08.08.2014 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Experts reviewed implementation of UNESCO’s activities for the World Heritage Site Lumbini and for Tilaurakot

© UNESCO -UNESCO Representative to Nepal and the experts in the ISC meeting

Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha holds importance for historical, religious and archaeological reasons. The preservation and development of Lumbini as well as the surrounding sites is important for all of us.

UNESCO in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology (DoA) and the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) has started the second phase of the project “Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini, the Birthplace of Lord Buddha ” to preserve this culturally valuable site.

The International Scientific Committee (ISC) of the project met last week in Lumbini to review work done so far and advise on the activities during the coming 12 months.

This three-year phase generously funded by Japanese government, which started on 30 June 2014, aims at supporting national authorities to protect and manage the Lumbini World Heritage Site and to safeguard the cultural assets of the larger Lumbini Area, in particular of Tilaurakot, the archaeological remains of the ancient Shakya Kingdom where Lord Buddha lived as Prince Siddhartha until the age of 29. The second most significant site is Ramagrama, the only unopened  stupa with relicts of Lord Buddha. Both sites are included in Nepal’s Tentative List for inscription as World Heritage Site.

Costantino Meucci, Advisor on conservation from Italy proposed concrete measures for the conservation of the historic remains in Lumbini, particularly, the Ashoka Pillar, the 3rd century BC bricks inside the Mayadevi Temple and the Marker Stone. Robin Conningham, Professor of Archaeology from the University of Durham, UK, highlighted the importance of undertaking archaeological investigations to allowing a better dating and interpretation of the urban morphology of Tilaurakot. This can provide us with a better understanding of the first 29 years of Lord Buddha’s life and show the importance of this ancient city. Yukio Nishimura, Professor from the University of Tokyo, Japan, is preparing a detailed catalogue of heritage sites in the Greater Lumbini Area. Kai Weise, Heritage expert from Nepal urged the Government of Nepal to adopt as soon as possible the integrated management plan for Lumbini that was prepared during the first phase of the project.

The ISC meeting was followed by a meeting of the Project Steering Committee, composed of representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, DoA, LDT and UNESCO, endorsed the implementation plan proposed for one year by the experts. A stakeholder meeting also took place to share the activities of the project and decisions that have been made regarding next year’s work. It was attended by the Chief District Officer and the Development Officer of Kapilvastu, abbots of the monasteries in Lumbini and representatives of the local tourism industries. 

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