May 5, 2018
Exploring Lumbini - Buddha's Birthplace
Location: Lumbini (city), Nepal
In a Nutshell
After leaving the Vipassana course 6 days earlier than planned, I suddenly had time to explore Lumbini, the fabled birthplace of the Enlightened One. Truth be told, I had unmet expectations about Lumbini. Given that the Buddha was born here, I thought it would be a popular and developed tourism center. In reality, it's a one-street dusty town with not much else to offer. Still, you can visit the spot where he was born and other monasteries and pagodas devoted to his teachings within a large rectangular area known as the Lumbini Development Zone. I would suggest renting a bicycle (NPR 150/day) because walking covers a fairly huge area.
Going Around Town
Despite the dust, what I found interesting was walking about town and catching glimpses of the locals in their candid day-to-day life - what they wear, people in the market, elders who gather in tea shops, etc. Capturing a well-timed shot is priceless and rewarding.
In the evening, restaurants line-up their candle-lit tables along the street for a charming ambience. I was always tempted to hang there and meet fellow travelers, but I know that the dust is still there even though you can't see it anymore. I would often just stay on my balcony watching them from a distance.
Reverence for Life
In the entire time I was in Nepal, I noticed something special about them - their reverence for life. They don't shoot down large birds of prey. As such, these magnificent birds soar in numbers and soar low all over Nepal. Nepalese also treat cows respectfully. I've seen a cow go practically inside a restaurant. Instead of beating the cows out, they offer food away from their premises. The cow is left unscathed. Also, monkeys roam around and can even be pests. But again, instead of being eaten, they are left to themselves. That says a lot about these gentle people. Yes, despite being feared and fierce warriors as proven in the Gurka War against the British, they exude this calm demeanor.
Without sounding irreverent, I cannot help but think privately that yes, the Buddha was born in Lumbini. But so what? Had he been born in Germany with German parents, he would still be a Buddha and Lumbini would be just an obscure dot on the map.
Don't get me wrong. What I am saying is that where the Buddha was born is not important to me. What's important are his teachings - sila (morality), samadhi (concentration of the mind) and panna (wisdom). These teachings unlock the great secret to a life of contentment. I don't even aim for enlightenment. In fact, I don't know what enlightenment is and I probably don't want it at this point. But by practising those three virtues, I'm not an angry man anymore. I feel more compassion to others and I can say I am contented with my life - there is nothing I crave and very few I have an aversion to. That to me is the important contribution of Buddha.
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Travel Tips for Lumbini
- coming from Pokhara, Lumbini is an 8-hr bus ride, NPR 800
- ideal time frame for Lumbini is an overnight stay. You don't need more than a day to see the attractions. After that, there isn't much else to see or do
- Lumbini's highlight are the temples, pagodas and monasteries within the Lumbini Development Zone, a rectangular area that spans about 5.7 kms walk from the northern-most attraction to the southern-most. Best to rent a bicycle at NPR 150/day (negotiable depending on season). It is not dusty inside this rectangular area.
- Lumbini, like Kathmandu, is dusty - use a mask
- Lumbini has a hot and humid climate
- Lumbini has a Vipassana center, Dhamma Janani
- Lumbini, aside from being the birthplace of Buddha, really has nothing much else to offer other than the pagodas
- travelers taking the bus from Pokhara can be dropped off at the main tourist area in Gate 5
- Lumbini is a 1-street dusty town, opposite Gate 5
- food and lodging in Lumbini are cheap like Pokhara
Travel Tips for Nepal
- tourist visa up to 15 days = $25, up to 30 days = $40, up to 90 days = $100, transit = $5, and they will accept currencies from 18 countries
- best to register for a tourist visa online (http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa). This saves you time, trouble and the hassle of bringing in a picture with you. You get the approved form printed and just show it to the Immigration guys in Kathmandu
- NPR (Nepalese Rupee) 100 = US$1
- nearly every food served is spicy...there is no escaping it
Nepal Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Visiting Boudhanath, Nepal's Largest Stupa Apr 19, 2018
- Vinyasa Yoga with Dipendra at the Mandala Yoga Studio and Spa, Kathmandu Apr 18, 2018
- Hatha Yoga with Madhab Prasad Dhakal at Sawar Yoga Studio, Kathmandu Apr 17, 2018
- Fitness in Kathmandu Apr 15, 2018
- 7 Days In Kathmandu April 13-20, 2018
- The 18-Hour Trip from Kuantan, Malaysia to Kathmandu, Nepal April 12-13, 2018
- India Visa Snag May 9, 2018
- Exploring Lumbini - Buddha's Birthplace May 5, 2018
- Storming out of Dhamma Janani on the 4th Day May 1-5, 2018
- Visiting Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, Pokhara Apr 26, 2018
- Exploring Devi's Falls, Pokhara Apr 26, 2018
- Trekking to the World Peace Pagoda Apr 26, 2018
- Exploring Pokhara, Nepal Apr 20, 2018
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