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Lumbini- the birth place of The Buddha

Lumbini which is situated at the foothill of the mighty Himalayas was the birth place of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, the apostle of peace, non-violence and universal brotherhood. It is generally believed that he was born in 623 BC on full moon day of the sixth month of Lunar calendar according to Nepal Era i.e. Baisakh Poornima which falls in April/May. It is the most sacred place of Buddhism and lies in the Terai (Southern Nepal) about 20 Km from Siddhartha Nagar (Bhairawa) in the Rupendehi District of Lumbini Zone in present day Nepal. 

Legend has it that his mother Queen Maha Maya Devi was travelling from Kapilvastu, the capital of Shakyas to her parents home in Devadaha. During the journey Queen Maya Devi seeing the natural beauty of Lumbini Garden decided to take rest and gave birth to the future Buddha under a big Sal tree. The beauty of Lumbini was described in Pali and Sanskrit literature. As soon as he was born, he looked towards the East, West, North, South, upwards and downwards and in all directions. Then he looked towards North and took seven steps. It is described that at every steps he walked one lotus flower appeared on the ground. Soon after birth the Buddha to be proclaimed “Foremost am I in the world. Senior most am I in the world. Best am I in the world. This is my last birth. No more am I to be born”

Emperor Asoka visited Lumbini in 249 BC in his 20th year of his coronation and erected a stone pillar. This pillar remained hidden from general public until recently as Lumbini remained neglected for centuries. Chinese travellers Fa Hian (403 AD) and Huan Tsang (636 AD) visited Lumbini and Kapilvastu and described its beauty. The Asokan pillar must have been seen by inhabitants of the Terai and not realised its importance. Major Jaskarana Singh saw it in 1893 A.D.and General Khadga Shamsher encouraged Dr Alois A. Fuhrer to carry out further excavation on December 1, 1896. It was only then that the significance of the pillar was realised. It  bears an inscription in Bramhi script, which in English reads as follows: King Piyadasi (another name for Emperor Ashoka), beloved son of gods, having been anointed 20 years, came here himself and worshiped saying “ Here Buddha Shakyamuni was born.”  Emperor Ashoka declared Lumbini village a tax free zone to mark the auspiciousness of the place.

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