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Lumbini, 190km south of Pokhara, was where Siddharta Guatama – the Nepalese prince who would later become the founder of the Buddhist faith – first saw the light of day in the mid-sixth century BC. His mother, Maya Devi, is said to have given birth to him in gardens here while resting on the way to her parent’s house. Excavations in 1895 revealed remnants of an ancient palace, as well as an inscribed pillar commemorating the pilgrimage of the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, whose conversion to Buddhism helped spread the faith across ancient India in the 3rd century BC. Saffron-robed monks meditate at the foot of a sacred Bodhi tree, festooned in prayer flags. The most impressive sights here, however, are the temples erected nearby by various nation states.