What is necessary for a Buddhist place to become marked as sacred? Issues of the development and maintenance of sacred space are more prevalent in present day Lumbini, Nepal, than anywhere in the world. In addition to being an UNESCO World Heritage Site, various organizations and individuals are explicitly attempting to establish and present Lumbini as "the Fountain of World Peace and Holiest Pilgrimage Shrine for all the Buddhists and peace loving people of the world."
However, some visitors aren't quite sure how to experience Lumbini, a land brimming with contradictions. It's a major Buddhist site in the middle of Hindu and Muslim country. It's presented as the "Fountain of World Peace" on the entrance archway, but it lies in what has been a hotbed of Maoist activity during a decade-long insurgency in Nepal. Is it a pilgrimage site or a tourist destination? Can it be both?
Creating Sacred Space is a short documentary that explores these questions by interviewing many Lumbini stakeholders: pilgrims, tourists, monks, nuns, scholars, archaeologists, and village locals. It was created in 2008, by Fulbright Scholars Sam Mowe and Ajay Pillarisetti.