Monograph on Buddha Sakyamuni’s Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai


In the 1870s, the Archaeological Survey of India undertook a series of expeditions to increase understanding of the early history of India and to further the preservation of important monuments and ruins. In 1896 German archaeologist Alois Anton Führer (1853–1930) received permission from the government of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh and the government of India to carry out an expedition to Nepal. Führer generally is credited with discovering the birthplace of Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, was born in about 563 B.C. at the gardens of Lumbini, in the Nepalese foothills of the Himalayas. The birthplace later became a site for pilgrimages, and among the pilgrims in 249 B.C. was Emperor Ashoka of India, a devout Buddhist. Ashoka erected a commemorative pillar with the words: “Here the Worshipful One was born.” For reasons that are not known, after the 15th century Lumbini ceased to attract visitors and its temples fell into ruins. Accompanied by the governor of the province, General Khadga Shamsher, Führer discovered Ashoka’s pillar, which, with other evidence, confirmed Lumbini as the birthplace of the Buddha. This monograph, published in 1897, documents the finding of the pillar and the other results of the expedition. Lumbini is one of the four holy places of Buddhism and was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

Last updated: September 18, 2015