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Mayadevi Maternity trail to be promoted in Lumbini



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By Laxman Paudel
Bhairahawa, Jan. 12: The path that Mayadevi took while travelling from Lumbini to Kapilvastu after giving birth to Siddhartha Gautam is now going to be promoted as the Mother Mayadevi Maternity Path. The path will start from Lumbini, pass through Padariya, Manauri, Sibalwa, Bijuwa, Sisahaniya, Dohani and Niglihawa and end at Tilaurakot, the capital of the ancient Shakya Kingdom.
A few days ago, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to Nepal Christian Manhart and Consultant Thomas Scorm cycled the entire length of the path to boost tourism in the area.
Manhart said that he came to study and observe the route after the World Bank showed an interest in developing it as the Mayadevi Trail. “UNESCO and the World Bank will now conduct joint studies,” he said, adding, “Then we will begin discussions on how to develop it.”
Manhart expressed that the rural atmosphere, lush greenery and clean environment were enchanting. “The trail will hold special significance for followers of Buddha who will feel much reverence and faith while walking the same path that Mayadevi once trod,” he said.
The idea for the pathway was proposed four years ago by Bikram Pandey, tourism expert and goodwill ambassador of Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), as a way to promote Lumbini and Kapilvastu.
“Buddhists and peace-lovers will be eager to retrace the steps that Mayadevi took with her infant and touch the same soil her feet touched,” Pandey said. He also informed that he was the first one to approach the World Bank about the feasibility of the maternity path.
The route was originally discovered by senior archaeologist Basanta Bidari, who has been conducting research on Buddha’s birth site for a long time.
Project Head of LDT, Saroj Bhattarai told The Rising Nepal that the trust had also formed a three-member committee under Bidari to study the pathway.
“Many want to walk on Nepali land, the land that gave the world the ultimate icon of non-violence - Gautam Buddha,” Pandey said, adding that the place would provide spiritual energy to the visitors.
Furthermore, LDT and stakeholders are also organising a walk on the path to mark the full moon day of the bright fortnight of the Nepali month of Falgun. It is considered to be the day when Gautam Buddha went to Kapilvastu for the first time after attaining enlightenment.
The walk will be open to participants of all ages and the distance has been fixed according to the participant’s age. Small children will only have to walk seven steps. Older kids will walk 77 metres and seven centimetres. Adults will walk seven kilometres and 77 meters and senior citizens will walk 777 metres. Four sevens hold a special importance in Lord Buddha’s life.
After walking, everyone will be offered rice pudding as the Prasad. It is said that Buddha once ate rice pudding while meditating which gave him a lot of energy and helped him attain enlightenment.
There are around 1.5 billion Buddhists in the world. There are plans to promote the maternity trail at an international level to help attract Buddhist pilgrims from various countries. 

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