Being the birthplace of Lord Buddha himself, Lumbini is considered as the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Buddhism. Lumbini is the home of many Nepalese Buddhists and is considered as the center of Nepali Buddhism, Newar Buddhism, and Buddhism in Tibet. Lumbini is located in the Rupandehi District of Nepal, and according to the Buddhist history and ancient scriptures, is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth of Gautama Buddha in 563 BCE. The most interesting facts about Gautama Buddha is that major events that occurred in the life of Gautama Buddha in the most important Buddhist pilgrimages sites happened under the trees. Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Lord Buddha under the tree. Lord Buddha attained Nirvana under the Bodhi tree and gave his first preaching under the tree. And Lord Buddha attained Parinirvana (Death of Buddha) under the tree too.
Lumbini is declared as the UNESCO World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 1997, being the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal and other three being Kushinagar, Sarnath and Bodh gaya. Lumbini is the home to number of Buddhist temples, monasteries, several sculptures i.e. Nepal Tibet Buddha statues, Buddha images, stupa, monuments, and museum too. Mayadevi Temple is one of the most important and most famous Buddhist temples in Lumbini carrying thousands of years of history of young Prince Siddhartha and his return after attaining Enlightenment.
Buddha childhood was spent in Lumbini and his marriage and choosing of ascetic life too occurred in Lumbini. Lord Buddha was born in the tree that lies between Lumbini and Devadaha which lies in the land of Nepal in 6th Century BCE. There are some theories about the labor of Queen Mayadevi during the birth of Buddha. Some scholar states that the Queen hold the branch of tree due to the labor pains while some scholar states that Prince Siddhartha was born without any labor and Queen hold the branch of the trees since she was tired of her journey from Shakya palace to her homeland. Lord Buddha spend his childhood under the four walls of the royal Shakya palace but after seeing the four states of life, Lord Buddha left the palace and chose the ascetic life. The only time Lord Buddha visited Lumbini was his journey to Lumbini when Rahula was a child and that was when Rahula was ordained. Rahula became one of the important Buddhist disciples and was one of the top ten disciples of Buddha though Rahula died in early age.
It is said that Lumbini was not discovered until 1896 by Nepali archeologists and it was due to the discovery of Ashoka Pillar at Lumbini. The pillar that was constructed under the campaign led by Ashoka Emperor marks the spot of his visit to Lumbini as the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Recent discovery found the ancient Buddhist shrines under the Mayadevi Temple and has been the topic of debate about the real date of birth of Buddha in Lumbini.
Buddhist Festival in Lumbini
One of the important Buddhist festival that take place in Lumbini is Buddha Jayanti i.e. Buddha Purnima. In this day many Buddhist such as Tibetan Buddhist from Tibet, Newar Buddhist and other Buddhist from other countries gather in Lumbini and show special kindness to animals such as set the caged bird free and also meditate and practice various Buddhist rituals which are somewhat related to Buddhist practices in Tibet. In this day, Nepali people eat Rice pudding and didn't take part in eating meat or alcoholic drinks. Aside from Lumbini, Nepali people also take part in various events that take place in other Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal i.e. Swayambhunath temple, and Boudhanath Temple.