29.10.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Two new books on Lumbini to be launched by UNESCO

Lumbini is the focus of two new publications that the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the Oriental Cultural Heritage Site Protection Alliance will launch on 31 October in Lalitpur.

The photobook ‘Lumbini. Birthplace of Buddha’, a co-publication by UNESCO and the France-based NGO ‘Oriental Cultural Heritage Site Protection Alliance’, interprets the uniqueness of the World Heritage Property of Lumbini and its surrounding through 190 photographs taken by eight photographers. They are introduced by national and international personalities, through texts in English, Chinese, French and Nepali.

In his foreword to the book, Khil Raj Regmi, the Chairman of the Council of Minister, applauds the ‘beautiful photographs that highlight the global importance of the special sacred and historic site of Lumbini’.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stresses in her foreword to the publication: ‘Lumbini is a place for meditation and renewal; it is also a symbol of the aspirations for peace, harmony and reconciliation shared by all people. The photographs in this book translate all of this power into images’.

The second publication also to be launched on 31 October is entitled ‘The Sacred Garden of Lumbini. Perceptions of Buddha’s birthplace’. Compiled by Kai Weise and published by UNESCO with funding from the Oriental Cultural Heritage Site Protection Alliance, it provides comprehensive analyses of the variety of perceptions on Buddha’s birthplace. The book is based on expert studies on eight realms of understanding of Lumbini: in Buddhist texts; in historical texts; in archaeology; as a planned site as a World Heritage Property; in an environmental context; and in association with the activities and expectations of visitors.

‘The study helps us to better understand why the Sacred Garden became a place of Outstanding Universal Value, which ‘since millennia women and men visit “with faith, curiosity and devotion”, as predicted by the Lord Buddha himself’, says Axel Plathe, UNESCO Representative to Nepal, in his preface to the publication.

The launch of the two books completes a series of recent UNESCO publications on Lumbini that was launched in 2011 with the ‘Environmental impact assessment of industrial development around Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, World Heritage Property’. The study was prepared in 2011 on behalf of UNESCO by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Nepal, with funding from the Oriental Cultural Heritage Site Protection Alliance.

‘The Oriental Cultural Heritage Site Protection Alliance is honored to have the privilege to be closely involved in these three landmark publications. This support reflects our commitment to contribute to the preservation of the sacred side of Lumbini’, says Alliance president Etienne Mathieu.

The photobook (ISBN 978-92-3-100003) can be ordered online at http://publishing.unesco.org/. The Sacred Garden study (ISBN 978-92-3-001208-3 is freely available in Open Access at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002239/223986E.pdf .  The environmental impact assessment (document number KAT/CLT/2012/010) is available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219616e.pdf.

Kathmandu, 27 October 2013

Press release UNESCO/KAT 17/2013

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