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Lumbini 4.jpg
Nepal rel location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Lumbini in Nepal
Coordinates: 27°28′53″N83°16′33″E / 27.48139°N 83.27583°E / 27.48139; 83.27583
Country Nepal
Province Lumbini Pradesh
District Rupandehi
Municipality Lumbini Sanskritik
  Type Development trust
  Body Lumbini Development Trust
150 m (490 ft)
Time zone UTC+05:45 (NST)
Postal Code
Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Location Rupandehi District, Nepal
Criteria Cultural: iii, vi
Reference 666
Inscription1997 (21st session)
Area1.95 ha
Buffer zone22.78 ha
Coordinates Coordinates: 27°28′53″N83°16′33″E / 27.48139°N 83.27583°E / 27.48139; 83.27583

Lumbinī (Nepali and Sanskrit: लुम्बिनीpronounced  [ˈlumbini] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), "the lovely") is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District of Lumbini Province in Nepal. It is the place where, according to Buddhist tradition, Queen Mahamayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BCE. [1] [2] Gautama, who achieved Enlightenment some time around 528 BCE, [3] [4] became the Buddha and founded Buddhism. [5] [6] [7] Lumbini is one of many magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha.


Lumbini has a number of older temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, and various new temples, funded by Buddhist organisations from various countries, have been completed or are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum, and the Lumbini International Research Institute are also within the holy site. Also, there is the Puskarini, or Holy Pond, where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he had his first bath. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, then achieved ultimate Enlightenment and finally relinquished their earthly forms.

Lumbini was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. [1] [2]

In Buddha's time

In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was situated in east of Kapilavastu and southwest Devadaha of Shakya, an oligarchic republic. [8] [9] According to Buddhist tradition, it was there, that the Buddha was born. [10] A pillar discovered at Rupandehi in 1896 is believed to mark the spot of Ashoka's visit to Lumbini. The site was not known as Lumbini before the pillar was discovered. [11] The translation of Inscription reads: [12] "When King Devanampriya Priyadarsin had been anointed twenty years, he came himself and worshipped (this spot) because the Buddha Shakyamuni was born here. (He) both caused to be made a stone bearing a horse (?) and caused a stone pillar to be set up, (in order to show) that the Blessed One was born here. (He) made the village of Lummini free of taxes, and paying (only) an eighth share (of the produce)." [13] The park was previously known as Rupandehi, 2 mi (2 mi (3.2 km)) north of Bhagavanpura.

The Sutta Nipáta (vs. 683) states that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans in the Lumbineyya Janapada. The Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta. [14]

Pillar of Ashoka

In 1896, General Khadga Samsher Rana and Alois Anton Führer discovered a great stone pillar at Rupandehi, according to the crucial historical records made by the ancient Chinese monk-pilgrim Xuanzang in the 7th century CE and by another ancient Chinese monk-pilgrim Faxian in the early 5th century CE. The Brahmi inscription on the pillar gives evidence that Ashoka, emperor of the Maurya Empire, visited the place in 3rd-century BCE and identified it as the birth-place of the Buddha. The inscription was translated by Paranavitana: [15] [note 1]

Rummindei pillar, inscription of Ashoka
(original Brahmi script)
(Prakrit in the Brahmi script)

When King Devanampriya Priyadarsin had been anointed twenty years, he came himself and worshipped (this spot) because the Buddha Shakyamuni was born here. (He) both caused to be made a stone bearing a horse (?) and caused a stone pillar to be set up, (in order to show) that the Blessed One was born here. (He) made the village of Lummini free of taxes, and paying (only) an eighth share (of the produce).

The Rummindei Edict, one of the Minor Pillar Edicts of Ashoka. [18]

𑀤𑁂𑀯𑀸𑀦𑀁𑀧𑀺𑀬𑁂𑀦 𑀧𑀺𑀬𑀤𑀲𑀺𑀦 𑀮𑀸𑀚𑀺𑀦𑀯𑀻𑀲𑀢𑀺𑀯𑀲𑀸𑀪𑀺𑀲𑀺𑀢𑁂𑀦
Devānaṃpiyena Piyadasina lājina vīsati-vasābhisitena
𑀅𑀢𑀦𑀆𑀕𑀸𑀘 𑀫𑀳𑀻𑀬𑀺𑀢𑁂 𑀳𑀺𑀤𑀩𑀼𑀥𑁂𑀚𑀸𑀢 𑀲𑀓𑁆𑀬𑀫𑀼𑀦𑀺𑀢𑀺
atana āgāca mahīyite hida Budhe jāte Sakyamuni ti
𑀲𑀺𑀮𑀸𑀯𑀺𑀕𑀥𑀪𑀺𑀘𑀸𑀓𑀸𑀳𑀸𑀧𑀺𑀢 𑀲𑀺𑀮𑀸𑀣𑀪𑁂𑀘 𑀉𑀲𑀧𑀸𑀧𑀺𑀢𑁂
silā vigaḍabhī cā kālāpita silā-thabhe ca usapāpite
𑀳𑀺𑀤𑀪𑀕𑀯𑀁𑀚𑀸𑀢𑀢𑀺 𑀮𑀼𑀁𑀫𑀺𑀦𑀺𑀕𑀸𑀫𑁂 𑀉𑀩𑀮𑀺𑀓𑁂𑀓𑀝𑁂
hida Bhagavaṃ jāte ti Luṃmini-gāme ubalike kaṭe
aṭha-bhāgiye ca

Adapted from transliteration by E. Hultzsch, [19]
Lumbini Rummindei pillar at time of discovery in 1896, with location of the inscription, which was hidden about 1 meter under ground level. Lumbini pillar with inscription and its location.jpg
Lumbini Rummindei pillar at time of discovery in 1896, with location of the inscription, which was hidden about 1 meter under ground level.

Lumbini pillar inscription by King Ripumalla: "Om mani padme hum May Prince Ripu Malla be long victorious" Lumbini pillar Medieval inscription.jpg
Lumbini pillar inscription by King Ripumalla: " Om mani padme hum May Prince Ripu Malla be long victorious"

At the top of the pillar, there is a second inscription by king Ripumalla (13-14th century CE), who is also known from an inscription at the Nigali Sagar pillar:

" Om mani padme hum May Prince Ripu Malla be long victorious"

Inscription of King Ripumalla on the Lumbini pillar of Ashoka, (13-14th century). [23]

A second pillar of Ashoka is located about 22 kilometers to the northwest of Lumbini, the Nigali Sagar pillar (with inscription), and a third one 24 kilometers to the west, the Gotihawa pillar (without inscription).

Excavation at the Mayadevi Temple in 2013

Maya devi Temple Lumbini - Mayadevi Temple from South, Lumbini (9244243566).jpg
Maya devi Temple

According to Robin Coningham, excavations beneath existing brick structures at the Mayadevi Temple at Lumbini provide evidence for an older timber structure beneath the walls of a brick Buddhist shrine built during the Ashokan era (3rd-century BCE). The layout of the Ashokan shrine closely follows that of the earlier timber structure, which suggests a continuity of worship at the site. The pre-Mauryan timber structure appears to be an ancient tree shrine. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal from the wooden postholes and optically stimulated luminescence dating of elements in the soil suggests human activity began at Lumbini around 1000 BCE. [24] The site, states Coningham, may be a Buddhist monument from 6th-century BCE. Other scholars state that the excavations revealed nothing that is Buddhist, and they only confirm that the site predates the Buddha. [25] [26]


Mayadevi Temple and ruins of ancient monasteries in Lumbini Mayadevi Temple and ruins of ancient monasteries in Lumbini 03.jpg
Mayadevi Temple and ruins of ancient monasteries in Lumbini

Lumbini is 4.8 km (3 mi) in length and 1.6 km (1.0 mi) in width. The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone in which only monasteries can be built, no shops, hotels or restaurants. It is separated into an eastern and western monastic zone, the eastern having the Theravadin monasteries, the western having Mahayana and Vajrayana monasteries. There is a long water filled canal separating the western and eastern zones, with a series of brick arch bridges joining the two sides along the length. The canal is serviced by simple outboard motor boats at the north end which provides tours.

The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashokan pillar and the Mayadevi Temple, a site traditionally considered to be the birthplace of the Buddha. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.

A non-governmental organization named Samriddhi Foundation started in 2013 working extensively in the field of education and health specially in government schools of the area where underprivileged children study. A non-governmental organisation called "Asia Pacific Exchange and Co-operation Foundation" (APECF) backed by chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and then Prime Minister Prachanda, the Chinese government and a UN group called "United Nations Industrial Development Organization" (UNIDO) signed a deal to develop Lumbini into a "special development zone" with funds worth $3 billion. [27] The venture was a China-UN joint project. A broader 'Lumbini Development National Director Committee' under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal was formed on 17 October 2011. [28] The six-member committee included Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) leader Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal, Forest Minister Mohammad Wakil Musalman, among other leaders. The committee was given the authority to "draft a master plan to develop Lumbini as a peaceful and tourism area and table the proposal" and the responsibility to gather international support for the same. [28]

Lumbini Nepal DSCN2126a.jpg

Nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in the park in 2001, which is visited by many different cultures and religions every day.

Because some Hindus regard the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, thousands of Hindus have begun to come here on pilgrimage during the full moon of the Nepali month of Baisakh (April–May) to worship Queen Mayadevi as Rupa Devi, the mother goddess of Lumbini.

Lumbini was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1997. [1] [2]

On the Nepali rupee

Nepal's central bank has introduced a 100-rupee Nepali note featuring Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. The Nepal Rastra Bank said the new note would be accessible only during the Dashain, Nepal's major festival in the time of September/October. It displays the portrait of Mayadevi, Gautam Buddha's mother in silver metallic on the front. The note also has a black dot which would help the blind recognise the note. The name of the central bank in Latin script would be printed on the note along with the date of printing in both the Christian Era and the Bikram Era. The new note is being issued following a cabinet decision 27 August. [29]



Lumbini is a 10-hour drive from Kathmandu and a 30-minute drive from Bhairahawa. The closest airport is Gautam Buddha Airport at Bhairahawa, with flights to and from Kathmandu. [30]

The India border town of Sonauli in Maharajganj district is 1 hour drive from Lumbini and Nautanwa railway station in India is just a few kilometres away. The nearest big city is Gorakhpur, which is about 100km and is 4 hours drive from Lumbini.

Places to visit in Lumbini

New Hotel Construction in Lumbini

The nearest airport to Lumbini, that is, the Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa, is currently undergoing upgradation work. This small domestic airport is soon expected to become an international airport, with latest deadline set for 2019. The upgradation work of the airport has also caught the eye of investors and hoteliers, and a series of new hotels are being constructed now in and around Lumbini, hoping to catch in on the expected international tourist boom once the airport upgradation work is complete. [32]

Foreign visitors (2012–2014)

20148,35617,96420,0376,8432,5532,1112,72614,1237,99916,43321,08912,765132,926 [33]
20139,37117,86922,5817,1013,6543,5523,6219,6857,35113,61016,48310,618125,496 [34]
20126,59120,04520,5198,2951,3161,3662,65117,9247,95513,09921,74014,566136,067 [34]

Sister Cities

Flag of India.svg Bodh Gaya, India [35]

See also

Map of Lumbini in relation to other Eight Great Places Buddhist pilgrimage sites and notable nearby cities Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India.svg
Map of Lumbini in relation to other Eight Great Places Buddhist pilgrimage sites and notable nearby cities


  1. Several alternative translations have been published. [16] [17]

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Sanchi Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, in Madhya Pradesh, India

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Edicts of Ashoka Ancient BCE inscriptions

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the pillars, as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma Lipi to describe his own Edicts. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and provide the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail Ashoka's view about dhamma, an earnest attempt to solve some of the problems that a complex society faced. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.

Pillars of Ashoka

The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns dispersed throughout the Indian subcontinent, erected or at least inscribed with edicts by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka during his reign from c.  268 to 232 BC. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma thaṃbhā, i.e. "pillars of the Dharma" to describe his own pillars. These pillars constitute important monuments of the architecture of India, most of them exhibiting the characteristic Mauryan polish. Of the pillars erected by Ashoka, twenty still survive including those with inscriptions of his edicts. Only a few with animal capitals survive of which seven complete specimens are known. Two pillars were relocated by Firuz Shah Tughlaq to Delhi. Several pillars were relocated later by Mughal Empire rulers, the animal capitals being removed. Averaging between 12 and 15 m in height, and weighing up to 50 tons each, the pillars were dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to where they were erected.

Buddhism in Nepal started spreading since the reign of Ashoka through Indian and Tibetan missionaries. The Kiratas were the first people in Nepal who embraced Gautama Buddha’s teachings, followed by the Licchavis and Newars. Buddha was born in Lumbini in the Shakya Kingdom. Lumbini is considered to lie in present-day Rupandehi district, Lumbini zone of Nepal. Buddhism is the second-largest religion in Nepal. According to 2001 census, 10.74% of Nepal's population practiced Buddhism, consisting mainly of Tibeto-Burman-speaking ethnicities, the Newar. However, in the 2011 census, Buddhists made up just 9% of the country's population. It has not been possible to assign with certainty the year in which Prince Siddhartha, the birth name of the Buddha, was born, it is usually placed at around 563 BCE. In Nepal's hill and mountain regions Hinduism has absorbed Buddhist tenets to such an extent that in many cases they have shared deities as well as temples. For instance, the Muktinath Temple is sacred and a common house of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists.

Taulihawa, Nepal Municipality in Lumbini Zone, Nepal

Taulihawa, also known as Kapilavastu, is one of the oldest municipality and administrative center of Kapilvastu District in Lumbini Pradesh of southern Nepal. Taulihawa is located roughly 25 kilometres (16 mi) to the south-west of Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Gautama Buddha.

Rupandehi District District in Lumbini Pradesh, Nepal

Rupandehi District, a part of Lumbini Province, is one of the seventy-seven districts of Nepal and covers an area of 1,360 km2 (530 sq mi). The district headquarter is Siddharthanagar. As per the national census 2011, the population of Rupandehi was 880,196.

Piprahwa village in Uttar Pradesh, India

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Buddhist pilgrimage sites

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Major Rock Edicts

The Major Rock Edicts of Indian Emperor Ashoka refer to 14 separate major Edicts of Ashoka which are significantly detailed and represent some of the earliest dated rock inscriptions of any Indian monarch. For a full English translation of the Edicts:. These edicts are preceded chronologically by the Minor Rock Edicts.

Devdaha Municipality in Province No. 5, Nepal

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Koṇāgamana Buddha

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Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini

Maya Devi Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple situated at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, Nepal. It is the main temple at Lumbini, a site traditionally considered the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. The temple stands adjacent to a sacred pool and a sacred garden. The archaeological remains at the site were previously dated to the third-century BCE brick buildings constructed by Ashoka. A sixth-century BCE timber shrine was discovered in 2013.

Alois Anton Führer

Alois Anton Führer was a German Indologist who worked for the Archaeological Survey of India. He is known for his archaeological excavations, which he believed proved that Gautama Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Führer's archaeological career ended in disgrace as "a forger and dealer in fake antiquities", and he had to resign from his position in 1898.

Vajrasana, Bodh Gaya

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Robin Andrew Evelyn Coningham, FSA, FRAS is a British archaeologist and academic, specialising in South Asian archaeology and archaeological ethics. He has been Professor of Early Medieval Archaeology since 2005 and UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage since 2014 at the University of Durham. From 1994 to 2005, he taught at the University of Bradford, rising to become Professor of South Asian Archaeology and Head of the Department of Archaeological Sciences.

Nigali Sagar

Nigali Sagar, also called Nigliva, is an archaeological site in Nepal containing the remains of a pillar of Ashoka. The pillar is called the Nigali Sagar pillar, or also the Nighihawa pillar, or Nigliva pillar, or Araurakot Asoka Pillar. The site is located about 20 kilometers northwest of Lumbini and 7 kilometers northeast of Taulihawa, Nepal. Another famous inscription discovered nearby in a similar context is the Lumbini pillar inscription.

Minor Rock Edicts

The Minor Rock Edicts of Ashoka are rock inscriptions which form the earliest part of the Edicts of Ashoka, and predate Ashoka's Major Rock Edicts. These are the first edicts in the Indian language of Emperor Ashoka, written in the Brahmi script in the 11th year of his reign. They follow chronologically the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription, in Greek and in Aramaic, written in the 10th year of his reign, which is the first known inscription of Ashoka.

Minor Pillar Edicts

The Minor Pillar Edicts of Indian Emperor Ashoka refer to 5 separate minor Edicts of Ashoka inscribed on columns, the Pillars of Ashoka, which are among the earliest dated inscriptions of any Indian monarch. A full English translation of the Edicts was published by Romilla Thapar.

Lumbini pillar inscription Ashoka pillar inscription identifying Buddhas birthplace in Nepal

The Lumbini pillar inscription, also called the Paderia inscription, is an inscription in the ancient Brahmi script, discovered in December 1896 on a pillar of Ashoka in Lumbini, modern Nepal by Alois Anton Führer. Another famous inscription discovered nearby in a similar context is the Nigali-Sagar inscription. The Lumbini inscription is generally categorized among the Minor Pillar Edicts of Ashoka, although it is in the past tense and in the ordinary third person, suggesting that it is not a pronouncement of Ashoka himself, but a rather later commemoration of his visit in the area.


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  12. See Mukerji: Asoka, p. 27; see p. 201f for details
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  18. Hultzsch, E. (1925). Inscriptions of Asoka. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 164-165
  19. Hultzsch, E. (1925). Inscriptions of Asoka. New Edition by E. Hultzsch (in Sanskrit). p. 164.
  20. British Library Online
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  22. Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, p.269
  23. Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, p.269
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Edicts of Ashoka
(Ruled 269232 BCE)
Regnal years
of Ashoka
Type of Edict
(and location of the inscriptions)
Geographical location
Year 8End of the Kalinga war and conversion to the "Dharma"
Year 10 [1] Minor Rock Edicts Related events:
Visit to the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya
Construction of the Mahabodhi Temple and Diamond throne in Bodh Gaya
Predication throughout India.
Dissenssions in the Sangha
Third Buddhist Council
In Indian language: Sohgaura inscription
Erection of the Pillars of Ashoka
Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription
(in Greek and Aramaic, Kandahar)
Minor Rock Edicts in Aramaic:
Laghman Inscription, Taxila inscription
Year 11 and later Minor Rock Edicts (n°1, n°2 and n°3)
(Panguraria, Maski, Palkigundu and Gavimath, Bahapur/Srinivaspuri, Bairat, Ahraura, Gujarra, Sasaram, Rajula Mandagiri, Yerragudi, Udegolam, Nittur, Brahmagiri, Siddapur, Jatinga-Rameshwara)
Year 12 and later [1] Barabar Caves inscriptions Major Rock Edicts
Minor Pillar Edicts Major Rock Edicts in Greek: Edicts n°12-13 (Kandahar)

Major Rock Edicts in Indian language:
Edicts No.1 ~ No.14
(in Kharoshthi script: Shahbazgarhi, Mansehra Edicts
(in Brahmi script: Kalsi, Girnar, Sopara, Sannati, Yerragudi, Delhi Edicts)
Major Rock Edicts 1-10, 14, Separate Edicts 1&2:
(Dhauli, Jaugada)
Schism Edict, Queen's Edict
(Sarnath Sanchi Allahabad)
Lumbini inscription, Nigali Sagar inscription
Year 26, 27
and later [1]
Major Pillar Edicts
In Indian language:
Major Pillar Edicts No.1 ~ No.7
(Allahabad pillar Delhi pillar Topra Kalan Rampurva Lauria Nandangarh Lauriya-Araraj Amaravati)

Derived inscriptions in Aramaic, on rock:
Kandahar, Edict No.7 [2] [3] and Pul-i-Darunteh, Edict No.5 or No.7 [4]

  1. 1 2 3 Yailenko,Les maximes delphiques d'Aï Khanoum et la formation de la doctrine du dhamma d'Asoka, 1990, p. 243.
  2. Inscriptions of Asoka de D.C. Sircar p. 30
  3. Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39
  4. Handbuch der Orientalistik de Kurt A. Behrendt p. 39