When the then Indian Emporor Ashoka visited Lumbini village in 249BC a stone pillar was errected to mark the occasion. The pillar was rediscovered 1896 and the tranlation dictates Lumbini a tax-free status. It is the oldest inscription in Nepal.
The inscription is translated as reading:
"King Piyadasi (Ashoka), beloved of devas, in the 20th year of the coronation, himself made a royal visit, Buddha Sakyamuni having been born here; a stone railing was built and a stone pillar erected to the Bhagavan having been born here, Lumbini village was taxed reduced and entitled to the eight part (only)"
View a full sized photograph of the Ashoka pillar here. Or read the facinating history behind Emporer Ashoka's conversion to Buddhisim and his visit to Lumbini here.
Read more in this free Lumbini travel guide ...