A pagoda is a multi-tiered East Asian tower usually spotted in Asian countries. Most pagodas were created for religious purposes, commonly Buddhist but occasionally Taoist, and were frequently found in or near viharas.
One such beautiful Pagoda is located on the outskirts of Mumbai, called Global Vipassana Pagoda. The Pagoda, on Gorai Island, was declared one of Maharashtra's Seven Wonders in 2013 by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
The dome of the Vipassana Pagoda is approximately 29 metres tall. It is the world's largest stone dome that stands alone, with no supporting pillars. The temple was built as a memorial to Sayagyi U Ba Khin, a Myanmar-born Vipassana teacher. The monks here follow Vipassana guruji S N Goenka's teachings on meditation and relaxation. Global Vipassana Pagoda upholds and spreads awareness about Gautam Buddha's values and teachings.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a blend of Buddhist architecture and Burmese designs. Its shape is similar to that of Myanmar's Shwedagon Pagoda and is painted in similar gold colour. The spire is covered in genuine gold, which was donated by the Burmese, with a large crystal adorning the top.
Aside from the stunning architecture, the designs on the wooden entrance doors will also catch your eye. They were carved by hand in Myanmar. The Pagoda's complex also includes a Buddha statue, a park, a waterfall, and a food court serving delicious vegetarian meals.
The main dome of the Global Pagoda complex serves as a meditation hall. However, only those registered for a course are eligible to participate in it.
Dhamma Pattana offers a free 10-day Vipassana meditation course. Within the centre, comfortable lodging is available. Advanced courses are available for those who want to practise Vipassana for a longer period. Individual cells are available at the South Pagoda located adjacent to the Dhamma Pattana Vipassana centre, to help you practise meditation without distractions.
The Pagoda is open to visitors every day between 9 am to 7 pm. However, new visitors can enter after 6.30 pm. There’s no admission fee, but you are free to donate whatever amount you wish. You can reach there by ferry, rail, or road.