where was Buddha born?
The straight answer to this question is absolutely 'yes, in present Nepal's Lumbini'. The Lumbini Ashokan inscription is the evidence. Alongside the Lumbini garden; are Bodha Gaya in Bihar, Kushinagar, [Kshauvati in Jatak Katha, the Capital City of Malla] in Utter Pradesh and Sarnath, also in Utter Pradesh. These are the other Buddhist holiest places in the Indian Subcontinent closely related to life and death of the Buddha. Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar are near Nepal border whereas Saranath [also called Isipatana in Pali Canon, is near Vanaras] in Uttar Pradesh. Being in the proximity of Lumbini, these holiest sites also offer themselves as another proof that Buddha was born here in Nepal's Lumbini. If the Buddha were born in Orissa or somewhere else, these kinds of holy sites would have also certainly been near Orissa or somewhere else by some different names.
The Buddha came to this world, obtained enlightenment, preached his 'dharma' and died in those four different holy places. Except for those four different places, he does not seem to have visited some other places in his life. So there should be no question at all whether the Buddha was born in Orissa or had ever visited it. It is therefore relevant to put here the widely acclaimed native Orrisa historian Prof. Karuna Sagar Behera's view in this connection.
Prof. Behera said, "The Buddha was neither born in Orissa nor visited the place during his lifetime." 36, But he added that Orrisa contributed immensely to the growth and development of Buddhism in the Indian sub-continent. Keeping in view, the paramount historical and religious importance, of these four holiest Buddhist pilgrimages, concerned governments should always endeavour to preserve them and develop for tourism and education also. These governments should also keep close eyes on school curricula exclusively on matters relating to the birth place of the Buddha so that coming generations would receive correct information and no chances would be left wide open for any kind of antagonism between the peoples of these two neighbouring countries.
Additionally at the end, there were no boundaries that we have today in between Nepal and India when the Buddha was born. We do not know for sure whether these two countrynames ever existed then. Here is a quote from George Curzon, former Viceroy of India but earlier a geographer who trekked through the Pamirs and wrote a book about it: "The idea of a demarcated frontier is itself an essentially modern conception which finds little or no place in the ancient world." 37And, Prof. Michael Witzel 38 of Harvard University says, "Between 1816 and 1864, the Buddha was born, at Lumbini (Rummindei), in British India. Before and after that date: in Nepal"