Besides forgetting my favorite pair of underwear at the Korean Monastery, Lumbini was lovely. It was very eerie, especially when the sun would rise or set, you could see that everything was covered in dust, the roads, the people, the cars, the plants, even my computer.
Lumbini is a very small town near the Indian border in the Terai region in Nepal. The main attraction of the town is that it is the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha also known as Buddha.
The spiritual heart of Lumbini is the Maya Devi Temple, which marks the spot where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BC. (Lonely Planet Nepal (Travel Guide)) The Maya Devi Temple is located in the Lumbini Development zone which consists of numerous Buddhist temples from Buddhist communities throughout the world. In a sense it feels like you are peeking a glimpse of the world through these different Buddhist Temples.
Myself and two other travellers took the local bus (9-10hours) from Kathmandu to Lumbini. We departed our hostel at 6am, jumped on a local bus and arrived at the bus station just before 7am (when most of the out of town buses depart). The ride south was enjoyable, we all sat in the back relished in our snacks and wondered what Lumbini was going to be like (Buddha Disneyland?!, touristy? big? small? loud? serene? enlightening? Chaotic?).
My favorite part of the bus ride was getting a kick out of the bus boy. He looked like a bad boy straight out of Chinle that desperately needed a haircut. It brought back memories of my own brother’s hair and how it looked exactly like the bus boys’ when he didn’t cut it (poofy straight hair that sticks up, like those troll dolls with the multi colored hair). Most nights he would cut up my panty hose that I didn’t use and put it on his head to keep his hair down and we would sit and watch breaking bad. The bus boy even had the stubbly mustache that grew sparsely but would never grow into a full mustache, like most navajo men. I’m pretty sure he noticed me stare at him the whole trip but that’s okay because he reminded of home.
Our first full day in Lumbini was filled with excitement because of the sweet bubblegum pink, purple and maroon bikes we rented from the little boy and woman in front of our lodge. We then ascended our way to the sights and monasteries. It was a day filled with who knows how many monasteries, being yelled/whistled at by the guards,trying to find a spot to sit in the forest, “trying to get our enlightenment on,” and I’m 98% sure I got heat exhaustion.
But what’s a little heat exhaustion when you are world’s away from reality and all of its ugliness, tragedies and fear? I was feeling anything but the former. I was enjoying a sunny cloudless day with some awesome folks and checking out some beautiful and spiritually serene buildings. How could one feel bitter over something as little as heat exhaustion?
I spent 2 half days and 2 full days in Lumbini. Riding our bikes all day by far was the best. The day after I stayed in a Korean Monastery but sadly me and the other two got some crappy food bug from the food stand we ate at the night before. So we spent most of the day in our beds sleeping. Note to self; do not continue to eat at a sketchy food stand that is filled with dust and has a construction site next to it that continuously keeps bouncing rocks into your food. Also I probably shouldn’t have ordered the large Masala tea there…Oh how one’s judgement of certain foods tends to grow over bad food stand experiences.
The last full day mainly consisted of sleeping and trying to take a walk into town to say goodbye to Kat before she departed to India. Also at this point I have no idea where Al went. I hope he’s okay. I think he headed South to India as well. Big thumbs up to him for backpacking with a kettle (which is GENIUS). I also got a kick out of him because we listen to exactly the same music. He mentioned the year he was a freshman at University. Which was the same year I was a freshman in College. I asked him how old he was. turns out we were the exact same age. For some reason I thought he was older and he thought I was 19!!! I got a kick out of that…
I then walked back to the Korean Monastery at sunset, despite feeling nauseous, tired and a pounding headache, the view was breathtaking and once again oddly eerie as I was the only one walking back at that point. I made it back to eat a little bit of dinner before I fell asleep at 7pm. Then the next day it was off to Pokhara.
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