623 BC - 1900 AD | 1901 - 1970 | 1971 - 1980 | 1981 - 1990 | 1991 - 2000 | After 2001

623 BC - 1900 AD

  • 623 BC: Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later becomes Buddha, is born in Lumbini.
  • 249 BC: Emperor Asoka visits Lumbini and erects the Asoka Pillar with Pali language inscriptions in the Brahmi script to pay homage to Buddha’s birthplace.
  • 350- 375 AD: Monk Seng-tsai belonging to the Qin Dynasty makes a pilgrimage to Lumbini and writes accounts of his visit.
  • 399-413 AD: Traveller visits Lumbini and describes the place where Buddha’s mother, Queen Mayadevi, gave birth to Prince Siddhartha and where the new born was bathed.
  • 636 AD: Traveller Xuanzang visits Lumbini. He describes Lumbini as “a deserted place, and wild animals roamed around enough to warn off travellers."
  • 1312 AD: Ripu Malla, King of the Malla Kingdom of Kathmandu, visits Lumbini. He is the last visitor to leave evidence of his visit prior to the site remaining in oblivion for centuries.
  • 1896: General Khadga Shamsher, Governor of Tansen, organizes an expedition together with German archaeologist Anton Fuhrer. The Asoka Pillar, which marks Buddha’s birthplace, is re-discovered.
  • 1899: Excavation by Purna Chandra Mukherji discovers the main piece of the Nativity Sculpture. Two additional pieces of the sculpture are found and joined together some 85 years later by Tara Nanda Misra.
1901 - 1970

  • 1932-1939: Excavation work by General Keshar Shamsher exposes many stupas and monasteries.
  • 1956: King Mahendra visits Lumbini and proposes steps for Lumbini’s development at the Fourth Assembly of World Fellowship of Buddhists.
  • 1956: The Ancient Monument Preservation Act gives the Department of Archaeology the authority to “preserve ancient monuments, control the trade in archaeological objects, excavate ancient monuments sites, and acquire and preserve ancient monuments and archaeological, historical or artistic objects”.
  • March 1959: UN Secretary-General Daag Hammarskjöld visits Lumbini.
  • February 1962: Devela Mitra excavates the base of the Asoka Pillar.
  • April 1967: UN Secretary-General U Thant visits Lumbini, and initiates international support to develop Lumbini for pilgrimage and tourism.

  • 1970: The International Committee for the Development of Lumbini is formed in New York under the chairmanship of Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

The then Prince Gyanendra Shah of Nepal (centre) addressing a special meeting of the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini, on 11 June 1987 at UN Headquarters. Also seated at the head table, from left to right are: William Draper III, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP), Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cullar, Jai Pratap Rana, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN, and Andrew J. Joseph, Assistant Administrator, UNDP.
Photo: UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata

  • 1970: The Government establishes the Lumbini Development Committee which becomes the Lumbini Development Trust in 1985.
  • 1970-1971: Babu Krishna Rijal locates and excavates an area which matches the description of the Lumbini Village as inscribed in the Asoka Pillar.
  • 1972: The Advisory Panel for the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini requests that Kenzo Tange to prepare a Master Plan for Lumbini.
  • 1972-85: Excavation activities by the Department of Archaeology.
  • 1978: The Government and the UN approve the Kenzo Tange Master Plan. The implementation of the Plan is scheduled to be completed by 1985.

Kenzo Tange (2nd from left) during his visit to Lumbini.
Photo: Lumbini Development Trust


  • 1981: UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim visits Lumbini.
  • 1985: The Lumbini Development Trust Act is passed and the Lumbini Development Trust is delegated to implement the Lumbini Development Plan.
  • March 1989: UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar visits Lumbini.

  • 1992-1995: Excavation work by the Department of Archaeology, the Lumbini Development Trust and the Japanese Buddhist Federation during which the Marker Stone, set by Emperor Asoka to mark the exact location of the birth of Lord Buddha, is discovered in 1995.
  • 1996: The archaeological remains of ancient Shakya Kingdom in Tilaurakot (Nawalparasi District) and the relic stupa of Lord Buddha in Ramagrama (Kapilvastu District), both closely related to Buddha's life, are included in the Tentative World Heritage list.
  • 1997: Lumbini is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
  • 1998: The World Buddhist Summit declares Lumbini to be the "Fountain of World Peace".
  • 1999: UNDP commissions a Vision and Scoping Mission led by Young Hoon Kwaak for developing the idea of Lumbini as the "Fountain of World Peace".
After 2001

  • 2002: The Government establishes the Gautam Buddha International Peace Award. Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima, and Tomihisa Taue, the mayor of Nagasaki, are the first recipients of the award in 2011 in recognition of their contribution towards advocacy for disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. Each of the awardees is given USD 25,000.
  • 2003: The restored Mayadevi Temple opens to the public for the first time on 16 May 2003 to celebrate the birthday of Buddha.

  • Mayadevi Temple after it was opened for public.
    Photo: Lumbini Development Trust

  • 2004: The Second World Buddhist Summit declares Lumbini as a "World Peace City".
  • 2005: Last meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the the ICDL (16 September) on the sidelines of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York.
  • 2008: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visits Lumbini.
  • 2010: Asian Development Bank begins South Asia Tourism Infrastructure Development Project which includes upgrading the Gautam Buddha Airport close to Lumbini.
  • 2010: A three-year UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation of the World's Cultural Heritage project entitled "Strengthening the Conservation and Managment of Lumbini, the Birthplace of Lord Buddha" is launched to address conservation and management issues and challenges facing the World Heritage Site.
  • 2011: The Greater Lumbini Development National Steering Committee (GLDNSC) is established with the mandate to develop a Master Plan for the Greater Lumbini Area and garner international support for the development of Lumbini.
  • 2012: The government signs Memorandum of Understanding with Korea International Cooperation Agency for the preparation of a master plan for Lumbini World Peace City Preservation and Development project.
  • 2012: The government declares 2012 as "Visit Lumbini Year".


  • Kwaak, Y. H. and Brenes, Abelardo. Lumbini: The Fountain of World Peace. Report for the Vision and Scoping Mission.
  • Mishka, Tara Nanda. June 2004. Evolution of Buddhism and Archaeological Excavations in Lumbini. Ancient Nepal: Journal of the Department of Archaeology, No. 155, pp. 10-18. 
  • UNESCO. Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha. World Heritage List, UNESCO World Heritage Centre 1992-2012. (Accessed 10 August, 2012). 
  • Bidari, Basanta. 2004.  Lumbini: A Haven of Sacred Refuge. Kathmandu, Hill Side Press. 
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