Lumbini Development: Still Far to Go

During an. archaeological excavation in 1885, Dr. A. Furher unearthed the Ashokan pillar, the only evidence of Lord Buddha's birth in Lumbini. In 1899, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) assigned P.C. Mukherjee to study the archaeological findings in Lumbini. The ASI also deputed Mrs. Mitra in 1962 to analyse the nature and history of the bricks, lying to the west of the Ashokan pillar. Field Marshal Keshar Shumsher unearthed antiques in Lumbini during extensive excavations in 1933 and in 1939. Unfortunately, his findings were not published. In 1970, the Archaeological Department of Nepal launched an excavation to delineate the area of Lumbini village during King Ashoka's rule (249 B.C.). The team unearthed a clay wall, a circular crematorium with a human skull, and an iron scythe from the sixth century B.C.

The 1967 visit to Lumbini by U Thant, then Secretary General of the United Nations, gave impetus to the idea of developing Lumbini which is now materializing. After U Thant's visit, the International Committee for Lumbini Development was formed under the chairmanship of Nepal's permanent representative to the UN. The Master Plan for Lumbini, followed by the Lumbini Development Trust, was developed by the well known Japanese architect Prof. Keno Tange.

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Himal Southasian