Journey to Lumbini, or Disappearing Tracks
The idea to go to Lumbini appeared spontaneously. First, I have not been there yet. Secondly, I had 3 days in Kathmandu, for which there were no plans.
How to go? The fastest and recommended by me is the flight. But we must take into account the weather. In my case, there was a thick fog in Lumbini and the entire foothill plain. Flights were postponed and canceled packs. I personally saw tourists from China who fell into this trap and had to rent a car to Kathmandu.
I decided to use the bus. What can I say. It’s hard. Intercity bus – with toilet, water and meals. Deluxe The bus is completely full, not to Lumbini, but to Bhairava for sure. The toilet is present, and from the second half of the trip it is also felt by smell. But not deadly. Reminds travel in the Soviet second-class car.
Air conditioning is. There is a TV, but for me, it would be better if it was not. For from the very beginning of the trip, the remote from it was captured by a student-like young people and they charged the local Asian hiphop at full volume. I kept waiting for someone from the local to be indignant, because there were elderly people among the passengers, but no. Nobody paid attention.
In general, I am amazed at the calm and imperturbability of the Nepalese. Imagine you get into a traffic jam after 12 hours of travel for the last 10 km you drive 2 hours. We would have people screaming and sent to interfere with the passage, but it would have given in the face. There are no signs of irritation. Just a statement.
So let’s go. Every 2 hours stop, toilet. If noon – then lunch. With a good road to go fun. But in Nepal, the road is not good for a long time. Be sure to start the repair and … Shakes, difficult patrols, dust. I am accustomed to such conditions, and I endure quite calmly, but this must be taken into account when planning trips.
The road there took 11 hours. We left the bus station at 7 am, arrived almost to my hotel at 18. The road back was longer. Starting at 06:00, at 20:00 I was on the Kathmandu bypass road, from where you can already take a taxi to Tamel or Chhatrapati. As I have already noted, there was a very dense fog on the plain, which is denser in the morning and evening. And now, going down from the foothills to Bharatapura, you practically drive into the cloud. Feeling interesting.
The hotel where I settled in Lumbini was called New Crystal Garden Hotel. It turned out to be very well located. From him in 10 minutes you can walk to the temple Maya Devi. Whereas in other cases it would be necessary to overcome 5-7 km. Stay there mainly groups from China, Thailand, Malaysia. It is a decent hotel. The only point: wi-fi in the rooms is paid – $ 1 per hour.
Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. This is common knowledge. for this reason, Lumbini is a place of pilgrimage starting, in my opinion, from the 2nd century. As in any place of pilgrimage, and even of such significance, the whole surrounding life of the city is connected with this fact.
In countries with developed Buddhism, it is considered prestigious to have a plot of land in Lumbini, where you can build a center for pilgrims, a monastery of your own Buddhism or a stupa. You can also put a gold statue, finance the restoration and other works. About all this information signs.
At the center for pilgrims with a toilet, a lounge and a place for washing the feet, you can read that it was built by the Thai government. Well, and so on.
According to the South Asian tradition, entering a monastery or a sacred territory, you must remove your shoes. Apparently, in the summer it brings only positive emotions, but in the winter, in the morning, at plus 5-10 and with puddles – not so pleasant, but not fatal. Chinese groups wear polyethylene bags on their feet, and medical shoe covers will probably do. I walked in socks.
Real pilgrims (and not pilgrims, tourists) are immediately visible, they walk strictly in tramp.
As in any other place of pilgrimage, there are beggars beggars (sometimes, in Indian style, rather aggressive), fake sadhus, supposedly monks, who will tie you a string with a blessing for money, although you can also tie them with the same success. But this is all the outside.
And in fact, there is such a thing as an “namolenny place.” That’s Lumbini just like that. If we talk about a certain energy field related to the teachings of the Buddha, then it is definitely present there. And so there are many meditating people there: sitting, walking around the temples, just standing with a look at “self” or “not self.”
Monastery complex Lumbini
The main site of the complex is the Maya Devi Temple. Mother Buddha. The sacred place of the temple complex is an ancient bas-relief representing the scene of the birth of the Buddha. It is heavily destroyed, but the figures are quite recognizable, especially if you know in advance who is who.
The territory adjacent to the temple bears the traces of former worship complexes, bases of stupas, columns, meditation platforms, sacred reservoirs, etc.
I like it. Quiet, very tuned. As I said, for meditation is very suitable.