Religious Tourism Soars In Lumbini, Buddha's Birthplace

Located in the Southern Plains of Nepal, Lumbini is again drawing in crowds as religious tourism gains momentum with a significant influx of tourists from India
Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal
Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, NepalShutterstock

Tourists are returning to the Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, nestled in the Southern Plains of Nepal, is again drawing in crowds as religious tourism gains momentum.

Recent reports indicate a surge in visitors. In 2023, about 1.2 million people visited Lumbini. This year, the numbers are even more impressive, especially with a significant influx of tourists from India. In the first quarter alone, Lumbini welcomed around 70,000 Indian tourists. To break it down, 19,360 Indian tourists visited in January 2024, followed by 20,489 in February and 30,670 in March. This is a notable increase compared to 2023 when the total number of Indian visitors was 61,122.

Reports further suggest that it's not just Indian tourists making their way to Lumbini. The site, revered as the birthplace of the "Light of Asia," has also seen a substantial rise in visitors from other countries. In the first quarter of 2024, Lumbini hosted 11,668 tourists from Thailand, 8,986 from Sri Lanka, 6,915 from Myanmar, 2,155 from South Korea, and 2,419 from Vietnam. Most of these tourists crossed into Nepal through border checkpoints from India.

Lumbini is a must-visit for anyone interested in Buddhist history and culture. The Maya Devi Temple, which marks the exact spot where Buddha was born, is the centrepiece of this serene pilgrimage site. Surrounding the temple are ancient ruins and monasteries built by Buddhist communities worldwide, each showcasing unique architectural styles and traditions. The tranquil environment and the historical significance of Lumbini make it a profound destination for both spiritual seekers and history enthusiasts.

The Great Drigung Kagyud Lotus Stupa (German Temple) in Lumbini, Nepal.
The Great Drigung Kagyud Lotus Stupa (German Temple) in Lumbini, Nepal.Shutterstock

Besides the Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini boasts an array of monasteries and stupas built by Buddhist communities from various countries, each reflecting their unique cultural heritage and architectural styles. These monastic zones, spread across Lumbini's expansive grounds, provide a glimpse into the global diversity of Buddhist practices and traditions.

Visitors to Lumbini can explore the Sacred Garden, where archaeological remains dating back to the 3rd century BCE have been unearthed, confirming Lumbini's historical significance. The Ashoka Pillar, erected by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE and inscribed with his edicts related to Buddhism, stands as another testament to Lumbini's ancient roots.

(With inputs from multiple reports)

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