Lumbini is a major Buddhist site which represents the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. It is within the Nepal Terai, a subtropical chain of forests, marshes and grasslands, between the Indian border and Siawalik Range of the Himalayas. Lumbini has been described as the earliest Buddha shrine dating to c. 550 BCE.

The site was rediscovered accidentally in 1896 by Dr Fuhrer of the Archaeological Survey of India, and General Rana, the Governor of Palpa. It is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and further investigations have led to more monuments within the site being recorded and conserved.

Investigations of Lumbini have led archaeologists to believe that the development of Buddhism in to a global religion is represented through the temples development over time; changing from a  timber structure to an Asokan period temple and pillar complex. This also suggests that the Lord Buddha may have lived more than a century earlier than originally stated.

A short film by UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and UNDP Country Office in Nepal under the UNDP/UNESCO Lumbini Support Project.

Coningham, R.A.E., Acharya, K.P., Strickland, K.M., Davis, C.E., Manuel, M.J., Simpson, I.A., Gilliland, K., Tremblay, J., Kinnaird, T.C. & Sanderson, D.C.W. 2013, “The earliest Buddhist shrine: excavating the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini (Nepal)”, Antiquity, vol. 87, no. 338, pp. 1104-1123.
Oldest Buddhist Shrine Uncovered In Nepal May Push Back the Buddha’s Birth Date – National Geographic News


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