Lumbini is a world-renowned Buddhist pilgrimage site nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas, in Nepal. The city is home to the whitewashed Maya Devi Temple – a testament to the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), as well as ancient Emperor Asoka’s inscribed pillar. Boasting a collection of historical monuments, ruins of ancient monasteries, and places of interest from the Buddha’s early life, Lumbini is now an expansive sacred complex connected by walkways and canals. Its lush cover of peepal trees with a central Sal grove, rows of prayer flags fluttering about, and the ‘Pushkarini’ sacred pond shaded by a Bodhi tree, offer a scenic landscape. Soaking in the peaceful atmosphere – the devout are often found meditating along with resident monks within Lumbini’s gardens. Buddhist countries from around the world have also built elaborate structures within the grounds, where you can go monastery hopping.The gleaming white Shanti Stupa nearby stands as a symbol of harmony and world peace. The rare Sarus cranes might be found hanging out in the surrounding wetlands.