Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini; the Birthplace of Lord Buddha

©UNESCO/Nipuna Shrestha -
Maya Devi temple in Lumbini

The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu is assisting the authorities to manage and preserve the site by implementing the project “Strengthening Conversation and Management of Lumbini, the Birthplace of Lord Buddha” funded by the Government of Japan.

The project is being implemented by the UNESCO Kathmandu Office, in close cooperation with the Department of Archaeology of Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and the Lumbini Development Trust.

The first phase of the project was successfully completed in December 2013, andproduced a number of significant results, such as:

  • Conservation of the three most emblematic monuments of Lumbini, namely the Marker Stone, the Nativity Sculpture and the Ashoka Pillar;
  • Successful excavations within the Sacred Garden particularly within the Mayadevi Temple, which revealed for the first time in South Asia, evidence of a series of shrines dating back to sixth century BCE;
  • An operational plan for the implementation of the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for the Sacred Garden;
  • An integrated management framework to conserve the outstanding universal value of Lumbini;
  • Strengthened the institutional capacity of the Department of Archaeology and the Lumbini Development Trust.

The three-year second phase of the project started on 30 June 2014 with the aim to support national authorities to protect and manage Lumbini itself and to safeguard the cultural assets of the Greater Lumbini Area, in particular Tilaurakot, with the archaeological remains of the ancient Shakya Kingdom where Lord Buddha lived as Prince Siddhartha until the age of 29 and Ramagrama, the only unopened relic stupa of Lord Buddha.Both sites are included in Nepal’s Tentative List for future inscription as World Heritage Site.

The second phase focuses on:

  • Continue conservation of the historical monuments of Lumbini
  • Continue archaeological investigations of unknown historical monuments within the Sacred Garden of Lumbini
  • Implementation and regularly review of the management processes of Lumbini World Heritage Site
  • Safeguard the cultural assets of the Greater Lumbini Area, in particular of Tilaurakot and Ramagrama. The activities in Tilaurakot and Ramagrama will focus on archaeological investigation of the historical monuments; conservation of excavated historical monuments and establishing a strategy for the possible inscription of Ramagrama and Tilaurakot in the World Heritage List
  • Continue to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Department of Archaeology and the Lumbini Development Trust through improvement of the knowledge and skills of conservation and archaeological staff

International Scientific Committee

The International Scientific Committee (ISC) composed of representatives of the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation, the  Department of Archaeology (DOA); the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), Japan, UNESCO and international experts in archaeology, conservation, urban planning and heritage management, is providing technical and scientific leadership.

Project Steering Committee

The Project Steeting Committee composed of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Department of Archaeology, the Lumbini Development Trust and UNESCO,  evaluates the project’s outcomes, and approves the operational plans related to the implementation of all project activities. It coordinates between the different institutions involved.

International Experts

  • Yukio Nishimura

Prof. Yukio Nishimura, a city planner, was born in 1952 in Japan. He trained as a physical planner at the Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo, where he got a BA, MA and D. Eng. in planning. He teaches urban planning, urban design and urban conservation planning at the University of Tokyo.

Prof. Nishimura, as a successor of the Kenzo Tange Chair at the University of Tokyo, is familiar with the Kenzo Tange Master Plan for the Lumbini World Heritage Site. He will supervise as a project team leader and as a chairperson of the ISC. His team will also work on project activity: “Mapping the heritage site of the Greater Lumbini Area including recommendation on integrating heritage sites in tourism development plans”.

  • Robin Coningham

Prof. Coningham, was born in 1965 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. He is Professor of Archaeology and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Durham University, UK. He has conducted extensive field work in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He will supervise the implementation of the project as the adviser for archaeological investigations and as a member of the ISC. His team will work on project activity: “Archaeological investigations in Lumbini, Tilaurakot and Ramagrama”.

  • Constantino Meucci 

Dr. Constantino Meucci was born in 1946 in Rome, Italy. He completed a degree in Industrial Chemistry at Rome University in 1972 and qualified as a professional chemist in 1980. He has worked on several restoration sites as a scientific adviser. He is experienced in interventions on wall paintings, stone materials, organic materials and archaeological artefacts. He is the author of more than fifty scientific publications on Italian and foreign periodicals. Dr. Meucci will supervise the implementation of the project as a material conservation expert and as a member of ISC. He will work on project activity: “Conservation of historical monuments of Lumbini, Tilaurakot and Ramagrama”.


Lumbini: Past, Present and Future

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