LUMBINI BIRTHPLACE OF BUDDHA

One of the world’s most important spiritual sites is home to the historic birthplace of the Buddha. you can visit over 25 international Buddhist monasteries, study Buddhism, meditation and visit Buddha’s birthplace itself within the sacred Mayadevi Gardens!

Lumbini in Nepal

Mayadevi Temple is one of the important sites in the Lumbini Garden with many historians and archaeologists referring to it as the place of birth of Lord Buddha. Inscriptions on the Ashoka Pillar also refers the spot as his birthplace. It is said that here the newly born Prince took his first seven steps and gave a peace message to humanity.

This happened in the beautiful Sal grove, which is now the focal point of the Lumbini Garden. Mayadevi, the Queen of Shakya King Suddhodhana of Kapilvastu, while passing through the Lumbini Garden, on the day of  Baishakha Purnima (full moon day of May in 623 BC) took a bath in the Pushkarini (the Sacred Pond) and soon after she took support of a tree branch, and gave birth to the Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha.

Visit beautiful monasteries built by different Buddhist countries like China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Germany and observe the different architecture and prayer areas. Soak up the peaceful atmosphere and above all  visit the Mayadevi Temple which dates back to 2,200 years, which archaeological evidence proclaim as the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam or Lord Buddha in 623 BC.

You can walk around the garden or find a peaceful meditative spot to contemplate. The focal point for pilgrims is a sandstone carving depicting the birth of the Buddha, reputedly left here by the Malla King Ripu Malla, in the 14th century, when Mayadevi was worshipped as an incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess. Another main attraction is the Ashokan Pillar, which was built by the great Indian Emperor Ashoka while visiting the birthplace of Buddha back in 249 BC.

One can visit the Panditarama Vipassana Center for some yoga and meditation and interact with the monks, who live in the vicinity of the monasteries, devoting their time to balancing the environment with religious worship.

The Lumbini Garden covers an area of 2.56 sq km or 1 x 3 sq miles and encompasses three zones each covering one square mile connected with walkways and a canal. The area has sub tropical monsoon climate with warm wet season.

If you are planning on traveling to exotic places in South Asia looking to find some Nirvana, then do not miss Lumbini in Nepal.

 

copied from Discover Nepal

Boudhanath stupa, kathmandu

Boudhanath Stupa (or Bodnath Stupa) is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It is the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. The stupa is located in the town of Boudha, on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu.

History of Boudhanath Stupa

Bodnath was probably built in the 14th century after the Mughal invasions; various interesting legends are told regarding the reasons for its construction. After the arrival of thousands of Tibetans following the 1959 Chinese invasion, the temple has become one of the most important centers of Tibetan Buddhism. Today it remains an important place of pilgrimage and meditation for Tibetan Buddhists and local Nepalis, as well as a popular tourist site.

What to See at Boudhanath Stupa

From above, Bodnath Stupa looks like a giant mandala, or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. And as in all Tibetan mandalas, four of the Dhyani Buddhas mark the cardinal points, with the fifth, Vairocana, enshrined in the center (in the white hemisphere of the stupa). The five Buddhas also personify the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), which are represented in the stupa’s architecture.

There are other symbolic numbers here as well: the nine levels of Boudhanath Stupa represent the mythical Mt. Meru, center of the cosmos; and the 13 rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolize the path to enlightenment, or “Bodhi” — hence the stupa’s name.

At the bottom, the stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall, with frescoes in the niches. In addition to the Five Dhyani Buddhas, Boudhanath Stupa is closely associated with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara(Padmapani), whose 108 forms are depicted in sculptures around the base. The mantra of Avalokiteshvara – Om Mani Padme Hum – is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara around the base of the stupa.

The base of the stupa consists of three large platforms, decreasing in size. These platforms symbolize Earth, and here you can look out at the mountains while listening to the chants of the devout doing kora, walking around the stupa praying.

Next come two circular plinths supporting the hemisphere of the stupa, symbolizing water. As at Swayabunath, Bodnath is topped with a square tower bearing the omnipresent Buddha eyes on all four sides.

Instead of a nose is a question-mark-type symbol that is actually the Nepali character for the number 1, symbolizing unity and the one way to reach enlightenment—through the Buddha’s teachings. Above this is the third eye, symbolizing the wisdom of the Buddha.

The square tower is topped by a pyramid with 13 steps, representing the ladder to enlightenment. The triangular shape is the abstract form for the element of fire. At the top of the tower is a gilded canopy, the embodiment of air, with above it a gilded spire, symbolic of ether and the Buddha Vairocana. Prayer flags tied to the stupa flutter in the wind, carrying mantras and prayers heavenward.

The main entrance to the upper platform of Bodnath Stupa is on the north side. Here Amoghasiddhi, progenitor of the future Buddha, presides. Below Amoghasiddhi is the Buddha Maitreya, the future Buddha.

Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are streets and narrow alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors.

           copied from  ” sacred Destinations”