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Lumbini Tourism And Travel Guide
12.3° C / 54.2° F
October to November
1 to 2 Days
Siddhartha Gautam Airport, Bhairahawa (26 kms)
International Nepal Railway Station Janakpur
One of the most sacred places in the world for Buddhists, Lumbini is a city located in the Terai region of southern Nepal. The creator of Buddhist religion, Siddhartha Gautam or Buddha, is believed to have been born in Lumbini, which was previously known as Kapilavastu district. Today, this city offers numerous religious and historic attractions related to the life of Buddha for people from all aspects of life, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini features some of the most brilliant temples and monasteries that can be observed in the country. While there are a lot of inscriptions and evidences that point towards the historical aspect of Lumbini, the Ashoka pillar discovered in 1896 by Nepali archaeologists reinforced the link between the birth of Buddha and the town of Lumbini, and made it one of the top tourism spots in the country.
Legend has it that upon his birth, Gautam Buddha took his life’s first seven steps in the north direction, and declared that this would be his last rebirth. While people may have varying belief systems about his religion, it cannot be denied that the birth and enlightenment of Buddha changed the religious history of the world to a great extent. Compiled below is a brief travel guide to plan out your next vacation to Lumbini.
How to Reach
The fastest way to reach Lumbini from international destinations is to catch a flight to Tribhuvan Internation Airport in Kathmandu, and then proceed via road directly to Lumbini; or catch another domestic flight to Siddhartha Gautam Airport in Bhairahawa. From Bhairahawa, Lumbini is a mere 15-minute drive away. If you are traveling from within the country, Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines connect Bhairawaha to other domestic airports within Nepal.
Road access to Lumbini is through a number of routes. People who fly in to Kathmandu can take a bus to Buddha Chowk or Bhairahawa, and then move on to Lumbini from here. For those who fly to Bhairahawa Airport from Kathmandu, Lumbini is a mere 4 km ride away from the airport. The Sunauli border crossing is one of the main stops for connecting to Lumbini from Gorakhpur and Varanasi in India. Once you reach Sunauli, Buddha Chowk is just a rickshaw ride away, from where you can catch a direct bus to Lumbini Bazaar.
Trains do not run between cities in Nepal. In India, some tourist trains like Mahaparinirvan Express travel between major cities and have stopovers at Gorakhpur, from where travelers can move on to Lumbini via road.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Lumbini is in the autumn months of October and November. The humid summer season gives way to a pleasant and enjoyable climate, with clear skies, one that is deemed perfect for exploring the town and its architectural wonders.
The winter months in Lumbini are coldest in January and February, and the chilly climate does not make for a very agreeable sightseeing experience. The high levels of humidity even in winters ensure the presence of misty mornings and foggy days, causing even more hindrance to acceptable views of key landmarks.
A small transition period between winter and summer is experienced in the month of March and early April that can qualify as a short spring season. The temperatures in this month are pleasant and cool with perfect weather for sightseeing, which make it the second best time to visit Lumbini after autumn. From May onwards, the temperatures reach peak levels until the monsoons bring some relief late June onwards. However, while the temperature may go down a little, the persistent high humidity will prove to be somewhat of a nuisance for those not accustomed to the tropical weather conditions.
Things to Do
Visit the Sacred Garden:
The most important site in Lumbini is the exact birth spot of Buddha, which is located within the grounds of the Maya Devi Temple. The Sacred Garden is an archaeological conservation area that houses the Maya Devi Temple, along with a number of other structures significant to Buddhism and its devotees. The Ashoka Pillar is also an important monument in the complex, apart from some excavated remains of early monasteries and stupas.
Lumbini Monastic Site:
The Monastic Site is a sacred zone that has been demarcated to house the numerous monasteries and temples donated to Lumbini from various Buddhist countries around the world. Some of the most amazing architecture can be observed in the Myanmar Golden Temple, the Cambodian Monastery and the Thai Buddhist Monastery. All other types of commercial buildings like hotels, restaurants or cafes are prohibited from being built in this religious sanctuary.
Boating in Central Canal:
The Central Canal is a water body around 1.3 km in length that separates the Sacred Garden in the south from the location of the World Peace Pagoda in the north. There are boating options available at this canal with drivers present at both ends; one can choose to boat along the length of the canal while some even like to stroll along the edges on a pleasant day. The Eternal Peace Flame is also located at one end of the canal that has been burning since 1986 to commemorate the International Year of Peace.
Explore Lumbini Museum:
The Lumbini Museum is an institution dedicated to the life of Buddha. It is home to artefacts, photos and sculptures from Buddhist countries around the world, including some ancient Buddhist manuscripts. It is the perfect place to catch a glimpse into the rise of Buddhism in the world and how it has shaped the present day religious scenario as we know it.
Climb to the Top of World Peace Pagoda:
A gleaming white building with a large central dome is essentially what makes the World Peace Pagoda. Built by the Japanese as a symbol of peace, its highlight is the set of Buddha statues placed inside, in various positions he assumed throughout the extent of his life.
It is impossible to visit Lumbini and not explore the possibility of meditation. While the Bodhi Tree in the Maya Devi Temple complex is a popular spot to contemplate and reflect, there are also a number of meditation centres around the city that offer programs with Buddhist monks to help you understand the deeper aspects of meditation.
What To Eat
Even though Lumbini is one of the more popular tourist spots in the country, the food in this city may not be one of its best attributes. Most of the travellers choose to dine in their respective lodges and hotels. Nonetheless, there are some restaurants in the area that may be worth paying a visit. The Lumbini Invitation 365 is one of the most frequented eateries in the region, and features mostly international cuisine. For vegans and vegetarians, the Lumbini Sat Saheb may be an interesting choice.