Of all the beaches of Mumbai, we find Gorai and Aksa beaches to be the lone, less in crowd to spend time at. And Gorai village is just after Bandra for a visit during Christmas. The narrow lanes through the woods, and the crib and stars in front of almost every house, makes you feel as though you are driving through old Goa. Apart from the beach, Gorai attracts tourists to Essel World, one of the first amusement parks of Mumbai, and Global Vipassana Center.
I had visited Global Vipassana Center at Igatpuri long back but managed to visit their center in Mumbai only December last. The Global Vipassana Pagoda at Gorai is no less than any Buddhist Temple of South East Asia.
Vipassana is a technique of meditation re-discovered by Gautam Buddha. The technique remained alive for about 500 years in India, and then-after gradually lost. It was preserved in Burma(Myanmar), and so are the gates of the Vipassana centers named the Myanmar Gate. Know more about Vipassana meditation here.
The entry gate/Myanmar Gate is a Red structure, with golden decors and dragons on either side of the gate.
Though there are steps directly from Myanmar gate to Pagoda, the entry is closed and you need to walk through the road next to the main entrance. At the ground level are the huge Bell tower and Gong Tower which attract most of the kids.
On 2nd level is the main Pagoda, world's biggest piller-less stone structure dome. Visitors can have a walk through the Pagoda from gate 7.
You can walk around the pagoda or spend some time with family, its very well maintained. There is another small pagoda to the north, were an audio recording is played for 10mins and anybody can sit and meditate in batches for free.
Also are statues of Akash devi and devatha and a Ashoka Pillar on this level. There is also food plaza, were you get veg snacks.
On the 1st level is a painting gallery, depicting Gautam Buddha's life. Also is a library and a souvenir shop, where you can shop Burmese items, books on Buddha's life and Vipassana meditation.
As you exit the 1st floor, there is a beautiful statute of Gautam Buddha in a garden, where you can sit and relax, just before leaving the Vipassana center.
How to reach:
The Global Vipassana center is just next to Essel World, about 3km from Gorai beach. As you drive through Essel world main entrance, you find the entrance gate to Pagoda, you drive another half a kilometer to reach the Myanmar gate.
By Jetty: From Borivali Station(West) take an autorichsaw/taxi/bus to Gorai Creek
From Malad take an autorickshaw/taxi/bus to reach Malad Jetty
Then take Ferry of Essel World to Pagoda
By Road: Drive through Mira-Bhayandar Road to reach Gorai.
Visit http://www.globalpagoda.org/ to know more about Vipassana Pagoda.