Captured by the Author on April 4th, 2012. (from Wikipedia.org) -- Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath.
On the way to the Mayadevi Temple (Birthplace of Buddha) on April 4th, 2012
Inside the Lumbini Development Trust in Lumbini, Nepal on April 4th, 2012
Balanced on a narrow ridge high above Phewa Tal (Lake), the brilliant-white World Peace Pagoda in Pok...
On a perfectly clear day, the reflection of the majestic Annapurna Range on Lake Phewa would make for...
First day trekking on the Annapurna trail to Muktinath. Passed many other trekkers and small villages...
At 3200m (10,500ft), Poon Hill lies in the foothills of the Annapurnas in the Himilayas. Whilst it is...
At 3210m, Poon Hill would have qualified for a mountain elsewhere but not in Nepal where mountains ab...
From the Begnas Lake Resort you have a beautiful view of the Begnas lake and the Annapurna massif.
The calm after the storm. Most evenings here in April it would storm and the following morning would ...
Some hours by foot away north of the Begnas - Lake you found these magnificent vantage point. In good...
Nepal lies between India and China and it contains Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. The Himalayas here are pretty rugged terrain.
The first civilizations here date to 600 BC in the Kathmandu valley, where the capital is now located. According to Buddhist tenets, the Buddha was born here in 563 BC, incarnating as Prince Siddhartha Gautama and leading the world to enlightenment through liberation from suffering. Many small temples and shrines like this one exist for Buddhists to stop and offer prayers.
Early support of Buddhism gradually gave way to Hinduism and today Nepal is the world's only Hindu monarchy. The kingdom of Nepal was united in 1768 by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who fled the Moghul invasions of India. Soon after that there was a period of conflict with the British East India Company leading to a treaty recognizing the independence of Nepal -- in 1923!
After WWII Nepal was ruled by monarchy but it arrived at the 1990's split by an official ban on political parties. Intense protest by the pro-democracy movement and the Maoist guerrilla Communist movement led to free elections in 1991, only to be followed by violence between the Nepalese government and Maoist guerillas.
Since the turn of the millennium there have been several important steps taken in the peace process, including a new Constitution for Nepal and a cease fire agreement with the rebels. A compromise government was achieved whereby a Maoist was elected prime minister without his taking control of the armed forces of the country.
At the time of this writing it has been one week since the compromise government has collapsed. We offer our hopes that the citizens and government of this beautiful country will come to a peaceful agreement soon.
Text by Steve Smith.