Lumbini Nepal – The Birth place of Buddha

Home » Nepal » Lumbini Nepal – The Birth place of Buddha

This post may contain affiliate links.

Lumbini Nepal is the birth place of Lord Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Today you can still see ruins and the exact place of his birth marked and enclosed by a temple. The tank next to the Maya Devi temple is said to be where his mother bathed before delivering the miraculous baby, born walking and talking. Visiting Lumbini was worth it for us but it is not easy. Read about the difficulties of visiting Lumbini and what The Peace Park and Lumbini itself is like.

Lumbini Nepal. The place of Buddha's birth. Maya Devi Temple and the pond she bathed in before giving birth to Siddhartha Gautama
Lumbini Nepal. The place of Buddha’s birth. Maya Devi Temple and the pond she bathed in before giving birth to Siddhartha Gautama

Lumbini Nepal

The birth site in Lumbini is celebrated with an international peace park. A large rectangular plot where no construction is allowed other than places of religious significance.

Those places of religious significance, built by a multitude of nations, are rather spectacular. We have photos in this post.

The Myanmar Gold Stupa inside the Peace Park at Lumbini Nepal
The Myanmar Gold Stupa inside the Peace Park at Lumbini Nepal. My son, then 12 years old, we took both kids to Lumbini as a final part of their learning about Buddhist history. It was a long hot day even touring by tuk tuk and very small kids may struggle.

Lumbini is just one of the places that make Nepal so fascinating and diverse. HOWEVER, visiting Lumbini is no walk in the park.

Our short video of Lumbini and some of the amazing buildings within the Lumbini complex should play for you.

Where is Lumbini Nepal?

Lumbini buddha gardens
Some of the gardens at Lumbini are very beautiful.

Lumbini is in southwest Nepal, to the southwest of Kathmandu and the southeast of Pokhara in the Terai region. Lumbini province has borders with India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are to the south. Lumbini Province has a capital city, Deukhuri, which is in the middle of the Province, however Butwal and Siddharthanagar are more major cities. The closest airport to the Lumbini Heritage Site is Gautam Buddha Airport (BWA / VNBW). This airport is in Bhairawaha and an internal flight from Kathmandu (Tribhuvan Airport) should only be about 30 mins. Bhairawaha is only 270 km by road from Kathmandu.

At the time of writing, there were no international flights to this airport but there is talk of opening an international terminal near Lumbini.

Gautam Buddha Airport is then about a 15 min drive to the Lumbini Heritage site.

The bus journey from Kathmandu to Lumbini takes seven hours or more. You can book a “Luxury Tourist Bus” for this trip here. This is a much easier way to book than finding an honest agent!

If you’re travelling from Gorakhpur you can book a day trip to Lumbini, by bus here. This is your best option for getting to Lumbini from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and most major flight hubs in India, Gorakpur airport has good connections.

The nearest border crossing from India is at Sunauli, and it’s easy to make that journey from Gorakhpur and Varanasi. We have actually taken this bus route into India from Nepal, perched on the rook of the bus. It wasn’t luxury! We then had a night in Gorakhpur before travelling on to Varanasi. This is one of the best hotels in Gorakhpur, they are all very affordable.

Lumbini, Best Hotels

You’ll want to find a hotel close to the Lumbini World Heritage Site. This site is huge and you’ll likely need at least a full day to explore or make your pilgrimage. Hotel options nearby are quite limited,

The most luxurious 5 star hotel is perfectly located, near the Buddhist University and Peace Park. It even has a swimming pool. Take a look at the Pawan Palace for a comfortable hotel stay. It is very affordable

Family Rooms near Lumbini are quite hard to find but this hotel does have triples. We had to take 2 twin rooms for our stay as a family.

The Lumbini Palace Resort does have family suites, but again, they seem to be triples. This hotel is a little further from the Pilgrimage site and at time of writing was a lot more expensive.

We used a budget hotel in Lumbini and it was bad. We’d suggest you spend a bit more if you want any level of comfort.

Who Was Siddharta Gautama?

birthplace of buddha in lumbini
This white building contains the actual birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini. No photography is allowed inside, but it’s quite special.

The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, Gautama Buddha was born in modern Nepal in 623 B.C.. He was the son of a king or chief, a prince. His parents may not have been a king and queen, but they are named as King Suddhodhana and Queen Maya Devi.

Queen Maya Devi, Lord Buddha’s mother was away from home at the time of his birth. She was travelling towards her family home in Rangram in Nepal’s Nawalparasi district.

When she felt that her baby was about to be born she bathed in a sacred pond in Lumbini and walked 25 paces into the trees to give birth.

Gautama grew up in luxury inside his father’s palace, shielded from the realities of the outside world. He took a wife and was father to a son but he wanted to see the world outside the palace walls.

He escaped to the streets of Kapilavastu, where he encountered a sick man, an old man, and a corpse being carried to the funeral pyres.

This was when his eyes were opened to the realities of sickness, suffering, old age, and death.

Moments later he met a wandering ascetic, a typical Hindu sadhu.  He needed to find a solution to human suffering, so he cut his hair, swapped his royal finery for sadhu’s robes and set out into the forest. He was on his way to establishing modern Buddhism and finding enlightenment.

But Wasn’t Buddha Born in India?

This is widely agreed by scholars that the Buddha was born in Lumbini but others claim the Buddha was born in India.

UNESCO list Lumbini Nepal as Buddha’s birthplace and the Indian government officially state that Buddha was born in Nepal.

How to Get to Lumbini, Nepal?

If you’re not comfortable with solo or independent travel, it’s possible to book a tour of Nepal that includes Lumbini. You can do this before you even touch down in Kathmandu. Take a look at those tours here.

I’ll tell you that booking tours in Kathmandu will test your patience. There is no such thing as a fixed price and every tout and agent will try to squeeze you for extra cash. Know that you’ll have to shop around and beat them down on price. Also be very careful with the quality of hotels, buses and jeeps.

You can get to Lumbini by bus from Kathmandu or Pokhara. We crossed to Lumbini from Chitwan.

Chitwan to Lumbini took 6 hours. There was one tourist bus per day which left at 9 am.

Lumbini to Pokhara took took 8 hours. There were two buses, a super delux that left early, our tourist bus left at 7am. This was a much better journey than the Chitwan ride.

It’s possible to hire a private driver and vehicle in Nepal.

You can also get to Lumbini by flying part of the way. Butwal Airport (Gautam Buddha Airport) isn’t too far away and there are a lot of internal flights in Nepal. We’ve flown to and from the Everest region many times, but generally we take buses when travelling in Nepal. To us the buses feel safer than jeeps, but it’s your call.  From Buttwall Airport you’ll need to catch a bus, jeep or taxi.

Where to Stay and Where to Eat in Lumbini?

The hotel we stayed in (opens in new window) wasn’t so great. We booked 2 double rooms with en-suite and had breakfast included for around $50.

The rooms were OK, but we had terrible problems with mosquitos and bugs on our first night.

I think the rooms had been left open by previous guests or staff and the bugs were just waiting for us to arrive. We were bitten to death throughout the night despite the rooms being fully screened and our best efforts to not let any in.

We often travel with a can of bug killer. On this occasion we didn’t have any and really wished we did.

The next morning the hotel manager got us a can of spray and we nuked the rooms, it was OK after that but we all had dozens of bites and that’s not good in an area with a slight malaria risk. The southern, flat Terai, unlike most of Nepal, does have a very slight risk particularly during monsoon periods.

No foreign visitor to Lumbini has ever contracted malaria, according to reports we found, but do check with your medical advisor.

Otherwise the Siddharta Guest House (opens in new tab) was OK although I wouldn’t in any way recommend the food.

The location was fine, it’s on the corner or the large rectangular plot that houses the Lumbini Peace Gardens complex. We could walk up to the bus stop and very small main street. A bicycle rickshaw took us there from “town” for just cents, although we tipped our cyclist well, he was a sweet old guy.

We felt safe at the hotel and the balcony and rooftop were pleasant. Staff were helpful but inexperienced.

The only place in Lumbhini that we’d recommend for food is the air conditioned, glassed in restaurant on the main street, it’s called  G and G Cafe and Restaurant and the food was OK. We had Nepali food and Indian.  The air-conditioning didn’t work too well but it was a lot better than nothing or eating outside with the millions of flies.

Lumbini Nepal, How to Visit Buddha’s BirthPlace

Getting around Lumbini Nepal Tuk Tuk costs
Getting around Lumbini Nepal. A Tuk Tuk costs roughly $20. They told us it was fixed price and we were visiting at a cheap time of year. Yes, that’s expensive. Very expensive for a tuk tuk and driver for a few hours and we may have paid too much. But does it matter? We had a great day, our driver had a great day. Win win.

The Maya Devi temple, the holy pond and the pillar erected by the Emperor Ashoka are in the heart of this large rectangular plot, the Peace Park.

In this area numerous temples and stupas stand, erected by many nations around the world to honour Lord Buddha.

You will be dazzled by their beauty, don’t miss Myanmar’s Golden Temple, Thailand’s white marble Royal Thai Buddhist Monastery, Vietnam’s Phat Quoc Tu Temple and Germany’s Lotus Stupa . But there are many more and still more under construction.

You should also take a look at the Tibetan temple, this one stands alone, outside the perimiter and to me was the most special. I have a lot of love for Tibet.

To tour the park you will either need to walk, hire a bicycle or take a tuk tuk and driver for the day. The park is big and hot, we’d strongly recommend you pay the $20 and take the tuk tuk. The price is fixed, they all charge the same.

Around Lumbini town, outside the park, you’ll also find cycle rickshaws, these are cheaper and I got the impression that they weren’t allowed inside the park, but I could be wrong.

Lumbini’s Maya Devi Temple

Lumbini Nepal. Where Buddha was born.
The pond outside the Maya Devi Temple. Siddhartha Gautama’s mother, Queen Maya Devi bathed here. I love that my kids have been here.

You have to pay to enter the compound of the Maya Devi Temple. You will need to remove your shoes, be properly dressed and pass through a security search.

Once inside visitors can enter the Maya Devi Temple itself, no photography is allowed inside, but let me just tell you not to even think of skipping this part because of the admission fee. Being at the birthplace of Lord Buddha, seeing the devotion of the pilgrims around you and feeling the power of this place is an experience not to be missed.

Outside you can walk around the pond, rest in the shade of the sacred bo trees and see Ashoka’s pillar.

The Indian Emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini in 249 BC and left tributes to Buddha, There are four stupas and a stone pillar. Ashoka’s pillar is directly outside the Maya Devi Temple.

In April or May, during the first full month of Vaisakh, the Buddha Jayanti festival brings thousands of pilgrims here to commemorate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death.

Is it Worth the Trip from Pokhara, Kathmandu or Chitwan, or Even from India to Lumbini?

Visiting the birth place of Lord Buddha Lumbini Nepal

It depends how much a trip to Buddha’s birthplace means to you.

We really wanted to go and we’re very glad we did but the terrible roads, bad buses and bad conditions in Lumbini made this a challenging trip. This is pretty full-on travel.

You will see very few other western tourists and stand out like a sore thumb among the Nepalis and Indians.

The roads to and from Lumbini were in particularly bad condition and the bus from Chitwan to Lumbini was the worst of our 3 months in Nepal, so yes, it was a mission to get there.

When we were in Lumbini, as well as digging up the roads, they were digging up the sewers and this didn’t positively contribute to our experience. There were a lot of flies and bad smells.

None of us got sick but we’re a pretty tough bunch after spending years travelling in this part of the world, months in Nepal and India. Lumbini certainly felt more like India than Nepal and is no distance from the Indian border.

Our time in Chitwan was fantastic and we extended our stay there, but Lumbini, well, we were glad to leave and head back to comfortable Pokhara. We hope our Lumbini travel blog was useful to you, we think that if you’re interested, yes, you should visit Lumbini, it’s worth it.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

11 thoughts on “Lumbini Nepal – The Birth place of Buddha”

  1. Hi Alyson.
    Thanks for this wonderful blog. I wish to know whether tuk tuk is allowed in Peace Park area? and What is seating capacity of the tuk tuk?

    • Yes, they take you around the whole Peace Park area, its too far to walk. Can you see the photos of the tuk tuks on the page? They’re all different. I’d guess 4, my family is 4 and we fitted in one.

  2. Another wonderful perspective of the truly rich gifts that may be found through life’s simplest journeys. Perhaps could it be that poverty awakens an awareness of the beauty and wonders of simplicity when contrasted by the presence of capitalistic gate keepers that monetize all aspects of life I hope your continuing travels bring your great exploration, peace of heart, and a few moments to simply enjoy .

  3. Thanks Alyson for sharing your experience with us. Lumbini is a must-visit place for every Buddhist. Besides Lumbini, there are other sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal that every tourist should visit. Please do keep sharing your experiences as I will be looking forward to reading your blog.

  4. Lumbini, Nepal is the birthplace of the Buddha and has beautiful Buddhist monasteries. I really loved to visit here. I have also seen Buddhist Tour in India which is quite interesting

  5. yes, very useful and informative description about Gautama Buddha and for those who are planning to visit Lumbini. Actually its a must-visit place for every Buddhist as Lumbini being the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism.Besides there are other 3 scared places in India that every Buddhist should visit once in their lifetime visiting Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. All these scared places of Buddhist tourists are of equally important in their own way.

  6. Thanks Alyson for this great information . As a family we are planing for a Nepal trip by mid of this year. I’m pretty sure this article will help us. I really wish to visit Lumbini. Thanks again for sharing this excellent article .

  7. Lumbini-
    Siddhartha Gautam was born in 623 BC in the Lumbini gardens. Emperor Asoka erected a commemorative pillar in the name of Lord Buddha and now the site is being constructed as a pilgrimage site.
    The main points of attraction in Lumbini are the Maya Devi temple, Marker stone, the Nativity sculpture, Puskarni the Holy Pond.
    The Maya Devi temple-The heart of all the monuments in this Holy site, it is one of the most beautiful temples in this area. There are various layers of construction here and is one of the most visited temples here. There is also a birth spot of Lord Buddha in this temple.
    Marker Stone-The Market stone marks the birthplace of the Buddha and is situated in the temple itself. It was found after a meticulous examination of the temple and is one of the important places in Lumbini.
    Nativity sculpture-It has the story of the Mahadevi temple depicted in a sculpture form and is very beautiful carving. It also has Lord Buddha sitting on a lotus pedestal.
    Pushkarni Pond-Close by to the Ashoka pillar, there is the Pushkarni Pillar and this is the place where Lord Buddha had his first bath before purification.


Leave a comment