In Lumbini Siddhartha Gautama was born. The monk who found enlightenment 35 years later and thus became the first Buddha. The birthplace was lost and remained a topic of discussion for a long time. After the site was rediscovered it became one of the four most important pilgrimages for Buddhists. All countries with a significant Buddhist community have built a large temple there in recent years and have turned the place into a kind of Buddhist amusement park. We decided to take a look and after a day of bus driving, changing over three times and replacing one flat tire, we reached Lumbini.
The village around the park kind of scruffy and we checked into a dark cheap room for the next two nights. In Thakurdwara we already got use the higher temperatures a little, but the 30 degrees in Lumbini still triggered some sweat. The most important place of the park – the Maya Devi temple – is packed with busloads of monks and other pilgrims from early morning. Especially visitors from India, come over to have a quick look at the temple. We take our shoes of for the first time that day and find a cool and shady spot in the grass to watch the spectacle of the large groups of pilgrims.
We visit at a large number of temples and take off our shoes at least twenty times. The Chinese temple is a mini version of the forbidden city and evokes memories of an impressive days we spent two years ago in the real ‘big’ version. Furthermore, the large white stupa representing Japan is very beautiful. Partly because it is located at the far end of the park at 3 kilometres from the main entrance and is therefore very quiet.
After two nights we leave Lumbini and travel via Bhairawa and Butwal to Tansen. Organizing our trips and catching the right bus in Nepal is not that big of a deal anymore and we swing our backpacks, safely wrapped in our flightbacks on the roofs of one bus after another. In the afternoon we reach the quiet mountain town of Tansen, which is mainly known for its textile industry and produces fabric with the typical Nepalese patterns. We mainly appreciate the beautiful location and relaxed atmosphere. We find a nice homestay and fill up the days with short walks through the town and surrounding forest and mountains. When we cross a watchtower under construction, we are invited to the top of the tower by a group of boys: “Door … other side!” But the tower is so incredibly crooked that we kindly decline. When we walk around the tower, we even discover a giant crack at the foot of the building.
We have booked our flight tickets to Bangkok and only a couple of days to enjoy Nepal remain. From Tansen the bus departs early in the direction of Kathmandu. Actually we do not really feel like the chaos of the Nepalese capital, but we are also curious about how seven weeks of Nepal have changed our point of view to experience Kathmandu once again.