also houses various bowls where devotees can light up the incense sticks as a symbol of devotion to gods.
Myanmar Golden Temple
Myanmar Golden temple is one of the historically important places in the Lumbini compound. It has 3 prayer halls. Inside the temple, you can find Lokmani Pula Pagoda, a Burmese style pagoda that seems to be inspired by the Shwedagon pagoda of Yangon.
Lumbini Museum is located in the northern part of Lumbini. It is home to artworks, photographs, as well as historical artifacts from Buddhist sites all over the world. It is an important place for people who are interested in learning the Buddhist culture.
Inside the museum, you can find various kinds of coins that date back to the first and second century. Various statues of animals and plants are found in this museum. Sculptures of Buddhist origins and photographs of various Buddhist sites from around the world are also on display in the Lumbini Museum.
Chinese Monastery is one of the most elegant structures in Lumbini which is built in pagoda style. It looks like a replica of the Forbidden City and has dogs of Fo on either side that are ready to welcome you. The Chinese Monastery in Lumbini has meditation cells and prayer rooms.
Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar
Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar is a monastery that was built by His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche and the Raja of Mustang. 60 monks who reside in this gompa conduct Tara Puja every day. In September and December, 10 day long pujas are held in this monastery. 2000 monks gather for these 10 day long holy rituals.
World Peace Pagoda
There are a series of Peace Pagodas, a Buddhist stupa, around the world. These stupas are designed so that they could inspire people to live in peace and harmony. Most of the Peace Pagodas were built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk from Japan. One of these Peace Pagodas is located in Lumbini.
Building the pagoda cost more than 1 million US $. The pagoda is shining white in color which has a golden statue. It is one of the most beautiful religious places in the Lumbini area.
How to Get to Lumbini from Kathmandu
There are various ways that you can use to get to Lumbini. To get to Lumbini from Kathmandu, you can use either of the following ways:
Flights are the most convenient ways to get to Lumbini from Kathmandu. The distance from Kathmandu to Lumbini is 272 kilometers. You can catch a 30 minutes flight from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Bhairahawa Airport, Lumbini. From the Bhairahawa airport, you can take a cab to Lumbini.
The distance between Bhairahawa and Lumbini is 20 kilometers. It might take you approximately 24 minutes to get to Lumbini from Bhairahawa. There are also various buses that run in the Bhairahawa-Lumbini route.
If you are looking to save some bucks to get to Lumbini, getting there on a bus might be a suitable choice. You can catch a bus to Lumbini in the Kalanki Bus Station in Kathmandu. The buses will take about 9-10 hours to reach Lumbini. Buses to Lumbini generally depart either early morning at 6-7 am or during the evening at 7 pm.
The cost of the bus depends upon whether you are taking a Deluxe bus or an A/C Deluxe box. The prices of the buses range from 800-1600 Nepali rupees.
The buses to Lumbini will drop you at Buddha Chowk, not the Lumbini Bazaar itself. You can get off the bus, cross the road and walk down the Buddha road. A few paces down the road, you will a local bus to Lumbini Bazaar. In case you are lost, you might want to reach out to the locals who will guide you to the bus station.
Hire a Private Car
If you don’t want to put up with the haggle of traveling by a local bus, you can also hire a private car. A private car might cost you US$ 80-120 per day. But if you have a group of friends, you can share the costs.
Accommodation in Lumbini
The accommodation you are likely to encounter in Lumbini might not be as luxurious as some hotels in Kathmandu. But there are plenty of hotels, resorts, and villas that you can choose to stay in. Plenty of hotels in Lumbini are scattered around the Sacred Garden.
You can also choose to stay in the monasteries if you want to. Korean Monastery is an option for you where you can stay at the price of a budget hotel. In the festive season, the monasteries tend to fill up rapidly.
Most of the hotels in Lumbini are located along Lumbini Bazaar. Besides, you can also find accommodation in Bhairahawa. You can bargain with them for discounts in off seasons.
Best Time to Visit Lumbini
Lord Buddha’s birthday is celebrated in a grand manner in Lumbini. As this auspicious occasion falls in the month of March-April, you are likely to encounter a religious experience you should not miss out on. This makes Marc-April, which are the months of the autumn season, a very good time to visit Lumbini.
In addition, spring (October-November) is also another time of the year in which travelers enjoy visiting Lumbini due to moderate amount of sunshine and mild cold. The precipitation during this time is considerably lower than the summers making traveling and sightseeing pleasant.
Traveling to Lumbini during the winters (December-early February) might be chilling as you are likely to encounter a lot of frost during the season. On the other hand, the summers (June-August) will most probably be hot and wet.
Entry Fees to Lumbini
The entry fees to Lumbini depends upon whether you are a local or a foreign national. Further, whether you choose to carry a camera, and whether the camera is a professional or an amateur one also determines the cost.
Entry Fees for Locals
If you are a Nepalese citizen and don’t have a camera, the entrance to Lumbini is free. 200 Nepali Rupees will be charged for a taking a video camera inside while you will be charged 5000 Nepali rupees if you are taking a camera for professional filming. If you choose to take only a still camera, the price will be N.Rs 15.
Entry Fees for Foreign Nationals
If you are an Indian, the entry fees is N. Rs 16. For other SAARC nationals, the entry fees is N. Rs 100. Video camera and professional filming fees are the same for Nepalese as well as Indians.
Any foreign national will have to pay 750 rupees as the entry fees. Professional filming will cost Rs. 37000 for nationals outside SAARC while a still camera will cost Rs. 200.
Lumbini to Pokhara
If you want to go to Pokhara after your visit to Lumbini, you can do that as well. Pokhara lies merely 169 kilometers from Lumbini.
You can take a bus from Lumbini to Pokhara. First you must go to Bhairahawa from Lumbini in a jeep, or a taxi, or a local bus. From Siddhartha Airport in Bhairahawa, you can catch ordinary buses leave that will take you to Pokhara. The buses leave every hour until 12 in the noon. After that, the buses depart only of there are enough passengers inside the bus.
In addition, you can also take a night bus to Pokhara. The night buses to Pokhara from Lumbini leave every hour after 5 pm until 9 pm. You can also hire a private vehicle four wheeler to get to Pokhara from Lumbini.
Lumbini is a wonderful religious site and a pride of all Nepalese. Getting there is convenient and there is a lot of historical, religious, as well as cultural learning to do. Make sure that you don’t miss out on this beautiful place while you are in Nepal.
Exciting Nepal offers the following trip where you get the chance to visit Lumbini.