Mumbai: A giant marble statue of Lord Buddha, standing 21 feet tall, has been gifted by Myanmar to the Global Vipassana Foundation (GVF), and will be installed next week at Mumbai’s Pagoda complex, called the World Monument of Peace and Harmony.
The statue weighs a whopping 60 tonnes and is carved from a single piece of marble, an official from the GVF told IANS here. It has been created by the renowned U Taw Taw Group of Myanmar.
The giant statue, depicting Lord Buddha sitting in a meditating posture, will be unveiled on Buddha Purnima day – May 27 – by Satyanarayan Goenka, at a function to be held at the Pagoda complex, an official said.
The statue will enhance the magnificence of the landmark GVF Pagoda that looms majestically over north Mumbai’s Arabian Sea shoreline. It was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil Feb 8 last year.
The golden-hued 325 feet tall Pagoda stands in the lush green 13-acre complex near Gorai village.
It is accessible by a short boat ride from north Mumbai or a long drive via Thane.
At the centre of the Pagoda stands the world’s tallest pillarless dome – measuring 280 feet in diameter and 90 feet in height.
Below the dome is a massive 6,000-sq metre pillarless meditation hall which can accommodate over 8,000 people. It is more than three times the size of the existing largest masonry structure – the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur – which is 90 feet in diameter.
The original bone relics of Lord Buddha, donated by the Sri Lankan government and the Mahabodhi Society of India, have been enshrined in the central locking stone of the dome, above the Dhamma Chakra.
The main Pagoda is flanked by two smaller Pagodas, each 60 feet tall, and the massive complex is visible from tall buildings as far as Bandra, Borivli east and Bhayander in Thane.
Since the past year, it has become a must-see destination of Mumbai with thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visiting it daily.
It has been designed by Indian architect Chandubhai Sompura on the lines of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, and was constructed by nearly 700 labourers who toiled daily for 11 years.
The Pagoda has been constructed mainly with donations received from former students and devotees around the world.
For instance, the people of Myanmar donated the marble used for the flooring and the umbrella placed atop the Pagoda. The people of Thailand donated the golden paint – typically used in Pagodas, which is not available in India.
In addition, a student’s family donated the land while other past students of Vipassana contributed around Rs.800 million to construct the entire structure, and the latest addition is the Lord Buddha statue donated by the Myanmar government.