Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini, Nepal.
The Prime Minister had visited the birth place of Buddha along with his Nepalese counterpart on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti.
Lumbini is located in Rupandehi district of Nepal’s Lumbini province. It is believed to be the birth-place of Siddhartha.
Siddhartha was the prince of Shakya clan, who later came to be known as Gautama Buddha after gaining enlightenment.
Lumbini complex also contains the famous Mayadevi temple, which is dedicated to The Buddha’s mother.
Birth of Buddha
Buddha was born as Siddhartha to King Suddhodana and Queen Mayadevi. He was brought up by his aunt Gautami.
He was shielded from all sorrow of the world as he was destined to become a great king if he embraced royal life.
Once on a visit out of the palace, he witnessed an old man, a sick person, a corpse, and an ascetic, which moved him deeply.
He decided to find answers to the questions of life. He went out of his palace, leaving behind his wife and newborn son.
Gautama began meditating under a Bodhi tree in Gaya. On the 49th day of continuous meditation, he is said to have achieved Enlightenment. He came to be known as Buddha.
Famous Buddhist sites
Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Saranath and Kushinagar were important sites associated with the life of Buddha.
Lumbini was where he was born; he attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Saranath and attained Mahaparinirvana in Kushinagar.
Historical accounts of Lumbini
Travel accounts of Chinese monks Faxian (Fa-Hien) and Xuanzang (Huien Tsang), who visisted Lumbini, were used by historians to locate the place.
After Asoka converted to Buddhism, he visited the place in 249 BC and built a large temple-like structure over the birthplace of Buddha.
A sandstone inscribed pillar was erected to mark the location of birth. The inscription is in brahmi script.
Lumbini remained hidden for many centuries, until it was rediscovered in 1896, and excavations were conducted at the site.