Lumbini Travel Guide
Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Kapilvastu district and is the holiest place for Buddhists. It is a place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam, the founder of Buddhism. Lumbini is one of the most visited heritage sites in Nepal which has great historical importance. This pilgrimage site not only attracts Buddhists but also people from all other religions. Mostly, people from outside the country prefer visiting this heritage site as it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Lumbini is a peaceful city that attracts many visitors from around the world every year. The historic city where Siddhartha Gautam was born dates back to 523 B.C who later found enlightenment and became Lord Buddha. The place later became popular within the internationals as well when Indian ruler Ashoka visited the place and erected one of the commemorative pillars.
Today Lumbini houses over twenty-five international Buddhist monasteries and Buddhism meditation centers. Mayadevi Temple is one of the most important sites in Lumbini which is the birth spot of Buddha. Maya Devi temple was a place where the newly born Buddha took up his first seven steps and gave a peaceful message to humanity. Furthermore, different countries have built different carved monasteries in Lumbini. Japan, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Germany are some of them. Here in Lumbini, one can know the cultural importance of the place by visiting Panditarama Vipassana Center. Besides, one can engage in meditation and yoga therapy, one can also interact with monks who worship in the vicinity of monasteries.
Monasteries in Lumbini
Lumbini has always been an important spiritual destination. Starting with the famous visit by Emperor Asoka in 249 BC and to the visit of several Buddhist countries in Asia, it is one of the pilgrimage sites in Nepal. Several countries have established local monasteries as a way to offer practical and spiritual assistance to their citizens. In addition, with its design, reflecting the architectural and religious styles of the different nations, these monasteries are now the shrines of Lumbini.
- Ka-Nying Shedrup Monastery (Seto Gumba), Nepal (under construction)
- Zarong Thupten Mendol Dogna Chholing, Nepal (under construction)
- Urgen Dorjee Choling Buddhist Center, Singapore
- Nepal Vajrayana Maha Vihara, Nepal (under construction)
- French Buddhist Association, France
- The Great Lotus Stupa (Tara Foundation), Germany
- Drikung Kagyud Meditation Center, Ladakh
- The World Linh Son Buddhist Congregation, France
- Japanese Monastery, Japan (under construction)
- United Tungaram Buddhist Foundation, Nepal
- Thrangu Vajra Vidya Buddhist Association, Canada
- Vietnam Phat Quoc Tu, Vietnam
- Geden International Monastery, Austria
- Chinese Monastery, China
- Dae Sung Shakya Temple, South Korea
- Drubgyud Choeling Monastery (Nepal Mahayana Temple)
- Dharmodaya Sabha Nepal (Swayambhu Mahavihara)
- Karma Samtenling Monastery, Nepal
- Manang Samaj Stupa, Nepal
- Panditarama Lumbini International Meditation Center, Myanmar
Major Attractions of Lumbini
The spiritual place Lumbini has a major to offer to tourists. Here, the visitors will have to visit the pilgrimages sites, learn about the ancient history, and get to explore several monasteries designed by several countries. Apart from monasteries and Gompas, there are several other sites of attraction in Lumbini and they are.
Maya Devi Temple
Maya Devi temple is one of the major attraction sites of Lumbini. It is the main temple at Lumbini and a site traditionally considered the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Maya Devi temple is the most noted and the important temple in the premise enshrines the traditional location of Buddha’s birth. The temple is located right next to the sacred pool called Pushkarini and a sacred garden. The archaeological remains of this place date back to the time of Ashoka, around the 3rd century BC. Likewise, Maya Devi rested in the shade of Bodhi tree while she was traveling. It was there that she went into labor and took a ritual dip in the nearby pond. It is also a place where Lord Buddha took his first bath here too. The temple is a white building that protects the exact spot of Buddha’s birth with marker stone.
Another remarkable site in Lumbini is the Ashoka pillar. It is the 3rd Century stone pillar built under the reign of Emperor Ashoka. The pillar was a mark of respect by Ashoka after visiting Lord Buddha’s birthplace and accepted Buddhism. He built four stupas and a pillar with a horse idol at the top and an inscription that is. Symbol of his visit to Lumbini. This makes the pillar a significantly important attraction in the country. The pillar is located inside the tranquil Maya Devi temple. The 6m tall sandstone structure was rediscovered by Nepalese archaeologists in 1896. Besides, the pillar is surrounded by a small fence and decorated with colorful prayer flags.
Therefore, this pillar holds historical significance and it is considered to be one of the major attractions of Lumbini.
Myanmar Golden Temple
Myanmar Golden Temple is the oldest structure of the city which is built in the Burmese style of architecture. The impressive corn cob-shaped shikhara, styled after the temples of Bagan gives an impressive look to the whole structure. There are three prayer halls. Within the temple ground, is a Lokamani Pula Pagoda inside the building.
Another major attraction of Lumbini is the museum. It is located at the entrance of the Sacred Garden Area of Lumbini. The Lumbini museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Property and also the Birthplace of the Historical Buddha. It will be a true gem when it launches in early 2022. The Museum holds ancient art history of what happened here some 2600 years ago. This temple is at the northern end of the compound and is devoted to the life of the Buddha. Similarly, one can find a nice collection of vestige and photos from Buddhist sites around the world.
Chinese Monastery, also known as Zhong Hua, is an elegant Buddhist monastery in Lumbini. The monastery is built in a pagoda-style of architecture and resembles the look of the famous forbidden city of China. The Pagoda-style monastery looks like a small Forbidden city through a gateway flanked by dogs of Fo, the elegant. Its perfectly manicured internal courtyard is an oasis of peace. Furthermore, The perfectly manicured internal courtyard fills the heart with peace and joy.
Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar
Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar is a Buddhist Gompa highly influenced by the Tibetan style. It was established by His Eminence Chogya Trichen Rinpoche and Raja of Mustang. The immense peace of the site makes it a perfect place for meditation and quiet self-searching. Likewise, Tara Pooja is performed every day by the 600 monks residing in the monastery.
World peace Pagoda
The World Peace Pagoda is at the northern end of Lumbini which is designed to be a symbol to unite humanity in a desire for peace. The large white stupa was built by Japanese Buddhists. The enormous World Peace Pagoda dazzles with its brightness and is designed to unite humanity and inspire the quest for peace. Like its name, the area around is quiet and peaceful. Similarly, the locals meditate and relax under the shade of the trees. Similarly, from the top of the world peace stupa, you can see across to the adjacent Crane Sanctuary which offers a natural habitat to the Sarus Cranes that are endemic to the region.
How to Get to Lumbini from Kathmandu
There are several ways to get to Lumbini from the capital city, Kathmandu. You can choose to take a long bus ride or fly to a nearby place and then transfer to Lumbini. The ride offers the natural landscapes of Nepal as well as lets you explore several villages on the way. However, Considering the time and comfort, and convenience, taking a flight is also recommended.
Kathmandu to Lumbini
From Kathmandu, one can book a flight to Gautam Buddha Airport located in Siddharthanagar. It is the closest airport to Lumbini. There are frequent daily flights from Tribhuvan International Airports in Kathmandu to Gautam Buddha Airport. The time taken by the flight is about 35 minutes. So, you can fly to Lumbini within less than an hour from Kathmandu. After landing at Airport one can take a cab or airport bus from the airport to Lumbini within 1 hour after landing.
If you are into nature and want to enjoy the ride then you can choose for the drive from Kathmandu to Lumbini. The drive may be a little longer and may take a full day of 1 hour. Despite being a long trip, it offers you the sight of the rural life of Nepal and the experienced local transportation. By local transportation, you will even get to experience Nepalese food on the way. You will have a chance to encounter other people of course if you are extroverted and love interacting with people. However, be prepared for the bumpy, tough, and long journey in a no air-conditioning bus. An optional choice is to cut the whole ride into two parts with transfer in Bhairawa.
Hire a Private Car
Another possible mode of transportation is hiring a private car. If you love the privacy and want to travel within yourself but still choose to enjoy the natural drive then hire a private car. Several agencies offer you the best service of facilities for renting a car. Renting a private car will benefit you in different ways. One among them is to let you experience the view of a fast-flowing River, dense green forest, local residence, etc in the surroundings as well as provide you a peaceful, relaxing, and comfortable ride. The driver will stop for meals, short breaks and to enjoy the adjacent environment. You can also ask the driver to stop and enjoy the natural beauty of the place as you please.
Lumbini to Pokhara
Lumbini is southwest of Pokhara with the shortest driving distance of about 200 KM. You can either take the shortest flight or take the ride to Lumbini. There will be two non-stop flights operating from Pokhara Airport to Bhairahawa Airport each day, with a quite short duration of only 20 minutes.
Driving from Pokhara directly to Lumbini is another popular and budget choice. The distance covered by the drive is around 200km which takes about 6-7hours of the drive.
Accommodation in Lumbini
Lumbini, as one of the tourism destinations in Nepal, finding accommodation is easy here. The accommodation conditions in Lumbini are relatively simple and basic with fewer choices than that of Kathmandu. However, you can still find hotels, resorts, and villas. Most hotels are centered in or around the Sacred Garden. You don’t have to travel long for the hotels, they are just around the corner of the main sites. Hot water and electricity are usually in shortage in budget hotels. Also, if you like, you can stay in the Chinese Temple and eat vegetarian meals for up to 2 days, or stay in a better hotel in Bhairahawa.
There are several options for accommodation in Lumbini.
Hotels in Lumbini are affordable and will provide you with the best of their services. However, you can choose the hotels considering the services they provide. There are several Japanese hotels, Chinese hotels close to the monasteries near the Sacred Garden. You can opt for them as they provide you with international services at a moderate price.
If you want a better service and want to enjoy more nature around your surroundings then go for the resort. There are several resorts in Lumbini that can meet your needs. If you choose to stay in resorts you can opt for Bhairahawa, which is an hour’s drive from Lumbini. Almost all resorts have a good location, excellent facilities, bright and clean rooms, and great staff.
Best Time to Visit Lumbini
Lumbini is visited by thousands of visitors yearly. So, there you are planning for the trip and wondering when to visit this pilgrimage site. You can visit Lumbini throughout the year. However, spring and autumn are the best months to visit Lumbini. Likewise, here are the details about the best time to visit Lumbini.
Spring is one of the popular seasons for travel in Nepal. The time in March to May is the spring season in Nepal which is the season of colors. Lumbini lies in the Terai region in Nepal. The terai or lowland is extremely hot in Nepal. However, the temperature is bearable in spring. Despite the warm temperature, one can get a clear and wonderful view in the month of spring. The surrounding Gompas and monasteries after rainfall are amazing. Therefore, with the most beautiful weather and suitable temperature, spring brings you the feeling of joy.
The monsoon in Nepal starts from June and lasts till August. Monsoon starts with light rainfall in almost every part of the country. Monsoon is somehow not favorable for those who don’t prefer traveling in rainy seasons. But for those who enjoy the rain and the environment after rainfall, then you can visit here. The monsoon in Nepal is very attractive with all the greenery, surrounding, and landscapes. etc. Besides, you can explore the lifestyle of people from the lowlands of Nepal.
December and January are the coldest months in Nepal. This is the winter season in Nepal. These months are not very favorable to visit as the temperature falls and the foggy and gloomy environment makes it more difficult to explore its beauty. The days in winter are short and gloomy. So, you won’t get much time to explore places nicely.
Another is one of the best seasons for traveling in Nepal. Generally, autumn starts from September to October. It is a season that attracts a lot of travelers to Nepal. During Autumn the wonderful ambiance of Lumbini attracts people around here. It is also a festive season in Nepal. If you choose to visit in this season, you will catch a glimpse of Nepalese major festivals such as Dashain and Tihar. You will feel nature and get in touch with the culture and tradition of Nepalese people.
Entry Fees to Lumbini
The entry fee to Lumbini differs according to the country and people. The locals have to pay relatively less compared to any other nation. Similarly, there is a discount for the SAARC nation while the fees for the internationals are different.
Entry Fees for Locals
The locals or Nepalese citizens have to pay very little. The entry fee for locals is just Rs.40. Similarly, the same goes for Indian citizens. An additional fee of Rs 50 will be charged on Nepali and Indian nationals for use of camera,
Entry Fees for Foreign Nations
The fees depend upon the country you are from. If you are from SAARC countries, then you have to pay Rs. 200. However, foreigners from other countries have to pay Rs 500 as an entry fee for the conservation of the historical Lumbini heritage. Likewise, visitors from other countries will have to pay two dollars for the use of a camera.