Lumbini:In the plain south of the first foothill of the
Churia range, lies Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama, the Buddha. Lumbini
is asacred placefor Buddhistsfrom all over the world, standing on
an equal footing with holy places sacred to other world religions.
A veteran Asian traveller and author of several books writes, 'As
millions of Christians look to Jerusalem for inspiration, as millions
of Muslims turn to Mecca, so do three hundred million Buddhists
see in the sacred Kingdom of Nepal, a pillar left by the great Emperor
Ashoka to mark the site where Buddha was born.
Ashokan Pillar: The Ashokan Pillar-In
1895, a German archaeologist, white wandering about the foothills
of the Churia range, discovered a massive stone pillar erected by
Emperor Ashoka in 250 B.C. to pay homage to the birth place of Buddha.
It is said that the Indian Emperor visited Lumbini Garden in the
twentieth year of his coronation.
stone pillar bears the following inscription:
King Piyadasi, beloved of the gods, having been anointed twenty
years, came himself and worshipped saying: "Here Buddha Sakyamuni
was born. He caused a stone pillar to be erected, because the worshipful
one was born here. The village of Lumbini has been made free of
taxes and a recipient of wealth.' (translated from Brahrni.)
The Temple of Maya
Devi-The next visible monument in Lumbini is the temple
of Maya Devi containing a stone relief depicting the birth scene
of Lord Buddha. The bas-relief shows Maya Devi supporting herself
by holding on to a branch of a sal tree, and the newborn infant
Buddha standing upright on a lotus pedestal. Two celestial figures
are engaged in the act of pouring water and lotuses from the heaven,
indicated in the sculpture by a delineation of clouds. The Maya
Devi shrine has been worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists since
the beginning of the Christian era and is believed to have been
built over the foundation of at least one earlier temple or stupa.
To the South of the Maya Devi temple is the famous sacred pool of
'Puskarani', believed to be the same sacred pool in which queen
Maya Devi bathed just before giving birth to Buddha. It is also
belived to be the same sacred pool in which queen Maya Devi bathed
just before giving birth to Buddha. It is also believe to be the
pool where the infant Buddha was given his first purification bath.
The structure consists of three projecting terraces in descending
order and is rivetted with fine brick masonry.