Global Vipassana Pagoda

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Tags : Buddhist Temple

Timings : 6.30 AM to 6.45 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai Overview

It is tough to imagine that one of the quietest and most peaceful spaces can exist right in the middle of the busy suburbs of Gorai in Mumbai. The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a meditation hall shaped like a dome with a capacity to seat of 8,000 devotees and Vipassana practitioners. Along with admiring the serenely mesmerizing Pagoda located on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. Another interesting facet of the monument is that it has been completely through donations. Visitors can take a short 10-minute Aanapana Meditation session to experience how invaluable the technique of meditation is and then decide if they want to enrol for a long term course. No matter what the verdict is, a trip to the Global Pagoda will be worthwhile.

The Global Vipassana Pagoda was built as a token of gratitude towards a Vipassana teacher and Accountant General of Independent Burma, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who was instrumental in bringing Vipassana back to its country of origin after it ceased to exist in India. Many visitors frequent the Global Pagoda during the stressful and painful phases of their lives and manage to achieve total harmony in the chaotic times of today. It is also considered to one of the seven wonders of the state of Maharashtra.

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History of Global Vipassana Pagoda

The Global Pagoda's planning began in 1997, but the actual construction started only in 2000. The idea of constructing a Global Pagoda was proposed by Shree S.N.Goenka, to spread the true teachings of Lord Buddha. Over the years, religious dogmas prevailed, and the correct path of Dhamma was forgotten. These lessons had to be instilled again in the minds of people who were blinded by the religious dogmas and the introduction to an improved way of life was required to increase tolerance and maintain peace and harmony in the world.

Acharya Goenkaji firmly believed that the Pagoda would serve as a helpful vehicle to spread the true meaning of Dhamma and inculcate the age-old technique of Vipassana that ceased to exist nearly two million years ago. For the exemplary work put in by Acharya Goenkaji, he was awarded the title of Padma Bhushan in the year 2012 on the occasion of Republic Day. A little over a year later, on 6th June 2013, the Global Pagoda was included in the list of the Seven Wonders of Maharashtra for its development, architecture and purpose.

Architecture of Global Vipassana Pagoda

The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been constructed on 13 acres of land and is an illustration of the traditional Buddhist architecture with traditional Burmese designs. The Burmese designs have been included in the structure as a sign of respect and gratitude towards Myanmar for preserving the practice of Vipassana Meditation. The dome-shaped pagoda is a combination of ancient and modern Indian technology, and its shape is a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda (Golden Pagoda), Myanmar, which makes the structure strong enough to stay put for at least a thousand years.

The entire structure is covered in gold coloured paint, and the spire or the shikhara of the pagoda is covered in real gold that was donated by the Burmese. The spire is topped with a decorative piece that resembles an umbrella. The humongous inner dome enables 8000 people to practice Vipassana meditation together at one time. The entrance doors are made of wood that has been hand-carved intricately in Myanmar.   

The foundation of the structure is made of Basalt rocks, and the dome is made from sandstone that was brought from Rajasthan. Each sandstone block weighs around 600 to 700 kilograms and is secured in place with the help of bricks designed to interlock. These uniquely designed bricks and lime mortar hold the sandstone in place and help the structure stand for several years. The large pillar-less dome, in the centre, has a height of 29 meters. The entire structure of the pagoda is 96.12 meters tall. The interior of the pagoda is hollow and serves the purpose of a huge meditation hall; which covers an area of 6000 square metres. The top of the pagoda is completed with a large crystal. 

Courses Offered at Global Vipassana Pagoda

Beginner Course: The beginner course is a 10-day course during which they have to follow the course rules and regulations that include adhering to the timetable, not harming any living being, no sexual misconduct, no lies and no consumption of intoxicants. The students practice ten hours of meditation every day (includes regular breaks). The first three days are to develop concentration through Aanapana and the next seven days are for complete Vipassana Practice. On the last day, the Metta Bhavana technique of meditation is taught and practised. These courses are bilingual and can be attended by participants who do not understand regional languages.

10-day Executive Course: These courses are introductory courses planned especially for Business Executives, Entrepreneurs and Government Officials  

Old Students Short-term Course: The participants who have completed at least one 10-day program are considered as old students. They can enrol for a 3-day short course each year to stay updated with the technique.  

Advanced Courses: This includes the same timetable as that for the beginner courses, however, the duration and the intensity of meditation is a little more advanced. Participants can choose between 20, 30, 45 and 60 days of course periods.

Children's Course: These courses are designed to help children in the age group 8 to 12 years learn meditation.

Tips For Visiting Global Pagoda

1. Please maintain silence on the premises.
2. Do not litter the site.
3. Carry your ID proof. The management doesn't allow anyone without an Identity Proof.
4. The last ferry leaves at 5:00 PM from the Gorai Creek.

Purpose of The Pagoda

It is a meditation hall constructed in traditional Buddhist architecture. The primary objective of the pagoda is to show gratitude towards Gautama Buddha for diffusing the universal teaching of eradicating misery caused mainly due to material attachment. It also plays an integral part in revealing the actual truth of Buddha's life and his non-sectarian lessons and provides a space to practice Vipassana Meditation. 

How To Reach Global Vipassana Pagoda

Private Transport Route To Reach Global Pagoda
Visitors have to take the Western Express Highway from any location in Mumbai and travel towards Mira-Bhayandar (or towards Borivali/ Dahisar or Ahemadabad). From Mira-Bhayandar, they need to travel further till the Gold Nest Circle, take a left from the circle and drive further till they come across an evident right turn on the route a little ahead of Maxus Mall. From there, visitors need to travel further till they reach a T-Junction. Take a left at the T-Junction.

Further, visitors can follow the signboards that lead them to the Esselworld Parking Lot. From there, drive a few metres ahead and take a right turn. This road leads to the Esselworld Entrance.

Visitors will have to inform the Security Guards that they are heading towards the Pagoda. From the entrance, they need to drive further till they see a right turn by a helipad. This route leads to the Sachi Arch and the Global Pagoda.

Public Transport Routes To Reach Global Pagoda
Visitors can get down on the Western Railway Mumbai Suburban Line at Borivali Station and exit the station on the western side. From here, head to the Chandavarkar Road. They can opt to take BEST busses (Bus number 294 and 247) or hire auto-rickshaws to reach Gorai Creek which is about 4 kilometres away.

From the Gorai Creek, the journey needs to be continued on a boat to reach the other side. One can choose between the Local Boat Service (INR 5) and the Esselworld Ferry Service (INR 50). If one chooses to take the Esselworld Ferry Service, they will reach the Esselworld Jetty. From there, they will have to walk to the Pagoda whereas if they take a local boat ride, they will have to hire another auto ride or take a bus ride (bus number 711) to reach the Pagoda.

The ones travelling from Bhayandar Station (West) can take the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Transport (MBMT). Bus route number 4 will take them to the Global Vipassana Pagoda.

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