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Overview

Gautama Sidhhartha — the man who would one day become the Buddha — was born a prince in the kingdom of Kapilavastu in the 5th century BC, but the location was lost for centuries, until archaeologists stumbled across the ruins in 1895. Today, Lumbini is once again a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from across the globe, with a string of gleaming monasteries erected by devotees from as far afield as Tibet, Thailand and America. Surrounding the ancient ruined Maya Devi temple, positively identified as the birthplace of the Buddha, the monastic compound is a fascinating mishmash of architectural styles, from Chinese pagodas to Burmese stupas and ...

Gautama Sidhhartha — the man who would one day become the Buddha — was born a prince in the kingdom of Kapilavastu in the 5th century BC, but the location was lost for centuries, until archaeologists stumbled across the ruins in 1895. Today, Lumbini is once again a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from across the globe, with a string of gleaming monasteries erected by devotees from as far afield as Tibet, Thailand and America. Surrounding the ancient ruined Maya Devi temple, positively identified as the birthplace of the Buddha, the monastic compound is a fascinating mishmash of architectural styles, from Chinese pagodas to Burmese stupas and Tibetan chortens. The expanding Monastic Zone sprawls for miles and a rented bicycle is the best way to explore. There are hotels and guesthouses in Lumbini Bazaar but the most atmospheric way to visit is to arrange a stay at one of the monasteries. From Lumbini, you can detour to the ruins of Tilaurakot, where the Buddha was raised as a prince before stepping outside the palace gates and discovering the harsh realities of life that inspired the core principles of Buddhism.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    February to May or October to November. Avoid the rain-soaked monsoon months from June to September.