Designed by Indian architect Chandubhai Sompura on the lines of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, the Global Pagoda is a hollow structure, having a dome of 280-ft diameter. Below it is a massive 6,000-sq pillar-less meditation hall which can accommodate 8,000 meditators at a time. The Pagoda has already hosted a few one day courses attended by over 8000 meditators.
Combining ancient building principles with modern techniques of construction, Sompura finally guided a structure using the 'interlocking principle of construction' for the huge stones - each weighing around 600-700 kgs. The entire structure has consumed over 2.5 million tonnes of Jodhpur stone. Unlike cement and steel structures, the use of stone and lime mortar gives it strength and longevity, it ensures that the structure becomes more stable with increased height and weight placed on it as the stones grip each other more rigidly to defy gravity. It is expected to last for more than 2,000 years.
The pagoda, a dream project of Principal Vipassana Teacher, S.N. Goenka, has been constructed mainly with donations received from former students and devotees around the world. 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 and others contributed around Rs.800 million to construct the entire structure..
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Goenkaji expressed gratitude towards the country of Myanmar which preseved not only the Words of the Buddha but also the Practice in its purest form for 2 millenia.