This post is about The Greater Lumbini Area. The Greater Lumbini Area includes archeological and religious site of Rupandehi, Nawalparasi and Kapilvastu.
The Greater Lumbini Area
Lumbini in the Rupandehi district of Nepal is the epicenter of Buddhism. In addition to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha, other Buddhist heritage sites worth visiting in the Rupandehi district include Devadaha, the maternal hometown of Buddha’s mother Mayadevi and Sainamaina, an archaeological site considered to be of Buddha era. Similarly, major interesting cultural, historical and natural sites in Rupandehi district are the surrounding rural villages with rich Tharu cultures and Viraha song; historic site of Jitgadhi fort at Butwal; religious sites such as Paryowa Dham at Sainamaina and Siddhababa temple and beautiful wetlands and rivers such as Gaidahawa lake, Gajedi lake, Dano river, Telar river, etc.
There are other beautiful sites with mild climate in the Siwalik range including Nuwakot Durbar, and recreational and educational parks including Mani Mukunda Sen Botanical Garden. The major gateways to Lumbini; the immigration checkpoint at Belahiya, Sunauli and the only airport in the region, Gautam Buddha Airport (being upgraded as an international airport) are located in the Rupandehi district. Bhairahawa and Butwal are two bustling cities of the district with several business, tourism and entertainment activities. Butwal also serves as a gateway to popular mountain tourism destinations such as Tansen, Pokhara and Mustang.
Monuments of Lumbini:
Maya Devi Temple
The Marker Stone
The Nativity Sculpture
The Asokan Pillar
The Puskarini, The Holy Pond
Master Plan of Lumbini:
In 1978, the Master Plan designed by Prof. Tange was finalized and approved by the Government of Nepal and United Nations. In 1985, the Lumbini Development Trust Act came into existence and Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) was formed accordingly. Now the Trust is responsible for the implementation of the master plan and for the overall development of Lumbini, and other Buddhist sites of Kapilavastu, Devadaha and Ramagrama.
Concept of the Mater Plan
Some Important Sites Around Lumbini:
About 5 km southwest of Taulihawa is Gotihawa. It is the site for Asoka Pillar where Krakuchhanda Buddha attained nirvana. Gotihawa is one of the major pilgrimage sites for Buddhists from all over the world. This holy site. sanctified by the birth of the Buddha has been marked by the construction of a stupa. An Asoka pillar erected here by Emperor Asoka in 249 B.C. ascertains it as the birth spot of Krakuchhanda Buddha. However, the upper part of the pillar is missing.
About 12 km north of Taulihawa lies the forest of Sagarhawa, with a long lake known as Lumbusagar. In this site, the Sakyas were massacred by King Virudhaka out of vengeance. The entire area of this site was littered with the blood of thousands of Sakyas. Later, in the memory of the noble Sakyas, hundreds of stupas were built here by their descendants. Dr. A. Fuhrer excavated and explored these stupas and antiquities in 1897-1898.
Niglihawa lies about 8 km northeast of Taulihawa. It is the birthplace of Kanakmuni, the early Buddha of Bhadrakalpa. The site shelters an Asoka pillar erected by Emperor Asoka in 249 BC. The pillar is broken into two pieces, the lower part bearing inscription in the ground and the upper part lying on the surface. The Asoka inscription engraved in Brahmi script and Pali language testifies the site as the birth spot of the Buddha.
About 3 km northwest of Niglihawa lies a rectangular fortified area popularly known as Araurakot, which is believed to be the natal town of Kanakmuni Buddha. The rectangular fortification wall is magnificent even in its ruins.
Sisahaniya is believed to be the site where the Sakyas built a stupa enshrining the precious corporeal relic of the Buddha that they had obtained as one eighth of their share. The Sakyas after building a relic stupa of Lord Buddha at Sisahaniya and worshipped there for a long time. The relic was taken away later. Today, we can see remnants of ancient potteries, burnt bricks and brickbats and even Sakya punch marked coins lying scattered on the surface of the site.
Devadaha is the famous ancient capital of Koliya kingdom, the maternal hometown of queen Maya Devi, Prajapati and princess Yasodhara. The site is situated at about 57 km northeast of Lumbini and is well connected by the Mahendra Highway. We can observe many archaeological and historical sites extended in a large area. The potential ancient sites of Devadaha include Kumarvarti, Khayardada, Bairimai-Kanyamai, Bhagawanipur/Devidamar, Kotahimai, the Rohini River, the Telar River etc. More facts on ancient Koliyan civilization will reveal after full-fledged excavations in future.
Important Archeological and Religious Monuments of Devdaha
Ancient Kapilavastu or the present-day Kapilvastu district is the hometown of Prince Siddhartha. It is also the birthplace of two earlier Buddhas, who descended to the mortal world, attained enlightenment and entered nirvana before Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. Krakuchhanda Buddha was born in Gotihawa whereas Kanakamuni Buddha was born in Niglihawa.
Hence, the Greater Lumbini Area may be called as the Land of Buddhas or the Birthplaces of three Buddhas. Kapilvastu district is an open museum as it alone houses more than 130 important archaeological sites, directly or indirectly related to the life of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and Buddhism. Important Buddhist heritage sites worth visiting in the Kapilavastu district include Tilaurakot, Kudan, Gotihawa, Niglihawa, Araurakot, Sagarhawa and Sisaniya, each sacred site bearing its own distinct religious and spiritual value. Other interesting sites for visitors in Kapilavastu include Bikuli Kot, Jagadishpur Reservoir (listed as a RAMSAR site), Touleshwor Nath temple, Ramghat, Laxman Ghat, Kapila Dham, Shringi Rishi Ashram, Kailash Ashram, Shivagadhi, etc. Gorusinghe of Kapilavastu district is the gateway to other popular sites; Supa Deurali Narapani hill station, Khanchi Kot, Argha Kot, etc.
|1. Ramgram Stupa. Photo by Susmita Paudel|
|2. Ramgrama Stupa. Photo by Susmita Paudel|
According to the Buddhist traditions the dead body of the Buddha after attaining Mahaparinirmana was cremated by the Mallas of Kushinagar and the mortal remains were distributed among eight claimants including the Koliyas of Ramagrama.
|3. Ramgrama Stupa. Photo by Susmita Paudel|
Historical Research of Lumbini
About Lumbini Development Trust
#Last Updated: 5 August, 2022