literature has fine descriptions of these four places, but the actual sites with their
relics were slowly being lost to us. King Asoka had visited Lumbini and beautiful
descriptions of Lumbini Park have been given in various books in Buddhist literature.
Fa-Hien in the 5th century A.D. and Hieun-Tsang in the 7th century A.D. had visited
Lumbini and their accounts are available to us.
But in a way it was left to Sir
Alexander Cunningham, the famous Indian Archaeologist, to discover the site of
Lumbini and that only in 1896 A.D. Cunningham found the fragments of the pillar,
with the inscription typical Asokan pillar that was lying in oblivion mentions that Buddha
Sakyamuni was born here and that King Piyadashi Asoka had visited this spot.
The discovery of the pillar by Cunningham fixed the identity of Lumbini. Although Bodh
Gaya did not have that darkness of oblivion like Lumbini, yet the great Mahabodhi Vihara
at Bodh Gaya, so very intimately associated with Lord Buddha, had come to be neglected for
centuries. Fa-Hien and Hieun-Tsang had also visited this place in the 5th and the 7th
centuries A.D. respectively.