Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been put on the world map for being the place of Lord Buddha's birth. It is a site revered by not only Buddhist, but also Hindu pilgrims. The Maya Devi Temple sits on the exact site of Buddha's birth and one needs to purchase an entrance ticket some distance from the gate to the Sacred Garden.
In 1992, archaeologists carried out excavations that unearthed a series of ruins which were found to be approximately 2200 years old. There is a commemorative stone on a brick plinth which matches a stone laid down by the great Emperor Ashoka of India in the 3rd century BC. Plans have been laid out to build a magnificent monument; however, currently a solid brick pavilion protects the ruins of the temple.
Before walking round the ruins on a boardwalk, you have to remove your shoes; advisable to keep your socks on as the walk is quite substantial. One prominent feature of the ruins for most pilgrims is a sandstone carving of the birth of Buddha claimed to be put there by Ripu Malla, a Malla King in the 14th century. Though the carving is worn out, one can make out the figure of Maya Devi grasping a branch as she gives birth to Buddha. Right under this is the exact spot of the birth of Buddha marked by a stone encased in bullet proof glass.
Beside the temple is the pond where it is believed that Maya Devi had taken a bath before she gave birth to Buddha. Spread across the ruin complex are the ruined foundations of various brick stupas and monasteries which have been dated as early as 2nd century BC to 9th century AD.
Lumbini is situated in the Rupandehi Southern Terai district of Nepal and although at an altitude of 600 feet, is considered the lowlands.
Lumbini is 230 kilometres from Kathmandu and one can take an 8 hour journey via Bhairahawa. Bhairahawa which is 22 kilometres to the west of Lumbini is also the nearest domestic airport – the flight time from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa is 30 minutes from where you can either take a bus or taxi to reach Lumbini.
As Lumbini is a place most visited by tourists and pilgrims, accommodation is not a problem. For budget options, you will find such hotels in Lumbini Bazaar ( aka Buddhanagar ) a village opposite the eastern entrance to Lumbini Development Zone.
The up market hotels are mostly located in the Development Zone north of Bhairahawa. Most visitors eat in the hotels.