If you are traveling when a Nepal bandh has been called, you will inevitable run into a lot of trouble. That’s what happened during my trip to Lumbini where I got stuck on the way for hours on end, and reached the hotel I was staying in only at 1 am in the morning instead of the scheduled 10 pm earlier that night. I traveled on a tourist bus and while a bus travel might be tedious and long, you can enjoy the nature and the views Nepal has to offer along the way. You will also get to eat at local eateries along the highway and that’s a different experience altogether.
When traveling to Lumbini this time of the year, you don’t need to pack warm clothes as even a mildly sunny day tends to be quite hot. You can start your day in Lumbini with a morning walk around the Mayadevi temple where you can also indulge in a bit of yoga. The view of Mayadevi Temple on a full moon day is simply breathtaking. The surrounding of the historical Mayadevi temple fills you with positive vibes and energy. The Lumbini Development Trust has done quite a bit of work to provide some good facilities.
I was born and brought up near Boudha so Lumbini feels like second home to me. There is something immensely soothing about the atmosphere there. This time around, instead of the usual sightseeing by myself, I met some locals and talked to them on the first day of my trip. Some local girls became my trip guide and they told me about Lumbini and shared their stories as well. On the second day of my trip, a nationwide bandh was called and my itinerary for that day changed completely. When it seemed like I had to stay in my hotel room and watch TV, I picked up my bags and went to check out some monasteries. I was lucky enough to meet the Rinpoche, and actually have a conversation with him too.
Life in Lumbini has a pace of its own and, compared to life here in the capital, it soothes and fills you with a sense of peace. Though, if you make repeated trips, there might not be much to see, there is a lot to experience and learn in every visit. Don’t let your trip to Lumbini be just about the Ashoka Pillar, Mayadevi temple, and the Bodhi tree and pond (though you should definitely see these places if you haven’t been there before). Explore beyond the ‘touristy’ sites and experience all that Lumbini has to offer. You’ll be amazed.
By Smriti Dhungana