In three-year history of the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Asia’ list, it’s for the first time that a Nepali city has been featured on it.
The birthplace of one of history’s most revered figures, Siddhartha Gautam; Lumbini has figured in Lonely Planet’s 2018 list – a collection of 10 of the best destinations to visit in the continent over the next year.
The panel of travel experts have named Busan (South Korea) , Uzbekistan and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) to the first three spots. Western Ghats (India), Nagasaki (Japan), Chiang Mai (Thailand) have earned the fourth, fifth and sixth spots respectively; followed by Lumbini bagging the seventh spot on the list. Arugam Bay (Sri Lanka), Sichuan Province (China) and Komodo National Park (Indonesia) are the destinations listed after Lumbini.
“For decades, Lumbini was somewhere travellers flashed through en route from India to Nepal, often unaware that they had passed within yards of the birthplace of the historical Buddha. Today, thanks to the efforts of the international Buddhist community, Lumbini is on the ascendancy, but despite its heritage, this sacred site remains a sleepy detour off the backpacker trail”, reads the travel guide publisher’s top 10 list.
“However, change is apace; a new international airport is under construction, offering a new, safer route into Nepal, and ever-more aweing temples are springing up. While these developments may finally be the catalyst that brings Lumbini the attention it deserves, the town’s cardinal draw will remain its tranquillity – embodied by the rare sarus cranes that stalk the wetland around the World Peace Pagoda.”
Home to a number of temples, monasteries and stupas; Lumbini is located 22 km west of Siddharthanagar.
“Asia is such a vast and diverse continent for anyone dreaming of an escape”, said Lonely Planet’s Asia-Pacific Media Spokesperson Chris Zeiher. “Our experts have combed through thousands of recommendations to pick the best destinations to visit over the next 12 months.”