Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini
|Maya Devi Temple|
Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini, Nepal
Maya Devi Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple situated at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini, Nepal. It is the main temple at Lumbini, a site traditionally considered the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. The temple stands adjacent to a sacred pool (known as Puskarni) and a sacred garden. The archaeological remains at the site were previously dated to the third-century BCE brick buildings constructed by Ashoka the Great. A sixth-century BCE timber shrine was discovered in 2013.
- 2013 discovery 1
- See also 2
- References 3
- External links 4
- Further reading 5
In November 2013, an international team of archaeologists digging under the temple discovered the remains of an ancient tree shrine dated before 550 BCE, which is possibly the earliest evidence of Buddhist structures ever found and possibly the first archaeological evidence of Gautama Buddha's life. The excavation was headed by Robin Coningham of Durham University, UK, and Kosh Prasad Acharya of the Pashupati Area Development Trust, Nepal. According to Coningham, the shrine is "the earliest Buddhist shrine in the world."
The discovery was made at a site traditionally thought to be the birthplace of the Buddha, under a series of brick temples below the current temple. The research also revealed the presence of fragments of mineralised tree roots, which is consistent with the Buddhist tradition that associates shrines with trees: Siddhartha Gautama is said to have been born beneath a sal tree, while his mother, Queen Maya Devi, supported herself by holding a tree branch after his birth.
- Coningham RAE, Acharya KP, Strickland KM et al. (2013) The earliest Buddhist shrine: excavating the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini (Nepal). Antiquity 87: 1104–1123