Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

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Posts Tagged ‘Kenzo Tange’

Kenzo Tange Master Plan for Lumbini

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 17, 2013


When U Thant visited Nepal in April 1967 as Secretary-General of the United Nations, he proposed the development of Lumbini into a major centre of pilgrimage. This was followed by a UNDP consultant mission in December 1969, which led to a report that established the basis for further planning around Lumbini.

In 1970, the International Committee for the Development of Lumbini (ICDL) was set up comprising initially of 13 members and later expanded to 16 member states. The initial member states were Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Later, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Republic of Korea also joined. At the national level, the Lumbini Development Committee was formed. ICDL initiated the preparation of the Master Plan for Lumbini, which was conceptualized by Kenzo Tange starting from 1972. The Kenzo Tange Master Plan was finalized and approved in 1978. Read the rest of this entry »


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Greater Lumbini Master Plan: A Herculean Task Ahead

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 6, 2012


Dahal has a tall hill to climb‚ as the Greater Lumbini Project will be almost ten times costly than Lumbini alone. It is a Herculean task indeed. The need of revisiting the present rather ambitious Lumbini plan without diluting its sanctity and concepts has already been expressed in different quarters

Lumbini is again in the news, after remaining in the sidelines for a long time, following the formation of a high level committee chaired by the former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. And, why shouldn’t it be when it is the birthplace of Buddha? Buddha’s notion that there is suffering in the world with desire as its cause has touched the heart and mind of innumerable people around the globe. It is unfortunate that Lumbini should face developmental constraints due to shortage of funds.

This is, however, not the first time that Lumbini has been virtually raised from the ashes in its three thousand year history. It came into prominence in 563 BC when Buddha was born. Lumbini was in the limelight during the visit of Emperor Ashoka, who erected the Lumbini pillar bearing an inscription of the birth of Buddha in 249 BC. Lumbini appears to have started to fall into oblivion as none of the visiting Chinese travelers Mr Yuch Chih in the fourth century, Mr. Fa Hsien in the fifth century and Mr. Yuan Chwang in the seventh make a mention of the all important Lumbini pillar inscription, implying that it was buried in the earth, and nobody bothered to maintain it which reflects serious neglect. It is reiterated by the observation of the horse capital of Lumbini pillar lying on the ground by Mr. Wang Hiuen Tse remaining unattended again in the seventh century. Lumbini was still well known as a Buddist religious site till the visit of Ripu Malla in the year 1312, which is evident from the inclusion of a popular Buddhist verse om mani padmeham in his inscription. But, after that the popularity of Lumbini seems to have taken a nose dive, as Khadga Shamsher had to clear several feet of earth around the Lumbini pillar, when he visited it in the year 1896 along with Mr. Fuhrer. It was given a new lease of life by Kaisher Shamsher in 1928, when he did some construction work. The visit of U Thant, the United Nations General Secretary in the 1950s, was instrumental for the present revival of Lumbini. He mobilized the international community leading to the formation of an International Committee for the development of Lumbini under the umbrella of the United Nations. This international move triggered the inception of Lumbini Development Committee in an effort to coordinate works at the national level.  Read the rest of this entry »

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LUMBINI: Mikel Dunham’s interview with UNESCO’s Axel Plathe

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 11, 2012

Axel Plathe is the Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Nepal. Mikel Dunham spoke to him in his office in Kathmandu, March 6, 2012.

-Archeological investigation-Jan-2011


DUNHAM: Perhaps the best way to begin is for you to describe UNESCO’s interest and involvement with Lumbini.

PLATHE: As you know, the site was inscribed in 1997 in the World Heritage list. Since then UNESCO has been engaged in Lumbini more or less strongly. We have particularly been helping, throughout the years, since the inscription, in managing the site. We have helped the government in establishing an approach on how to manage this World Heritage site.

We have also helped the government in the very cumbersome and heavy reporting exercise that the World Heritage Convention requests from state parties to the Convention.

Every second year, the state party, (in this case the government of Nepal), has to submit a report on the status of preservation of Lumbini. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lumbini Master Plan

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 10, 2011

The United Nations Development Programme contributed nearly one million dollars for preparation of a Master Plan for the development of Lumbini, including numerous engeering and archaeological studies. The plan, which was completed in 1978, has as its objecive to restore an area of about 7.7 kM2, to be known as the Lumbini Garden, centering on the garden and the Ashoka Pillar, with an additional area of 64.5 km2 to be developed in its support.


UN Secretary General                                                                                                         Prof Kenzo Tange 
Late U Thant

According to architect Kenzo Tange, “the overall intent is to reinforce the symbolic entity of the Lumbini Garden in its simplicity and clarity’.. Development will provide for visitors to Lumbini – pilgrims and tourists – and will also support such complementary activities as residence of monks, research, international meetings and teachings.

Masterplan Map

Within the plan for the development of Lumbini Garden, there are three main components:

1. New Lumbini Village

2. The Cultural Centre/Monastic Zone

3. The Sacred Garden

The design is oriented north-south,with Lumbini Village and Cultural Centre north, and the focus of the design – the Sacred Garden – to the. south. On either side of the axis towards its southern end are the monastic enclaves. The entire development is tied together by a central link comprised of a walkway and a canal.

  The design is oriented north-south,with Lumbini Village and Cultural Centre north, and the focus of the design – the Sacred Garden – to the. south. On either side of the axis towards its southern end are the monastic enclaves. The entire development is tied together by a central link comprised of a walkway and a canal.

This central link establishes the solitude and sanctity of the Sacred Garden,with its pillar and spectacular panorama of the Himalaya, and offers pilgrims time and space to prepare themselves as they approach the Sacred Garden.

The Monastic zone is situated in the forest area north of the Sacred garden, divided by a canal, there are East and West Monastic Enclaves having 42 plots each allotted for new monasteries of Theravada and Mahayana sects of Buddhism. Nearby, across the central link bridge, a research center, a library, an auditorium, and a museum provide facilities for research and study on Buddhism.

The Northern part of the site is being developed as the New Lumbini Village which is also a gateway to the outer world where the visitors can find comfortable lodges and restaurants offering high standard facilities.

Concerning the birth of the Lord Buddha here, the Chinese account articulates a very interesting incident saying that Queen Mayadevi, mother of the lord had a bath at the pool here and then grasped the branch of a tree facing the east, she brought forth the Lord on the ground thus, making Lumbini a sacred place. It is also said that Lord Buddha walked seven steps as soon as he stepped on the mother earth. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 1, 2011

                                                   ©UNESCO/Nipuna Shrestha – Maya Devi temple in Lumbini

Lumbini, as the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is a sacred place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from across the world. The historic site, located in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, some 300km southwest of the capital Kathmandu, was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 1997. The holy area contains the ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashoka Pillar and the Maya Devi Temple with a the Nativity Sculpture and the Marker Stone indicating the place of Lord Buddha’s birth.

 About the Project

The project “Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini; the Birthplace of Lord Buddha, World Heritage Property” is funded by the Government of Japan within the framework of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage.

The project is being implemented by the UNESCO Kathmandu Office, in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology of Nepal’s Ministry of Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliament Affairs and Culture, and the Lumbini Development Trust.

The project implementation started with the signature of the Plan of Operation on 16 July 2010 by the Government of Nepal and UNESCO. The project takes into account urgent and critical works focused on conserving the outstanding universal value of the site and protecting it from any irreversible negative impacts by fostering the conservation of the Ashoka Pillar, the Marker Stone and the Nativity Sculpture; providing a survey of the archaeological vestiges within and around the property; a review on the present state of the Sacred Garden in respect to the Kenzo Tange Master Plan; and establishing an integrated management process for the entire site.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal Zen: Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace, is a major world pilgrimage site that strongly conveys that aura of spirit of place

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 8, 2010

Augusto Villalon Philippine Daily Inquirer

The airlines on the tarmac at the Kathmandu airport were definitely local: Druk, Cosmic, Yeti, Sita.

And then there was Buddha Air, which, ever so appropriately, was the airline that took us to the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, a World Heritage site in Lumbini in the flat, rice-growing landscape of southern Nepal. It was an arid place in the postharvest summer season of our visit. Read the rest of this entry »

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