Located right next to Esselworld in the heart of Gorai, the 325 ft. tall Global Vipassana Pagoda soars into the empty sky around it, easily spotted from many rooftops across the city. The massive structure, that took 11 years to build, houses the world’s largest unsupported stone dome, 280 feet in diameter. This was accomplished using 2.5 million tons of stone from Rajasthan, each cut with horizontal and vertical grooves on the side, thereby enabling them to defy gravity by interlocking in all directions and holding each other up, an ingenious idea for an otherwise impossible task.
The very sight of this dome can humble even the mightiest of men. At the centre of the dome, above the Chakra, genuine relics of the Buddha have been enshrined. The dome shelters a giant meditation hall, with a capacity of 8000 people.
All the structures here are heavily influenced by Burmese designs, honouring the people of Myanmar for preserving the tradition of Vipassana. In fact, the Global Vipasana Pagoda is an exact replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda located in the city of Yangon in Myanmar.
A giant bell held by four Burmese statues adorns the front, resounding in all directions the arrival of another seeking soul. This bell weighs 14 tons and was donated by Myanmar, with the bell being cast there and then shipped to India.
The wooden doors of the Pagoda were hand-carved in Myanmar and then brought here, another generous donation from the Burmese.
The Pagoda has two more domes on top of the main one, the topmost one housing an umbrella-like structure with suspended bells.
A Buddha statue carved out of a single piece of marble stands next to the main entrance of the Pagoda, beautifully painted in a warm golden robe.
The Pagoda has been built as a centre for spreading the teachings of Vipassana, the Buddha’s path to self-realization and freedom from all suffering, as taught by Mr. S.N.Goenka. The centre offers 10-day free Vipassana courses, where one has to follow a strict regime throughout, you might have to book in advance. Visitors are allowed everyday between 9 am – 7 pm, but are required to maintain a healthy level of silence while on the premises.
How to reach here?
One can easily reach the Pagoda from Marve beach next to Malad. There are ferries operating to Esselworld till 5pm, from where it’s a short walk up to the Pagoda.
People with cars must go the long way round and drive around from Mira Bhayandar and then south to Gorai.
Global Vipassana Pagoda
Next to Esselworld, Gorai Village,
Borivali (West), Mumbai 400091
Telephone: 91 22 33747501 (30 lines)
Compiled by – Townmumbai.com Team