Submerging oneself to the culture and tradition of Nepal would not be complete without visiting the town of Lumbini. Located quite close to the bordering country of India, Lumbini is a World Heritage Site and most importantly, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
To reach Lumbini whether you are coming from Kathmandu, Pokhara or in my case Chitwan National Park at Sauhara, requires an almost six-hours bus journey to the town of Bhawara, where you need to switch to a local bus for another hour or so ride to the town of Lumbini itself.
Lumbini is a small town and easy to figure out- you have the market place where residential/commercial area are located and there is the gated compound of temples and sacred gardens.
The hotel owner in his ways apologetically told me that there is nothing much to expect at Lumbini particularly in terms of comfort. The city itself is undergoing frequent reconstruction due to the instability caused by recent Maoist rebel attacks.
The inside of Mayadevi Temple is the remains of what used to be Buddha’s home and is the most important place of worship for Buddhists. Enclosed in a small glass inside the temple is the exact place where the Lord Budhha was born. Visitors are allowed to peek but photography is prohibited.
Directly across the temple is a huge tree decorated with prayer flags and several orange rob pilgrims sitting below. Some of these monks will happily pose for any pictures provided that you put rupees on their buckets.
If you asked me, for those who really wanted to visit Lumbini for meditation, I would suggest that the best option is to stay inside one of the monasteries in the compound. They are located close to each other and differentiated by the country they represent, as far as I know, only the Korea monastery is the one accepting outside visitors.
The whole gated compound is designed by a Japanese architecture. My impression is that the construction resembles Hiroshima Peace Park where a peace flame is located at the middle while two most important structure are located at both ends, the Mayadevi Temple sits on the upper most part and a long canal walks leading to the World Peace Pagoda at the southern end.
Like the surrounding residential area outside, there are several parts inside the gated compound still undergoing construction. Apart from the temples, I particularly like the lake area decorated with Buddha’s words of wisdom hang on the tree.
I traveled across this amazing country with a list of things I wanted to experience but not dictated by any particular schedule, I am grateful on how things happened and it seems to me that a visit to Lumbini is the best way to wrap my Nepal tour.