Lumbini readies to host Buddhist summit

The Himalayan Times, November 8, 2004

Bhairahawa, Nepal -- Preparations for the Second World Buddhist Summit, which is scheduled to start on November 30, are on the final stage, the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) said today.

LDT?s member secretary, Angdawa Sherpa, said construction works are on to meet the master plan, as the city will be welcoming foreign dignitaries and that Lumbini will be declared an international peace city during the summit.

Some crucial work under the Lumbini Master Plan are being completed to add to the beauty and to relate the significance of the place to Buddhist monks and scholars from 40 countries.

Construction of two ponds in the east and north of Maya Devi Holy Garden and their link to the central canal is on. The bus park and holy areas have been expanded. Construction of road along the central canal and around the ponds is on the last stage.

Sherpa said preparation will be over within mid-November. The Lumbini Master Plan, which was drafted 25 years ago, is yet to be completed. Historians said development work in Lumbini began with the visit of emperor Asok in 249 BC. The place got its deserved publicity after Dr Anton Fuehrer and Khadka Shamsher JB Rana found a monument built by Ashoka in December 1, 1896. Late King Mahendra ordered the development of Lumbini garden after the Fourth International Buddhist Conference held in Kathmandu in 1956.

The International Lumbini Development Committee (LDC) was formed in 1967. It appointed Japanese architect Kenzo Tange to prepare the Lumbini development master plan.Only 40 per cent work of the plan has been completed. The work was delayed as it was difficult to complete it without foreign support.