By Karthik Nair
Global Vipassana Pagoda is in a serene and aesthetic locale which adds to its charm. The golden dome and peaceful mantras are unique experiences for those living in Mumbai.
The pagoda is located in Gorai close to Essel World. The pagoda can be reached by road or by taking the ferry from Borivali. Going by road is quite a hassle as it is a longer route and there are no bridges on the Gorai creek connecting Gorai to Borivali. The ferry which can be taken from Gorai jetty in Borivali – West costs Rs 15 for single journeys. There are no return tickets and one will have to purchase a ticket again on return. Two-wheelers are allowed on the ferry for extra cost.
Unfortunately, the only way to get to the pagoda from the ferry point is a rickshaw which costs Rs 40 per person. Initially, there used to be the Essel World ferry which dropped people off close to the pagoda, however, due to amusement park being closed, those ferries are not running now.
The pagoda is a beautiful and serene place which has small gardens, domes for meditation and worship and multipurpose halls. There is no entry fee for visiting the pagoda. The highlight of the pagoda is the main dome which visitors can only access through the visitors’ hall. The dome is meant for old Vipassana meditators and is the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars.
The pagoda also boasts small gardens which have statues of Gods and historical figures. One garden also has a rotating “Wheel of Dhamma” which is essential in Buddhist teachings and symbolise concentration, ethics and wisdom. Statues of other figures can also be spotted in the pagoda. However, information on these figures can only be gotten if one takes the pagoda audio tour.
Due to COVID restrictions, the pagoda isn’t as lively as it used to be. Small things like ringing the gong and finding meditators and volunteers who could divulge more information have been stopped. However, the pagoda does have a website which can help with doubts regarding meditation courses and classes.
The pagoda is mainly an outdoor space, so one will have to be ready to face the heat. However, heat haters can always visit the pagoda during the monsoon, winter or milder periods in the morning or evening. The pagoda is open from 9am to 7pm daily.