Just an hour north of the Indian border, the nondescript town of Lumbini, Nepal is famous for being the birthplace of the Buddha. We decided to stop here for a few days on our way to Pokhara.
We arrived hot and exhausted after 36 hours of travel. We settled into Lumbini Village Lodge to find out that Nepal is experiencing a power shortage. Because of low rainfall, the hydroelectric power was only available a few hours a day. The rolling outages meant only a few hours of power during the day and a few again at night. Hotels and restaurants had batteries which meant a few lights would turn on and the meager WiFi worked all day. But the fans only worked when the power was on.
We attempted to rest in the hot, breezeless rooms, which luckily cooled down some at night. The next day, still tired and not quite recovered from the traveler’s sickness we got in Agra, we rented bikes to ride around the temples and monuments.
Let’s just say, most of us weren’t thrilled to be on bikes, but it turned out we only rode across the street before we had to park the bikes outside the complex.
Inside we saw Mayadevi, our first Nepalese Buddhist Temple complete with Buddha’s eyes on the top of the stupa.
A white rectangular building housed the spot marking the birthplace of Buddha. We entered and walked around a display of rocks and carvings. Upon entering I hadn’t realized what the building was and almost walked passed the area in the center of the building where several people were crowded around a display.
They were placing gold leaf on the rock representing the place where the Buddha was born. A carving of a mother and child hung over the rock.
We attempted to use our bikes to ride around the rest of the complex to see the peace flame and the other temples, but the poor maps led us nowhere, so we gave up.
Later in the afternoon with a better map, Rand and I took the bikes back out, but the temples were closed.
I can’t say we had a great time in Lumbini, but it was interesting to see the Buddha’s place of birth.