One of Mumbai’s classic attractions, The Global Vipassana Pagoda have a Meditation Dome Hall with a capacity to seat around 8,000 Vipassana meditators, the largest such meditation hall in the world and the architecture to make your senses calm. Buddhism and I have a bit of a history. I have grew up listening and reciting Buddhist Chants and pay a visit to Pagoda every month. My father is a follower of Buddhism since year 1994. Buddhism, like most of the great religions of the world, is divided into a number of different traditions. However, most traditions share a common set of fundamental beliefs – The Inner Peace and Love Towards the Others.
Global Vipassana was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, former President of India on February 8th, 2009. It is located exactly adjacent to famous Excel World (the 90’s kid wonderland) at Gorai Creek. The best, convenient and cheapest way is to travel by ferry from Gorai Village, Borevali. There are two options for this: take the Essel World Ferry Service, costing INR 50 for a return trip, or the Local Ferry Service, costing INR 5 for a one-way trip. Although you can travel by car or bus, but Mumbai and Traffic Jams are synonyms.
How did I reached:
From Borivali Station, I head to western exit gates of the station (for the train from Churchgate, the exit is on the left). Hired an auto rickshaw to Gorai Jetty and he charged INR 50 for 2 person, took around 15 mins to reached. We took the Essel World Ferry and it dropped us at Essel World gate and from there we walked for a kilometer (appx 10 mins) to reach the Pagoda.
Alternate: There is Bus also (number 294) which will drop you at Gorai Jetty from Borevali Station and charge INR 6 per person.
I always enjoy the ferry ride, one of the most beautiful things to do in the world. The sound of calm sea is a best therapy to rejuvenate the soul. Helping you to connect with your inner self.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of gratitude to Sayagyi U Ba Khin (1899 – 1971), Vipassana teacher and the first Accountant-General of Independent Burma, who was instrumental in Vipassana returning to India, the country of its origin.
The Pagoda is built of traditional Burmese design, it’s an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar for preserving the practice of Vipassana. The shape of the Pagoda is a copy of the Shwedagon Pagoda (Golden Pagoda) in Yangon, Myanmar. It was built combining ancient Indian and modern technology to enable it to last for a thousand years.
The center of the Global Vipassana Pagoda contains the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. The height of the dome is approximately 29m, while the height of the building is 96.12m, which is twice the size of the previously largest hollow stone monument in the world, the Gol Gumbaz Dome in Bijapur, India.
Built entirely through voluntary donations and the purpose of the Global Vipassana Pagoda is to: 1) share information about Vipassana, and 2) remove misconceptions about the Gautama, the Buddha and his teachings. Ten-days Vipassana meditation courses are held free of charge at the Dhamma Pattana meditation centre that is part of the Global Vipassana Pagoda complex.
The foundation of the Dome consists of basalt, while the dome itself is made from sandstone brought from Rajasthan. The Pinnacle of the Pagoda is adorned with a large crystal. The Spire is covered in real gold, while the rest of the Pagoda is covered in gold paint. The spire is topped with a special ornamental umbrella piece donated by the Burmese. The main doors to the Pagoda are wooden and hand-carved in Myanmar.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda complex consists of the following structures:
1) Pagoda dome containing relics of the Buddha. The pillar-less structure of the massive Pagoda dome encompasses a meditation hall to seat around 8,000 Vipassana meditators – the largest such meditation hall in the world.
2) Vipassana meditation centre Dhamma Pattana.
3) Museum depicting the historical life of the Buddha.
4) Two smaller pagodas on the north and south side.
5) Library and study rooms.
6) Circumambulation path around the dome.
7) Administration building.
8) Underground parkade.
9) Vipassana Research Institute office and facility for Pali study program.
10) Dhammalaya Guest House for Vipassana meditators.
11) The south pagoda contains 108 meditation cells for use by Vipassana students taking a meditation course at the adjoining meditation centre.
In Buddhism, chanting is the traditional means of preparing the mind for meditation, especially as part of formal practice. Some forms of Buddhism also use chanting for ritualistic purposes. Chanting is a spiritual discipline believed to improve listening skills, heightened energy and more sensitivity toward others. The most famous chant in the world is the Compassionate Buddha “Om Mani Padme Hum” which translates to “Hail to the jewel in the lotus.” It is the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion, known by the Chinese as Goddess Kuan Yin. The mantra calms fears, soothes concerns and heals broken hearts.
Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō, which translate to “Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra or Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law” is the central mantra chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism as well as Tendai Buddhism.
It is so serene to sit, close your eyes and do nothing but grateful to be alive and witness the beauty of the nature. Lush greens around, wind touching the face, the hair makes problems like a bubbles. I have visited during monsoon time in July, which is unlikely to be on your list because Mumbai monsoon is a monster. Even though I have kinda ombrophobia (fear of rain) which is most common if you have witness disaster event due to rain. Just to think about that events makes you sick but still you travel, it takes guts! Global Vipassana Pagoda is one of the place which I would highly recommend you to visit at least once if you are traveling to Mumbai.
Global Pagoda Timing is from 09:00 AM to 07:00 PM (last entry time will be at 06:30 PM). Open all days of the week. Identity Proof is only mandatory for foreign visitors. (Passport/ driving licence/ certificate from respective embassy).
…until next time!☺️
Happy reading and be adventurous!★