Lumbini Travel Guide
Nepali is a small country but it is very rich in natural beauty. This small country is very famous in the world basically because of the towering mountain peaks and unique cultural diversities. Mount Everest, the highest peak of the world, moderate climate, geographical diversity, etc. are the main features of Nepal. Also, Nepal houses the famous landmark, Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Cultural and ethnic diversity, art, and traditions also have added more attraction to develop Nepal as a tourism hub.
Nepal does have many possibilities for tourism development. Many people from around the world come to Nepal for business, pleasure, adventure, spending holidays, pilgrimage, observing culture, studying biodiversity, and many more.
Nepal is famous as the religious center for both the Hindus and Buddhists of the world. Lumbini, Pashupatinath, Manakamana, Muktinath, Janaki Temple, Sworgadwari, Ugratara, Krishna Mandir, Changunarayan, Bouddhanath, etc. are the famous religious sites. Likewise, there are several ancient monuments and sites in Nepal which attract tourists. Ashoka Pillar of Lumbini, Changunarayan Temple, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Basantapur Durbar Square, Krishna Mandir, Patan Durbar Square, etc. reflects the ancient art and architecture of Nepal.
Lumbini is a Peerless landmark of the Buddhist world. It is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It is known as a pilgrimage of all the people of the world who follow Buddhism. UNESCO has enlisted Lumbini as the world heritage site in 1997 AD. The Ashoka Pillar made by Emperor Ashoka in 245 BC is located here. The Puskarani Pond and Mayadevi temple are the important highlights of Lumbini.
This blog basically provides you a glimpse of the Lumbini Travel Plan.
Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, is located in Province No. 5 in southern Nepal. It is located in the Rupandehi district. Lumbini has some old temples, including the Mayadevi Temple. In 1970, 13 nations including Nepal have formed the Lumbini Development Master Plan. Under this plan, various countries of the world have constructed monasteries, stupas, and temples in Lumbini to represent their country. The countries like China, Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Thailand, France, Germany, etc. have constructed many monasteries and stupas. There are libraries, Museums, Research Centers too. The major monasteries located in Lumbini are as below:
Table of Contents
- 1 Monasteries in Lumbini
- 2 The major attraction of Lumbini
- 3 How to Get to Lumbini from Kathmandu?
- 4 Accommodations in Lumbini
- 5 Best Time to Visit Lumbini
- 6 Entry Fees for Lumbini
- 7 Conclusion
Monasteries in Lumbini
- Chinese Monastery
- Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar
- World Peace Pagoda
- Myanmar Golden Temple
- Great Lotus Stupa, German Monastery
- Dae Sung Shakya
The major attraction of Lumbini
Maya Devi Temple
Lumbini is an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. There are many temples and Buddhist shrines. Maya Devi Temple is one of the main temples in Lumbini. The temple is adjacent to a holy pool called Pushkarini pond. People believe that queen Mayadevi had taken the bath before she has given birth to Lord Buddha. It is also believed that Buddha took his first bath in this pond. Thus, the temple is closely related to the birth of Buddha. Archaeologists are still exploring this sacred place. 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 labor. Therefore devotees who visit this region wrap it up with prayer flags.
Ashoka Pillar is one of the many stone pillars built by the Indian Emperor Ashoka during his reign in the third century BC. The Ashoka Pillar, located in Lumbini is the most significant on the note that it is one of the oldest inscriptions found in Nepal. And also commemorates the visit of Emperor Ashoka to the birthplace of Buddha. King Ashoka was a tyrant of the 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.
The Ashoka Pillar at Lumbini is supposed to have been created in 249 BC during his pilgrimage to Lumbini. The pillar is 6 meters tall and is supposed to be built by the pink sandstone. The pillar was lost until 1896 when a team of Nepalese archeologists rediscovered it. A small fence surrounds the pillar. 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 centuries. 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 fort 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 USD. It is one of the most beautiful religious places in the Lumbini area.
How to Get to Lumbini from Kathmandu?
Lumbini is easily accessible though many people think that it is relatively difficult to get there. Basically, there are two main ways of getting there they are by air or by bus. Here is a short description of both:
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. Various buses run in the Bhairahawa-Lumbini route.
Though it is convenient it is expensive. Airfares vary but for foreigners, it is usually between USD 200 to USD250.
If you are looking for a budget trip 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 get 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 USD 80-120 per day. But if you have a group of friends, you can share the costs.
Accommodations in Lumbini
Many trekkers and travelers worry about the accommodation while going on a trek. But you should not worry about the accommodations for your travel to 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. A 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 the off-seasons.
Best Time to Visit Lumbini
There is no specification regarding the time to visit Lumbini. However, many people prefer to visit Lumbini during Lord Buddha’s birthday. Lord Buddha’s birthday is celebrated grandly in Lumbini in March –April. During this auspicious occasion, you are likely to encounter a religious experience. Therefore, March and April, which are also the months of the autumn season, is 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 a moderate amount of sunshine and mild cold. The precipitation during this time is considerably lower than in 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 for Lumbini
The entry fees to Lumbini depend 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 Local
If you are a Nepali citizen and don’t have a camera, the entrance to Lumbini is free. 200 Nepali Rupees will be charged for 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 NRS 15.
Entry Fees for Foreign Nationals
If you are an Indian, the entry fee is NRS 16. For other SAARC nationals, the entry fee is NRS 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 fee. Professional filming will cost Rs. 37000 for nationals outside SAARC while a still camera will cost Rs. 200.
Lumbini is a must to visit the National heritage of Nepal. The holy place, where Lord Gautam Buddha was born, attracts people who are avid interested in the ancient treasures of Buddhism and want to energize their spirituality. Being in Lumbini means to come out of the monotony of life and revitalize your body and soul. The journey to Lumbini is a pilgrimage cum sightseeing journey. Many trekkers in Nepal visit our national heritages during their trekking in Nepal because most of our heritages are in the Kathmandu Valley. Lumbini, being located outside the valley, is hardly chosen by the adventure trekkers. But the trek to Lumbini itself will be a lifetime memory. We recommend you visit Lumbini once when you are in Nepal. It is a must-do trek for spiritual solace.