Chronology of Lumbini-related Events
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 4, 2013
623 BC – 1899 AD
- 623 BC: Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later becomes Buddha, is born in Lumbini.
- 249 BC: Emperor Asoka visits Lumbini and erects the Asoka Pillar with Pali language inscriptions in the Brahmi script to pay homage to Buddha’s birthplace.
- 350- 375 AD: Chinese Monk Sengtsai belonging to the Chin Dynasty visits Lumbini for pilgrimage and writes accounts of his visit.
- 399-413 AD: Chinese traveller Fa-hsien visits Lumbini and describes the place where Buddha’s mother, Queen Mayadevi, gave birth to Prince Siddharta and where the newborn was bathed.
- 636 AD: Chinese traveller Hsuan-tsang visits Lumbini. He describes Lumbini as “a deserted place, and wild animals roamed around enough to warn off travellers.”
- 1312 AD: Ripu Malla, King of the Malla Kingdom of Kathmandu, visits Lumbini. He is the last visitor to leave evidence of his visit prior to the site remaining in oblivion for centuries.
- 1896: General Khadga Shamsher, Governor of Tansen, organizes an expedition together with German archaeologist Anton Fuhrer. The Asoka Pillar, which marks Buddha’s birthplace, is re-discovered.
- 1899: Excavation by Purna Chandra Mukherji discovers the main piece of the Nativity Sculpture. Two additional pieces of the sculpture are found and joined together some 85 years later by Tara Nanda Misra.
1900 – 1969
- 1932-1939: Excavation work by General Keshar Shamsher exposes many stupasand monasteries.
- 1956: King Mahendra visits Lumbini and proposes steps for Lumbini’s development at the Fourth Assembly of World Fellowship of Buddhists.
- 1956: The Ancient Monument Preservation Act gives the Department of Archaeology the authority to “preserve ancient monuments, control the trade in archaeological objects, excavate ancient monuments sites, and acquire and preserve ancient monuments and archaeological, historical or artistic objects”.
- March 1959: UN Secretary-General Daag Hammarskjöld visits Lumbini.
- February 1962: Devela Mitra of the Archaeological Survey of India excavates the base of the Asoka Pillar.
- April 1967: UN Secretary-General U Thant visits Lumbini, and initiates international support to develop Lumbini for pilgrimage and tourism.
- 1970: The International Committee for the Development of Lumbini (ICDL) is formed in New York under the chairmanship of Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
The then Prince Gyanendra Shah of Nepal (centre) addressing a special meeting of the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini, on 11 June 1987 at UN Headquarters. Also seated at the head table, from left to right are: William Draper III, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cullar, Jai Pratap Rana, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, and Andrew J. Joseph, Assistant Administrator, UNDP.
Photo: UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata
- 1970: The Government establishes the Lumbini Development Committee which becomes the Lumbini Development Trust in 1985.
- 1970-1971: Nepali archaeologist Babu Krishna Rijal,locates and excavates an area which matches the description of the Lumbini Village as inscribed in the Asoka Pillar.
- 1972: The Advisory Panel for the ICDL requests Kenzo Tange to prepare a Master Plan for Lumbini.
- 1972-85: Excavation activities by the Department of Archaeology.
- 1978: The Government and the UN approve the Kenzo Tange Master Plan. The implementation of the Plan is scheduled to be completed by 1985.
Kenzo Tange (2nd from left) during his visit to Lumbini.
Photo: Lumbini Development Trust
- 1981: UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim visits Lumbini.
- 1985: The Lumbini Development Trust Act is passed and the Lumbini Development Trust is delegated to implement the Lumbini Development Plan.
- March 1989: UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar visits Lumbini.
- 1992-1995: Excavation work by the Department of Archaeology, the Lumbini Development Trust and the Japanese Buddhist Federation during which the Marker Stone, set by Emperor Asoka to mark the exact location of the birth of Lord Buddha, is discovered in 1995.
- 1996: The archaeological remains of ancient Shakya Kingdom in Tilaurakot (Nawalparasi District) and the relic stupa of Lord Buddha in Ramagrama (Kapilvastu District), both closely related to Buddha’s life, are included in the Tentative World Heritage List.
- 1997: Lumbini is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
- 1998: The World Buddhist Summit declares Lumbini as the “Fountain of World Peace”.
- 1999: UNDP commissions a Vision and Scoping Mission led by Young Hoon Kwaak for developing the idea of Lumbini as the “Fountain of World Peace”.
- 2002: The Government establishes the Gautam Buddha International Peace Award. Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima, and Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of Nagasaki, are the first recipients of the award in 2011 in recognition of their contribution towards advocacy of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation.
- 2003: The restored Mayadevi Temple temple opens to the public for the first time on 16 May 2003 to celebrate the birthday of Buddha.
Mayadevi Temple after it was opened for public.
Photo: Lumbini Development Trust
- 2004: The Second World Buddhist Summit declares Lumbini as a “World Peace City”.
- 2005: Last meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the the ICDL (16 September) on the sidelines of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York.
- 2008: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visits Lumbini.
- 2011: The Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee (GLDNSC) is established with the mandate to develop a Master Plan for the Greater Lumbini Area and garner international support for the development of Lumbini.
- 2012: “Visit Lumbini Year”
- Kwaak, Y. H. and Brenes, Abelardo. Lumbini: The Fountain of World Peace. Report for the Vision and Scoping Mission.
- Mishka, Tara Nanda. June 2004. Evolution of Buddhism and Archaeological Excavations in Lumbini. Ancient Nepal: Journal of the Department of Archaeology, No. 155, pp. 10-18.
- UNESCO. Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha. World Heritage List, UNESCO World Heritage Centre 1992-2012. whc.unesco.org/en/list/666/ (Accessed 10 August, 2012).
- Bidari, Basanta. 2004. Lumbini: A Haven of Sacred Refuge. Kathmandu, Hill Side Press.