Idea #768 – Visiting the modern monastic complex of Lumbini in Nepal
In 1997, UNESCO, following in-depth studies, registered Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha, on the list of World Heritage. This important step has made it possible to work on the protection of the archaeological remains, and to meet the challenge of protecting and managing this site in the long term. The preservation and development of Lumbini – and other related sites – is important not only to Nepal, but also to Buddhist communities around the world.
The appointment by the United Nations of the famous Japanese architect Kenzo Tange as the prime contractor for the preservation and renovation of the site was a strategic turning point. Through its Lumbini Renovation Plan, approved by the United Nations and the government of Nepal in 1978, the site has thus benefited from extraordinary development.
The site, in its modern acceptance, consists of a very large area within which is a central area with a circular lake and monastic areas. Most of the non-archaeological areas included in Kenzo Tange’s master plan have been replanted with trees to recreate the feel of a landscape of ancient forests surrounding the sites, as Lumbini must have looked in the past. Indeed, in certain Buddhist literary sources, mention is made of the Garden of Lumbini, famous for its great beauty, the tranquility and the comfort it provides.
The master plan of Kenzo Tange’s Renovation and Development Plan was built according to precise specifications, designed according to Buddhist symbolism, whether for geometric and architectural forms or for accompanying visitors on the way to the ‘illumination. Indeed, the visit begins with the New Village of Lumbini before arriving at the so-called Cultural and Monastic Zone symbolizing the path of knowledge and spiritual purification to finally arrive at the Sacred Village, the phase of illumination. Finally, let us add that these three parts are connected by a water channel which reflects the central link of the whole site.
The site has been opened to other contributions such as Nepalese and international monasteries. These latest new buildings are representative of vernacular architecture and culture of different countries as well as different Buddhist traditions and continue to fascinate visitors to Lumbini. Monasteries in the eastern part include Royal Thai Monastery (Thailand), Mahabodhi Society Monastery in Kolkata, Myanmar Monastery, International Nuns’ Temple (Nepal), Dhamma Janani Meditation Center (Nepal) and Sri Lankans and Cambodians. The western part shows the Great Lotus Stupa (Germany), Kagyud Meditation Center (India), Sokyo Temple (Japan), Linh Son Monastery (France), Chinese Monastery, Korean Mahabodhi Society Monastery (South Korea) , Phat Quoc Tu Monastery (Vietnam), Geden International (Austria), Manang and Dharmodaya Sabha Monasteries (Nepal) and Panditarama Meditation Center (Myanmar).
Where is it ?
Lumbini Monasteries, Lumbini, Nepal