A walkthrough of the Global Vipassana Pagoda.
(Gorai, Mumbai, India)
It seems like twilight. There is just one star following me. The only artificial source of lights are the buildings which light up in a chess board fashion.
The buildings at the far end of the skyline pierce the vermilion break of dawn.
Only the announcements echo at the railway stations with the occasional horn of trains. Other than that, there is dead silence.
Orange forces into the blue defences, a survival of the fittest colour to reign over the temporal skies.
Yellow protudes into the palette and now, the sky is marble white.
The sun is a big sphere of yellow juxtaposed with orange, like the sky has condensed all its colours into a definition.
We got down at the Borivali railway station and took an autorickshaw until the Gorai creek.
Reached the ticketing counter for the jetty that takes us across the Gorai creek to the Pagoda.
We waited for some time for everyone else to come and purchased the tickets. Rupees 50 per person for going to and fro the creek.
And our trip begins!
First, we walked amidst a beautiful view of the Gorai creek to board our jetty.
You can see the Pagoda at the far end
Pagoda from the jetty
Then, we got off the jetty and started walking onward to the Pagoda-Essel World Amusement Park Complex. Again, we were surrounded by a breathtaking view of the creek.
When you reach the complex, the path gets diverted. In order to go to the Pagoda, we took a left turn and continued walking.
There was a refreshing trail of flowers with different hues that accentuated the Golden Pagoda.
At the end of the trail, towards the entrance of the Pagoda complex, there were enchanting and pristine traditional dragon-like figures.
Then, we entered through the gate which had a beautiful design on the ceiling, climbing closer and closer towards the Pagoda.
On the ground level, there was a message regarding the Dhamma (Dharma) on both the sides.
(The Drum was gifted by Thailand)
(The Bell is a gift from Myanmar)
Then, we had breakfast in the cafeteria. Outside the cafeteria, there was a beautiful monolithic marble statue of Gautam Buddha, which was around 22ft.
Then, we climbed up to the second level, where the Global Vipassana Pagoda stands. The tour guide enlightened us about various interesting facts regarding the Pagoda.
(The main Padoga is surrounded by other four little Pagoda)
We were not allowed to take pictures inside. We viewed the dome of the Pagoda from the visitors gallery. Lord Buddhas corporeal relics are enshrined above the Wheel of Dhamma on top of the first dome. There has been no cement used to hold the rocks of the Pagoda together. Nor there are pillars. The entire structure is made by artistic mastery. The artisans shaped the carefully selected stones in such a manner that they interlocked.
We also got to see an offspring of the sacred Bodhi tree.
A little history behind the sacred tree
The fringes of the dome were flanked by beautiful pillars and golden ceilings.
The Gate No. 1 of the Pagoda had a beautiful door which consisted of panels from Myanmar.
The panels show Green Tara (female Buddha) in different mudras.
There were other smaller gates too:
View from level 2
The Ashoka Pillar
A statue of Saya Gyi U Ba Khin
Something about him:
The Mumbai structure (Pagoda) was built under the guidance of late Satya Narayan Goenka, popularly known as S N Goenka (January 30, 1924-September 29, 2013), a foremost guru of Vipassanā meditation. He was trained in Vipassana by Saya Gyi U Ba Khin of Burma, the principally known as a leading 20th century authority on Vipassana meditation and an influential leader of the Vipassana movement. Goenka and his wife, Elaichidevi, also a co-teacher of meditation, who is reverentially called Mataji, are credited with bringing Vipassana back in a big way in India.
– Deccan Herald
After touring Level 2, we headed to Level 1 and meditated. We were all shown a video clip which spoke about the construction and importance of the Pagoda.
It is a very special place as in most other Stupas one can meditate around the structure and here one can meditate within.
Its traditional Burmese design is 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. (Wikipedia)
After that, we visited an Art Gallery where there were more than 120 huge paintings that highlighted the events in Lord Buddha’s life in a chronological order.
We had lunch in the cafeteria.
A glimpse of the cafeteria
We spent almost half a day in the tranquility of the Pagoda. Then, it was time to leave. The exit-side is also an architectural beauty to behold.
We also went to a souvenir shop that had some amazing statues, keychains, t-shirts and much more pertaining to Buddhism.
Time to take the jetty again!
The water level of the creek had risen.
So that was about my trip to the Global Vipassana Padoga.
It’s a really beautiful place that one should definitely visit.
For more facts about the Pagoda click on the links below :
Special Features : Pagoda of Peace in Mumbai (Deccan Herald)
Songs used :
We Go! (One Piece)
2 minutes of relaxing music (YouTube)
Spaced Out Buddha – 5 minute trance meditation (YouTube)
Kokoro no Chizu (One Piece)
We Are! (One Piece)
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