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22 Feb, 2013

UNESCO Launches Website to Commemorate Lumbini, Birthplace of Buddha

VOICES UNESCO in Asia and the Pacific

“Like glittering sunbeams

The flute notes reach the gods          

In the birth grotto”

This haiku that former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld wrote after his Lumbini visit in March 1959 is one of the highlights of the web pages on Lumbini that the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu has launched.  The web site “Lumbini: Past, Present & Future” provides historical and current information on the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, a World Heritage Property since 1997.

Lumbini, located within the western Terai region of Nepal, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Property for its Outstanding Universal Value for being one of the holiest places in the world where the Buddha was born as well as for its archaeological significance.

Buddha’s entry into this world began in the gardens of Lumbini as Prince Siddhartha Gautama in 623 BC.  It was here where the newborn infant took his first steps toward the east beginning a path to enlightenment.  Buddha identified four sacred places for his followers to visit for pilgrimage, one of which is his birthplace.  For centuries, pilgrims and travelers have visited this sacred place and its surrounding areas, hoping to understand more fully the beginnings of a man who became the embodiment of compassion and peace.  At present, Lumbini continues to be developed into a major centre for pilgrimage and tourism.

“Lumbini: Past, Present & Future” details chronology of events dating back to Buddha’s birth, along with information on Lumbini’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Property, and district profiles of the Greater Lumbini Area and other relevant Buddhist sites in that area.  The site also provides information on national and international structures of support for Lumbini, the history of the Master Plan for Lumbini, and features interviews with prominent stakeholders in addition to statements and reflections of UN Secretaries-General.

“Lumbini: Past, Present & Future” web pages had been prepared by the UNDP/UNESCO Lumbini Support Project, which was established in 2012 with funding from UNDP Nepal to assist in garnering international support for the development of Lumbini and its surrounding areas.  The team for this project is based in the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu.

For further information about the UNDP/UNESCO Lumbini Support Project, please contact:

Amreen Choudhury + 977-1 5554396 Ext: 31

Nabha Basnyat-Thapa + 977-1 5554396 Ext: 28