Today on May 18 we celebrate the life of Buddha, a special day commemorating his teachings
Today marks a special day celebrated amongst Hindu and Buddhist devotees, Buddha Jayanti is when people commemorate the life of Lord Buddha; his Birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana (Death).
This day recognises Buddha as an enlightened teacher who attained full enlightenment and shared his insights to help people break away from the cycle of suffering and death. This festival is really auspicious for Nepalis and is widely celebrated in different parts of the country.
Lumbini holds great religious significance since it is where he first took seven steps and uttered a timeless message to all humanity. Along with Lumbini, Tilaurakot or Kapilvastu - where Buddha spent his first 29 years, Devdaha - his maternal home, and other sacred places and monasteries all over Kathmandu are crowded with followers on the day of Buddha Jayanti. Activities at the main Buddhist stupas and shrines begin at dawn and continue till late in the evening. Sacred chantings, lighting of butter lamps, making koras and the turning of prayer wheels is key in their prayers.
In Kathmandu valley, pilgrims from far and wide honour Lord Buddha at the two great stupas Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and the largely Buddhist city of Patan. The day is celebrated in full revelry, butter lamps sway with the warm breeze, colourful prayer flags flutter along and whiff of burning incense sticks ensues a calm in the crowd.