Friday, 9 December 2016

Visiting Lumbini – Birth Place of Siddhartha Buddha

The ride to Lumbini was an agonizing 8 hours journey, very slow and very windy. Although the scenery was amazing as the small bus climbed up and down the mountain pass after a while it gnaw on you.
Shack Huts for Lunch on the way to Lumbini
Lunch time and the bus stop in the middle of a pass, not even a town but they had some huts up and served as a restaurant. They serve Dhalbat …. Lovely but then I remembered the windy road and limited my consumption to manageable level.
Road from Pokhara to Lumbini

We pass by the town Bhairahawa which was the town near Sunauli the border crossing between India and Nepal. I took note of the place for I would be back a few days later to do that crossing. Lumbini was another 30km away …. A single street simple and very isolated, it was not bombarded with pilgrims as I expected it too.

Lumbini Town
The signs of an active tourist site was there, plenty of guesthouse, restaurant and a little trinket shops selling Buddha statue and charms. Still it was not as bustling touristy as I imagine. If you would to walk into one of the many scattered village around Nepal where barely any tourist visit then this street in Lumbini was just like that only they had Guesthouses and some restaurant for they had a trickle amount of tourist visiting once a while.

A walk into the Lumbini Garden
The birth place of Buddha was a UNESCO heritage site and a very large garden filled with temple and monastery was place in it. The actual town Lumbini was the street outside of this garden.
I checked in a guesthouse for 400 rupee a night, privet with a large bed to myself. Only issue is that you sleep whenever you can …. When there is power that is. Power cuts seems to be common for the 4 days I was there and one really need the fan to be working to sleep.
The only other tourist I could identify on the bus was a white couple and a group of three guys backpacking. The very next morning I could see them leaving Lumbini.

The Mahadevi temple was a new building built over the ancient temple site which dates backs to 3 or 4 B.C and one could visit with a donation of 200 rupee. Leave shoes outside and a guy would take care of it for you for 5 ruppee. Walking around one will notice all the Bodhi tree which was around the garden.

Manmade garden so not so sure if this was how it actually look like when Buddha was born. Inside the temple there is a marker stone which marks the precise spot where Buddha was born and above a very old and vague stone carving of Mahadevi, Buddha’s mother.
Mahadevi Temple - Lumbini

Did I feel anything ….. nope …. But it was still worth a visit in my opinion to just see the place.

The next day I decided to take the local bus and visit the ancient city of Kapalivastu. Ancient city was no more but Kapalivastu was still there and it was a small town with many narrow winding streets that one could easily get lost inside. Smack in the middle is an orange temple which is overcrowded, obviously very old since the structure looks nothing like the buildings around it and it protrudes out higher than any of them.

Kapalivastu Town

The ruin sites or archaeological sites of the ancient kingdom where Siddhartha grew up as a prince was scattered around Kapalivastu but the closest one was a 5km walk away and I had no idea which direction. After taking a super long bus ride and melting in the heat I decided just visiting the town and walking around for an hour was enough and I headed back to Lumbini to rest.

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