Sunday, July 21, 2013

Inside Global Pagoda.

An afternoon spent at the Global Vipassana Pagoda. There were so many things to learn. 

Planning for the construction of the Global Vipassana Pagoda began in 1997, while actual building work started in 2000. The pagoda consists of three sub-domes.  The external diameter of the largest section of the dome is 97.46m and the shorter sections, is 94.82m. The internal diameter of the dome is 85.15m. The inside of the pagoda is hollow and serves as a very large meditation hall with an area covering more than 6000 sq m (65,000 sq ft). The massive inner dome seats over 8000 people, enabling them to practice the non-sectarian Vipassana meditation as taught by Mr S N Goenka, and now being practiced in over 160 centres in more than 60 countries.

The pagoda is ready, but the environment is still under construction.  The story of every project ! 

Doors on four sides, below the central dome. This is a view of one set of doors leading to the meditation hall, open only to those who have done the 10 day meditation course.

The workmanship on the ceiling in the entrance area  before the doors .

A closeup of the huge doors to the meditation room

Closeup of the intricate work on the ceiling

Including around the supporting pillar.....

The structure opposite to the main Pagoda.  The pagoda consists of three sub-domes. The first and largest dome was completed when bone relics of Gautama Buddha were enshrined in the central locking stone of the dome on October 29, 2006, making it the world's largest hollow stone masonry structure containing relics of the Buddha.

Rising to heavenly heights

Welcoming you with great humility...

Looking out towards the main entrance from inside. The blue of the tarpaulin required in the heavy monsoons...

 This gong  stands opposite the huge bell pictured later ....

Detailing above the entrance to the meditation room doors

This massive bell may be rung with the wooden log piece  on the floor near me .

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 29 metres, while the height of the building is 96.12 meters, which is twice the size of the previously largest hollow stone monument in the world, the Gol Gumbaz  Dome in Bijapur, India

Rear View of the Gong

This is what you see at the main entrance before you approach the dome , where the relics are kept.  Inscriptions pertain to teachings of the Buddha.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Crossing to the Pagoda.

The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a Meditation Hall near Gorai, in the northwestern part of Mumbai. It is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai Creek and the Arabian Sea. 

The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of a sense of  gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. 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 in Yangon, Myanmar. It was built combining ancient Indian and modern technology to enable it to last for a thousand years

I went last Sunday to visit this Global Pagoda on Mumbai's western coast line. A bus ride to Gorai creek and then rushing on to the ferry that took us across the creek en route to the Pagoda. Once off the ferry, there are two roads one can take. One takes you to the Esselworld  Entertainment Park , and the other takes you to the Pagoda. 

Fifteen years ago, I might have taken the first road.  This time , I took the second.

This is a place  of holy pilgrimage ....

This is the first of a two-part post......

The route to reach the ferry.

 Fishermen's boats  all tied up across the creek.

 The Pagoda from a distance.

Another boat tied up in solitary splendour at the shallow end.


Fishermen go fishing in these kind of small boats

 Folks crowded on to the  ferry takes the general public to the other end of the creek.

 An approaching boat coming from the pagoda side, on a return trip.

Rushing  to the Mainland

 Clicked from the boat's bow (front side).

 A beautiful caterpillar also seeking something golden

 A statue of Buddha at the entrance of the Pagoda.

 The path to enlightenment (which leads to the Pagoda).

Stay tuned for part II.....