Lumbini is a plain land of Nepal, approximate 302km/187.66mile is far southwest from Kathmandu. The Lord Buddha was born at Lumbini Garden in 623 BC. This is the cultural world heritage site in 1997 AD by UNESCO. Commanding In General Khadga Shamsher Rana and Dr. Alois Fuhrer (German archaeological surveyor in British India) discovered Ashokan Pillar in 1 December 1896 AD. Renowned architect Prof. Kenzo Tange of Japan In 1998 designs Garden with The Master Plan. In 1985 AD, the Lumbini Development Trust established to take over the responsibility of the overall management and development of Lumbini. Mauryan Emperor Ashoka from India in 249 BC visited in Lumbini and erected a stone pillar bearing an inscription that Prince Buddha was born there. This is the evidence that Shakyamuni Buddha was born here. Today devotees and visitors from all over the world come to here. Three famous Chinese-Tseng Tsai (4th century), Fa-Hsien (5th century) and Hiuen-Tsang (7th century) also visited here. Lumbini changed into a religious site soon after the Mahaprinirvana of the Buddha. The main ethnic groups living in the villages around here are Yadav, Muslim, Tharu, Harijan, Lodh, Chamar, Gupta, Mallah, Bahun, Chhettri, Shreevastav, Kohar, Muray, Goshami etc. The spoken languages are Nepali and Bhojpuri. According to the Master Plan, there are three zones-Sacred Garden, Monastic Zone and New Lumbini Village. Sacred Garden located in the southern part and there is some interesting monuments which is following
Located between the Ashokan Pillar and pipal tree, this pond is approximate 25 ft breadth, 23 ft length and 18 ft deep. Kesher Shamsher Rana visited it in 1933-1939 AD. This is the holy pond believed that Queen Maya Devi took her bath before giving birth to the Prince Buddha and also the infant Buddha was given his first purification bath.
The Ashokan Pillar is an important evidence of the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal. This beautiful carving pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BC and believed that he brought from Chunar of India. It is approximate 50-60 ton heavy and 9.41 meter high in total and 8.2-inch circle at the ground level and 6.2-inch circle at top portion. The inscription engraved by Ashoka written in Brahmin script and Pali language (90 letters) is translated as follows: Twenty years after his coronation, king Priyadarsi, Beloved of Gods visited this spot in person and offered worship at this place, because the sage of the Sakyas was born here. He caused to be built stonewall around the place and erected his stone pillar to commemorate his visit because the Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini Garden. He made the village of Lumbini free from taxes and subject to pay only one-eighth of the produce as land revenue instead of the usual rate. (DC Sircar, Inscription Ashoka 1967.p.69) King Ripu Malla of Karnali from west Nepal visited Lumbini in 1312 AD and left the mark of his visit engraved on the top of the Ashokan pillar Om Mani Padme Hum Ripu Malla Cirajayatu. It believed that the pillar was strike by lightening in 7th century.
It is believed that before 7th century here was dried tree and cut it by Chinese pilgrims and built the Mayadevi Temple. This temple restored and reopened in 16 May 2003 AD during the celebration of the 2547th birth anniversary of Buddha. Inside the temple, there are remains of structures of the early Mayadevi Temple that dates back to 3rd century BC to 7th century AD. Marker Stone (conglomerate-calcium and sand stone) – The size of Marker Stone is 70cm x 40cm x 10cm was found after excavation of the Mayadevi Temple in 1996. This is the exact location of the birth of Prince Buddha in 623 BC. This marker stone is preserved now with a covering bulletproof glass. Nativity Sculpture-The statue of Queen Mayadevi, is holding the branch of tree with her right hand for support, next to her own sister Prajapati in supporting posture in the time of delivery in standing. The newly born Prince Buddha is standing upright on a Lotus Pedestal with two celestial figures receiving him.
It is situated in the center part with the forest area. This Monastic Zone is north form Sacred Garden and is divided into east Monastic Zone (including 13 plots of land with Theravada Monasteries) and west Monastic Zone (including 29 plots of land with Mahayana Monasteries). The Theravada Monasteries in the east Monastic Zone including Thai Monastery(Thailand), Maha Bodhi Society of Kolkata (India), Buddhist Society of West Bengal (India), Burma Temple and monastery (Myanmar), Sri Lankan Monastery (Sri Lanka), International Gautami Nun Society (Ceylon), Swayambhu (Nepal), Nepal Vipasana Center (Nepal for meditation),
The Mahayana Monasteries (Bajrayana and Lamaism Buddhist sects) in the west Monastic Zone exiting through the Eternal Peace Flame ( using one cylinder of gas per day and established by King Gyanendra of Nepal in 1986 November 1 brought from UN) including Panditaram Meditation Center, Dharmodaya Sabha (Nepal), Manang Stupa (Nepal), Korean Monastery and monastery guest house (Korea), China Temple (China), Vietnamese Monastery (Vietnam), French and Austrian Monasteries (under construction, French and Austria), Japanese Monastery (Japan), Ladakh Monastery (India),two German Monasteries (Germany), still construction by Nepal, Mongolia, Malaysia and Bhutan etc.The northern part of the Master Plan has designed for New Lumbini village and including guest houses, restaurants and camping facilities. There is World Peace Stupa, Crane Sanctuary and Wetland Garden (US), Lumbini Hokke Hotel (Japan), Hotel Mikassa (Japan and Sri Lanka) and here is 200 blue bulls and around 300 species of birds (including the world tallest flying bird Sarus Crane),lizards, snakes, python and different types of plants also here.
Tilaurakot is located 27 km (16.77 mile) west from Lumbini. It is a capital city of ancient Kapilvastu. According to the Buddhist texts the origin story about the Kapilvastu once upon a time King Wokak of Koshal kicked out his elder wife and her 5 son and 6 daughter in order to give the kingdom to his younger wife’s son. Afterward the elder wife came with her five sons and six daughters to north here at the same time they encountered the Saint known as Kapilmuni. Here was a big forest of Sal and the was Saint advised to make a place with cut down the Sal tree (Shorea Robusta).The land was given by Saint Kapilmuni and this place become with the name of Kapilvastu and they cut down the Sal tree to make the place become the Sakya.
Tilaurakot was the place of King Suddhodhana and Queen Mayadevi and Prince Buddha spent his first 29 years of his life. The Chinese pilgrims Fa-Hien (403 AD) and Hiuen-Tsang (636 AD) noted that they saw Kapilvastu in complete ruins and counted 10 deserted cities within Kapilvastu. King Virudhaka (son of the servant side of the King), who massacred the Shakyas during the last days of the Buddha, is said to have destroyed the cities. Tilaurakot was excavation in 2001 by UNESCO they found only west gate and east gate and could not found north and south gate. There are ruins of ancient Sakya capital and remains are here with a moat and wall. The Kapilvastu Museum exhibits coins, pottery and toys since 7th century BC to 4th century AD.
Gotihawa is Located 7.5 km (4.66 mile) southwest from Tilaurakot. Gotihawa is believed that to be the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha, who came before Shakyamuni Buddha. There we can see broken Ashokan pillar and stupa.
Niglihawa is located 9 km (5.59 mile) north from Tilaurakot. Niglihawa is believed that Kanakmuni Buddha was born and enlightened here. There are a broken Ashokan pillar (15 ft tall) and large pond.
Devdaha is located 54 km (33.55 mile) northeast from Lumbini. This is ancient capital of the Koliya Kingdom. Devdaha is believed that the maternal hometown of Queen Mayadevi, Prajapati (Siddhartha’s stepmother) and Princess Yasodhara.
Ramgrama is located 25.5 km (15.84 mile) southeast from Devdaha. Bank of the Jharahi River, there is 7m high brick stupa containing one of the eight relics (Astha Dhatu) of Buddha. History mentions that Emperor Ashoka wanted to open it to multiply into 84 thousand stupas however the Dragon King and People of Ramgrama did not permit.
There are other places to visit like Sagarhawa (place of the Massacre of the Sakyas) is 12 km (7.45 mile) north from Taulihawa, Kudan (this is where king Suddodhana met Buddha first time after enlighten) is located some 4.5 km (2.79 mile) south from Tilaurakot. There you can see pond nearby ruins of stupas and monasteries.