By Somali K Chakrabarti
A visit to the malls on the weekends has almost become like a ritual for us. The routine stopovers at malls either for shopping or for watching movies, often gets monotonous. So when I saw the beautiful pictures of Global Pagoda (near Esselworld), posted on the Mumbai Daily blog, I made up my mind to plan out a weekend trip to the Pagoda.
The weather being pleasant yesterday, we set out for the Pagoda in the afternoon. The Pagoda stands near Gorai beach on the outskirts of Mumbai. Driving down on the Western Express Highway, we took a left turn at Dahisar on the Mira Bhayandar Road.
From a distance we could see the gigantic dome of the pagoda that appeared like a bell with its stem reaching out to the sky. Following the signboard, we took the road that leads to Esselworld and reached the Pagoda, which is at a short distance from the gate of Esselworld.
A picture of serenity away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, the impressive Pagoda stands amidst vast open space covered with greenery, making a picturesque site.
The words Myanmar Gate written at the entrance arch of the Pagoda indicates Burmese influence on its architecture. On entering we come to know that the Pagoda is designed as a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon, Myanmar.
The statue of Buddha in a seated meditative posture smiles peacefully.
The 325 feet high massive central dome structure, supposed to be the biggest of its kind in Asia, is constructed by interlocking stones without the use of any pillars. The genuine relics of the Buddha are said to be enshrined here.
We climb up the stairs to see the meditation hall. The huge meditation hall, constructed under the dome structure has an unobstructed seating capacity of 8000 people. Intricate Burmese design patterns are carved on the canopy, pillars and walls.
Constructed over a sprawling area, the complex was inaugurated in 2009 and took 11 years to finish.
Vipassana – The art of stress management
An elderly person briefs us about the construction of the temple, its purpose and the practise of Vipassana, an ancient meditation technique that helps in reducing stress levels and in attaining a peaceful state of mind.
Based on the premise that agitation and peace cannot co-exist, Vipassana teaches the technique for managing stress and conflict. Since we don’t have a choice of the kind of people we get to deal with and dealing with some people can be stressful, it helps to know how not to react in the face of provocation. Vipassana provides the learners with the skill to deal with all types of situations in life — with serenity, tranquillity, and equanimity.
A 10 day intensive course taught at the Vipassana centre helps to establish a healthy connection between mind and body.
The person tells us that we may strike the bell of peace thrice, to indicate our wish to come back again.
We take a stroll around the meditation centre, and click some pictures. The breeze feels nice and the lush green surroundings appear soothing to the eyes. After seeing the books and paintings in the library, we stopover at the canteen for a cup of tea.
While coming out we strike the gong thrice.
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