Lumbini

Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal.,. It is sometimes claimed to be the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 623 and 543 BCE. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya and Sarnath.

Lumbini was where the Buddha lived until the age of 29 Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. Also located here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath, as well as the remains of Kapilvastu palace. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form.

In the Buddha's time, Lumbini was situated between Kapilavastu and Devadaha Nepal. It was there that the Buddha was born. A pillar now marks the spot of Asoka's visit to Lumbiní. According to an inscription on the pillar, it was placed there by the people then in charge of the park to commemorate Asoka's visit and gifts. The park was previously known as Rummindei, two miles north of Bhagavanpura.

In the Sutta Nipáta (vs. 683) it is stated that the Buddha was born in a village of the Sákyans in the Lumbineyya Janapada. The Buddha stayed in Lumbinívana during his visit to Devadaha and there preached the Devadaha Sutta.

Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala).

The place-name, Bodh Gaya, did not come into use until the 18th century CE. Historically, it was known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi. The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called the Bodhimanda - vihāra (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The surrounding town, by contrast, is dusty and somewhat noisy. A new development plan has been proposed to "ensure a sustainable and prosperous future" for Bodh Gaya, but has become controversial because such a plan may require the relocation of whole neighborhoods.

In 249 BCE, the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Dynasty made a pilgrimage to the place and erected a pillar bearing inscriptions stating that the Lord Buddha Shakyamuni was born there. The site was visited by many pilgrims, including the Chinese monks Fa Xian (Fa-Hsien) in 5th century and Xuan Zang ( Hsuan Tsang) in 7th century C.E. They wrote precious notes and travel journals about their experiences in Lumbini, which are still a great source of information and inspiration for historians and archaeologists. By the 14th century, for socio-political reasons, this sacred place was forgotten, located as it then was in wilderness surrounding remote villages.