In the middle of the Kapilavastu remains, closing my eyes, I felt a cool breeze sweeping all my darkness, refreshing my mind, and nurturing my soul…

When a child joining the Buddhist Group in a small temple near my house, I heard a lot about Lumbini and Kapilavastu. They were sacred places located somewhere so far far away that I did not think I would have a chance to visit. Until last month, when I set foot on Nepal, I realized happiness was somewhere near, very near.

Lumbini – the Buddha’s Birthplace

Maya Devi temple – the main temple in Lumbini is believed to be the place where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Crown Prince Siddhartha Shakya Gautama beneath a sal tree while holding a branch in the garden. Lumbini was not chosen to be the birthplace by the Queen, but a place she stopped by while on the way to her parents’ home to give birth to her first child as a custom of ancient Indians. Inside the white temple reflecting itself in the pool (known as Puskarni where Maya had a bath before giving birth), there is a sacred spot where, in 249 BC, King Ashoka put a stone to mark the exact place where Buddha was born.

Maya Devi temple

Ruins in Maya Devi temple

Puskarni pool where Maya had a bath before giving birth

Maya Devi temple by night

Kapilavastu – the Buddha’s Childhood Homeland

About 25 kilometres to the south-west of Lumbini, Kapilavastu is believed to be the place where King Suddhodana, Queen Maya and their son Siddhartha Shakya lived until he left the palace at the age of 29. There are still controversies between Indians and Nepales about where the historical site of Kapilavastu was – in India or in Nepal. But a lot of famous archaeologists from the UK and other countries have found solid evidences – the ancient foundations of the Kapilavastu palace currently buried 4.2m below the current land surface – showing Kapilavastu is right here in Nepal, not in India.

The models of the ruins which are currently 4.2m right underneath

The models of the ruins

The Eastern gate where Prince Siddhartha Shakya left

Nigrodharama Garden – the Meeting place after 13 years

About six kilometres south of Tilaurakot, the citadel of Kapilavastu, Nigrodharama – now located at the site of the modern Kudan village is believed to be the place where Buddha met his father for the first time after 13 years he left home. The Nigrodharama are now only remains consisting 3 large stupas.

Stupa No. 1 – where the son of Shakyamuni Buddha, Rahula was ordained by the Buddha’s chief disciple Sariputra  

Stupa No. 2 – where Shakyamuni Buddha met his father – King Suddhodana for the first time after 13 years

Stupa No. 3 – where Buddha met his stepmother – Queen Mahapajapati Gotami

Besides those stupas, there is an Ancient Well which is believed to have been built prior to those stupas, with the presumption that Shakyamuni Buddha and his Sanga used the water from this well during their stay in the Nigrodharama garden.

The Ancient Well

Leaving Kapilavastu, leaving Lumbini in a cloudy afternoon in July, I felt I have touched something sacred that I cannot explain. Oh yes, I think I have touched my dream…


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