(71) To Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Buddha

lumbini Third Indian Expedition - Journey to Places Related to Buddha

Travels to Buddhist sites in India and Sri Lanka (71)
To Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini, Nepal, birthplace of Buddha

Gion Seisha is one of the places where the Buddha spent the longest time in his life. After visiting this holy place that is familiar to Japanese, my next destination is Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. Finally, I cross the border into Nepal.

We had a long day ahead of us, so we were supposed to leave early, but when we looked out the window, we were surprised. It was extremely foggy.

North India is notorious for its thick fog, but that should have been in December and January. Now it is already the middle of February. This was a bit of a shock. Our guide was puzzled, saying that this was unusual. It would be dangerous to drive the car. We had to delay our departure time.

You may be wondering, "Fog is so bad that I can't drive?" But please remember that we are in India, not Japan.

What if there is no visibility in those chaotic road conditions? This is India, where people drive regardless of lanes. Moreover, many rural roads are narrow with no lanes to begin with. A collision could happen at the first sight of a car. When you think about it, you can see the horror of this fog.

However, walking through the fog, I certainly felt not only fear but also a mystical atmosphere. Perhaps influenced by this mystical atmosphere, I thought to myself, "If Buddha is a charismatic figure and the only great man in 2,500 years, it would not be surprising if he could fly and use his supernatural powers at will. I have been in a mystical mood lately. This may be due to the influence of India, where anything is possible.

Now, today's destination, Lumbini, Nepal, is more than five hours away. If you look at the map, you can see how close it is to Shawei Castle. The straight line distance is about 140 kilometers. The reason why it takes 5 hours to reach Lumbini is that we had to make a detour to enter Nepal. And we had to make a detour to enter Nepal.

The fog lifted a bit, so we set off. As we left the country road and entered the main road, we got stuck in a traffic jam. What was the traffic jam about? Was the road blocked by an accident?

I was in a hurry, but it was nothing to worry about. It was a traffic jam waiting for a railroad crossing. But even so, it was long. We were making no progress at all. Then the guide asked me, "Shall we go see the railroad crossing? I got out of the car and walked to the railroad crossing with the guide. That is the picture above.

It's one hell of a motorcycle traffic jam. I couldn't help but laugh and wonder what would happen when the railroad crossing opened. The pressure was tremendous. Motorcycles and cars were rushing in, "on their own," to fill the entire width of the road. And this was coming from both directions, which was irresistible.

Finally, the train arrived. It was an old train car, typical of India. The train was so long that it was hard to tell how many cars were in the train. It was no wonder that such a long train would make a level crossing.

We hurried back to the car as the crossing was about to open. To our surprise, we were able to pass through the crossing without any confusion. The chaos I had imagined earlier did not seem to have occurred. No, we were Indians. They must have overcome the chaos with great skill.

After a while, the fog lifted. We must have passed through the foggy area. We drove on, admiring the familiar rural scenery.

Now, we finally arrive near the Nepalese border.

The entry area is circled in black. It is obvious at a glance that we have to take a very long way to Lumbini.

After completing the exit formalities on the Indian side, we get out of the car and our baggage is inspected at the border. After that, we had to complete a kind of further registration, and then walked back to the Nepalese side to go through immigration. Since the car had to go through passport control, we were separated from the driver for a while. The photo above shows the scenery on the way to the immigration checkpoint on the Nepalese side.

Perhaps it was the exhaust fumes and the dry season, but the air was crisp and my throat was irritated. I still do not feel that I have entered Nepal, but I am already inside the Nepalese border. The procedure for entering and exiting India took longer than expected, and I was getting tired.

Near Lumbini

Let us now head for Lumbini. Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal in 463 B.C. as Gautama Siddhartha, a prince of the Shaka tribe. Buddha's father was Sudhana (joubonnnouJomon-On-One (classical Chinese dictionary arranged by rhyme, displaying the classical properties of different pronunciations)He was the king of the tribe named Shaka, and his mother was MaYa (Mrs. MayaJapanese scull (oar attached to the rear of the boat by a traditional peg-in-hole oarlock)(see Figure 1).

The Shaka nation was a small country with a castle in Kapilavastu (Kapila Castle), less than an hour's drive west of Lumbini.

And it is said that this country was a rich country with a good harvest of rice, as indicated by the name of the king, King Jyohi.

The area around Kapilavastu is still mostly fields, where rice, wheat, beans, rape, and various vegetables are grown. This was evident from the view from the car window.

We will now look at Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, but before that, let us take a quick look at Buddha's birth.

It is said that when Buddha's mother Maya was pregnant, she saw a white elephant enter her in a dream. This is indeed a wonderful auspicious dream, as elephants were revered as bringers of happiness in India. It is also interesting to note that in India, elephants are not storks. And she was actually pregnant with Buddha.

It is interesting to note that there was a homecoming birth 2,500 years ago. She gave birth there and gave birth to Buddha.

The holy place is the Maya Devi temple in Lumbini, which we will visit.

Arrive at the entrance of the Maya Devi Temple.

The grounds of the Maya Devi temple are quite large. To be precise, this is not yet the site of the Maya Devi temple, but the area around the temple is divided into the temple area and park area for each country, and cars are not allowed there. Therefore, we had to walk quite a distance.

There is a large pond inside, and the atmosphere here is peaceful and relaxing. It is pleasant just to take a walk.

After walking for about 20 minutes, we finally arrived at the Maya Devi Temple. The white building on the left is the main hall of the Maya Devi Temple, the holy birthplace of Buddha.

The King Asoka Pillar stands in front of the Maya Devi Temple. As I mentioned in Sankasha, the inscription on this pillar established as a historical fact that this is the sacred place of Buddha's birth. Without it, we would not have known where Buddha was born. The Maya Devi temple was also discovered in 1896 and rebuilt in 1939. The present building was further reconstructed in 2003.

Inscription on King Ashoka Pillar

Also, inside the Maya Devi temple, a marker stone is enshrined where Buddha is said to have been born and fallen, and worshippers can see it. Photography is not allowed inside the temple, so photos cannot be shown here, but looking down the circular glass at my feet from the aisle, I could see a gray rock less than a meter away.

The pond next to the temple is where Ma Ya is said to have bathed. Many monks and worshippers were meditating under a large tree that could be seen beyond it.

Overall, I was impressed by the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere here.

After visiting the Maya Devi temple, I decided to take a short walk around the national temple area as well.

As shown in the map here, Lumbini is now a huge sanctuary complex, with temples of various countries built on its vast grounds. The design was based on the "Lumbini Master Plan" that started in 1978 and was designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. (UNESCO)home page(more)

Myanmar Temple
Nepal Temple

I also visited several temples, including a Myanmar temple and a Nepalese temple. I could not see more due to time constraints, but it was very interesting to see the characteristics of each country. It was like a world exposition of Buddhism.

Lumbini is rapidly becoming a tourist destination, not only around the Maya Devi temple, but also in the town itself. An international airport is being built nearby, and roads are being constructed everywhere. Nepal is an economically poor country, but it seems that the government wants to turn it into a tourist destination in order to obtain foreign currency. As the demand for tourism is increasing worldwide, this kind of movement is also strong in the Buddhist sites in India. I was particularly impressed by the rapid increase in the number of pilgrims to Buddhist sites, especially from Thailand, which is experiencing remarkable economic development.

This is the statue of Buddha at the site. Although it is a new monument, Buddha walked seven steps after being born and chanted, "The world is above, the world is below, and I am one with you. This legend is still cherished today. (For more information about this, please seeThe Life of Buddha (Sakyamuni) as Seen in Local Photographs: (1) The Birth of Prince Siddhartha in Lumbini, Nepal!(See article in)

Lumbini at dusk was truly beautiful. I returned home feeling the peaceful and relaxed atmosphere of Nepal.

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