Small Lives Amidst Lumbini's Ambitions

  • Dates
    2023 - Ongoing
  • Author
  • Topics Awards, Contemporary Issues, Documentary, Editorial, Nature & Environment, Social Issues
  • Locations Lumbini, Nepal

Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, undergoes a 40-year transformation. Despite UNESCO recognition, the Lumbini Development Trust's slow implementation of the Master Plan has frustrated locals with unmet promises and stagnant livelihoods.

Lumbini Master Plan Since 1985: Balancing Transformation, Controversy, and Challenges

By Tibhesh Lamichhane

LUMBINI, Nepal — Lumbini, the sacred birthplace of Buddha, is undergoing a transformation that has been reshaping its landscape, culture, and spiritual significance for 40 years now. It was 1978 AD when the Lumbini Development Master Plan was approved by the Nepal Government and shortly in 1985 AD the Lumbini Development Trust was founded and delegated to implement the Lumbini Development Plan. In the pursuit of becoming a model city that harmoniously blends tradition, modernity, and sustainability, the journey has been fraught with controversy, mismanagement, and unfulfilled promises.

Lumbini's modern evolution is evident in its commitment to eco-friendly practices and innovative development projects. The Lumbini Development Trust, in collaboration with international partners, has implemented initiatives to preserve the natural environment while promoting responsible tourism. The Lumbini Master Plan aims to create a model city that integrates modern amenities with cultural preservation.

The International Monastic Zone, a symbol of interfaith harmony, welcomes monastics from various Buddhist traditions, fostering unity and cooperation. Local businesses have embraced sustainability, creating a vibrant local economy that benefits both residents and visitors. In these 40 years, Lumbini has earned recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The grand vision of Lumbini's transformation is marred by allegations of mismanagement and unfulfilled promises. The slow and inconsistent implementation of the Lumbini Master Plan has led to frustration among communities and their well-wishers. Reports of misallocation of funds have eroded public trust. Local communities promised benefits from increased tourism, but have not seen the promised improvements in their standard of living.

Lumbini finds itself at a crossroads, torn between the promises of progress and the pitfalls of mismanagement. While the city's positive steps toward sustainability and cultural harmony are commendable, the controversies and challenges it faces underscore the delicate balance required to navigate its future. As Nepalese demand accountability and a renewed focus on core values, Lumbini's transformation remains a complex and evolving narrative.

References:

Lumbini Development Trust 

Lumbini Master Plan.

© tibhesh - A young girl roaming around Lumbini, waterway during school hours.
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A young girl roaming around Lumbini, waterway during school hours.

© tibhesh - Two Monks disposing and burning garbage accompanied by two stray cows in Lumbini, near Singapore Monastery.
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Two Monks disposing and burning garbage accompanied by two stray cows in Lumbini, near Singapore Monastery.

© tibhesh - Four underprivileged local children roaming around Lumbini.
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Four underprivileged local children roaming around Lumbini.

© tibhesh - An Abandon Temple of many, near the Cambodian Temple in Lumbini.
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An Abandon Temple of many, near the Cambodian Temple in Lumbini.

© tibhesh - A stray cow is being chased away from an Eternal Peace Flame by a Nepali police person.
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A stray cow is being chased away from an Eternal Peace Flame by a Nepali police person.

© tibhesh - Pilgrims enter Mayadevi Temple through the security gate.
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Pilgrims enter Mayadevi Temple through the security gate.

© tibhesh - Local Children collecting small firewoods in sacks for cooking later at home with their guardian in West Monastery Street.
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Local Children collecting small firewoods in sacks for cooking later at home with their guardian in West Monastery Street.

© tibhesh - A Carpenter working in front of Mayadevi Temple.
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A Carpenter working in front of Mayadevi Temple.

© tibhesh - A staff member gathers coins from a fountain in Japanese Stupa, which are thrown for good luck by pilgrims.
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A staff member gathers coins from a fountain in Japanese Stupa, which are thrown for good luck by pilgrims.

© tibhesh - Reflection of Mayadevi Temple on the unclean and contaminated pond.
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Reflection of Mayadevi Temple on the unclean and contaminated pond.

© tibhesh - Mayadevi Temple with Ashoka Piller, the exact birthplace of Lord Buddha.
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Mayadevi Temple with Ashoka Piller, the exact birthplace of Lord Buddha.

© tibhesh - Eternal Peace Flame with Stray Dog overlooking the waterway.
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Eternal Peace Flame with Stray Dog overlooking the waterway.

© tibhesh - Pilgrims descending from World Peace Pagoda.
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Pilgrims descending from World Peace Pagoda.

© tibhesh - An old dustbin is in the middle of the ground outside the Sacred Garden.
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An old dustbin is in the middle of the ground outside the Sacred Garden.

© tibhesh - Tourists are happy after visiting the Mayadevi Temple.
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Tourists are happy after visiting the Mayadevi Temple.

© tibhesh - A stray cow is walking as pilgrims are behind on the walkway to Mayadevi Temple.
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A stray cow is walking as pilgrims are behind on the walkway to Mayadevi Temple.

© tibhesh - A board to highlight the Lumbini Masterplan made in 1985 AD.
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A board to highlight the Lumbini Masterplan made in 1985 AD.

© tibhesh - A swamp inside the Lumbini Area.
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A swamp inside the Lumbini Area.

© tibhesh - World Peace Pagoda is designed to be a symbol to unite humanity in a desire for peace, built by Japanese Buddhists.
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World Peace Pagoda is designed to be a symbol to unite humanity in a desire for peace, built by Japanese Buddhists.

© tibhesh - A Buddhist Pilgrim circling around the Ashoka Piller as a tradition of worship.
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A Buddhist Pilgrim circling around the Ashoka Piller as a tradition of worship.

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