In the 7h and 6h centuries BC Lumbini, located in the Tarai region in the southern part of Nepal, was a beautiful pleasure garden collectively maintained by the Sakyas of Kapilavastu. and the Koliyas of Devadaha or Ramagrama. Twenty-eight kilometres west of Lumbini lies Tilaurakot; the capital of the Sakyas, and 38 kilometres east of Lumbini is Devadaha, the capital of the Koliyas.
Buddhist literature describes Lumbini as a pradimoksha-vana blessed with blooming sal trees and masses of beautiful flowers, and as a place where bees of five colours hum The sweet warbling of various birds and other natural scenery in Lumbini was -ompared to the Chittalata (mind-captivating) grove of Indra’s paradise in heaven ( Ven. Kausalyayana, 66:1985).
Lumbini apart from being a pleasure garden for the youths of the two republics, also nurtured contemplative and aesthetic values. Even the Buddha at the time of his Mahaparinirvana eloquently recommended from his deathbed at Kushinagara that all faithful followers and devotees of his order visit it (Pandey, 3:1995).
Maya the queen of that god-like king, bore in her womb the glory of her race and being in her purity free from weariness, sorrow and illusion set her mind on the sin- forest called Lumbini. In her longing for the lovely forest as suited to trance she -quested the king to go and stay in the grove that was gay like the garden of Caitraratha with trees of every kind (Asvaghosa, 2: 1972).
Many verses of the Suttanipata contain descriptions of Lumbini. The Pali Tripitakas id Attakathas mention Lumbini forest within the Sakya janapada, while the Nalaka sutta mentions it as Lumbini gama (village). Lumbini village was still in existence hen Emperor Asoka visited Lumbini in his pilgrimage tour in the P century BC, as mentioned in his commemorative pillar at Lumbini (Lummini game). The Papancha- and the Jataka stories give the location of Lumbini as being near the Devadaha gama (Upadhyaya, 145,298-300: 2018 BS).
The pleasant wood hallowed by the birth of the Lord Buddha and known as Lumbini Vana, according to the Jataka Atthakatha Nidan, lies between Kapilavastu and -vadaha. It was a pleasure grove common to both the Sakyas and Koliyas, and aparently a place of entertainment for the people from both the states. There was common access to the grove of Lumbini for both the states, as mentioned in several Whist texts, such as the Digha Nikaya, Attha-kathas and Samyukta Nikaya -adhan, 15:1997).
The establishment of Lumbini Garden took place in the following manner:Suprabuddha, endowed according to the narration of the Vinaya vatthu, with intelligence and born to the king of Devadaha and his Queen Sudha, came to have as his queen a king’s daughter known as Lumbini, ‘good woman of the city’. A rich householder had a pleasure grove that was a place for recreation near Devadaha, the capital city of the Koliyas. It was a place perfectly blessed with the finest water, flowers and fruits, and the warbling of various birds, a place which one might wish for oneself The king and his group of queens sometimes went there to amuse themselves.
Queen Lumbini, liking that pleasant garden and wanting to own it, requested the king to grant it to her. However, the king told her that this would not be appropriate, since it belonged to the householder. Because of the queen’s longing for the garden, he assured her that he would make one even better than it in another place.
A different garden was thus created in a place with perfect abundance of water, where there were varieties of fruits and many lotus flowers growing on land and in marshes-more even than were in the garden grove of the householder and meadows around it. This place was home to various kinds of bird including peacocks, parrots and mynas, whose captivating and beautiful warbling could be heard all around, and various kinds of animals, such as elephants and deer, that roamed around peacefully. The king, made this place into a wonderful paradise, a divine garden, with mansions, pleasure groves and ponds. Having been created for the queen,it was named Lumbini (Gyatso, 20-21:1986).
Lumbini Devi is also spelled as Rupa Devi (‘beautiful woman’) or Rummindei (the queen of King Anjana of Devadaha) (Mishra, 36:1996).
Later Rummindei was pronounced as Lummindei, and still later, as Lumbini. The name Rummin is practically identical with Lumbini or Lummini, the form written in the inscription in the Magadhi language, in which medial or initial ‘r’ of Sanskrit is always replaced by 7′(Mukherji, 6:1969).
Fa-hsien gives the name of the garden as Lum-min, and the king’s park as Lummin or Lumbini, while Yuan Chwang called it La-Fa-Ni Grove (Watters, 15:1973).
Alexander Cunningham, who discovered many Buddhist sites in the Indian sub-continent, interpreted La-Fa-Ni of Yuan Chwang accounts to correspond to Lavani in Sanskrit, which means ‘a beautiful woman’ (Cunningham, 14:1975
Five kilometres west of Lumbini, in fact, lies a village called Lavani. According to Fo-Kwe-Ki, Lumbini had at one time also been called Paradimoksha, and it is interesting that a village close to Lumbini is named Padariya, a name derived from older word (Mishra, 36:1996).