President Bidya Devi Bhandari concluded her four-day state visit to Burma on 19 October by inaugurating an exhibition on Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Property, in Yangon’s iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. Nepali foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali and Burma’s Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko were also present at the event.
The exhibition titled ‘Lumbini, Where I was Born’ brings glimpses of the Buddha’s birthplace to the Burmese audience and showcases Buddhist archaeological sites of importance.
“It is a great honor to organize an exhibition in Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred site in Burma, holding relics of the four previous Buddhas of this era,” said Vice Chair Ven Metteyya Sakyaputta of the Lumbini Development Trust. “Given that three of the past four Buddhas were born in present-day Nepal, as recorded by Emperor Asoka’s pillars, there perhaps could not be more ideal venue than this iconic gilded stupa area to showcase Lumbini and the surrounding sacred sites.”
The exhibit particularly highlights the pivotal role of U Thant, the then Burmese Secretary-General of the United Nations, in the development of Lumbini. When Thant first visited Lumbini in 1967, he was moved to tears and was determined to turn the nativity site into an international center for peace.