Saturday, May 11, 2019

Accommodation and Food Facilities at Vipassana Meditation Gorai Pagoda Center, Mumbai.

Let me confess something upfront.

Before actually starting but after making my final decision of attending the course at the Dhamma Pattana Meditation Center inside the Global Vipassana Pagoda Gorai, Mumbai, I had painted a vague image in my mind (yeah, the worst possible) of the room that was to be allotted.

According to my image, the accommodation room was a one cot dormitory type bed in a congested space already haunted by a couple of creepy crawly creatures (read cockroaches and lizards) and a dirty smelly bathroom with cobwebs here and there that I would dread entering into everyday.

After all, what does one possibly get for FREE, in this day and age?

Oh, yes! Did I tell you… the course is absolutely free of charge run completely voluntarily, sustaining on the donations made by the students.

And so, I wondered of the kind of rooms and food they would provide – about how clean and spacious would the rooms be, would the accommodation for Vipassana be single or double sharing,  would the bathroom be attached or common sharing, will the food – quality and quantity both - be satisfactory enough and keep the engine of my stomach happy?

DHAMMA PATTANA VIPASSANA MEDITATION CENTER, PAGODA GORAI: HOW IS THE ACCOMMODATION ROOM LIKE?


After a brief scanning of my documents at the Dhamma Pattana Vipassana Pagoda residential quarters, I was allotted room no. 2 which was towards the far end of the ground floor, diametrically opposite the dining hall.

Stepping in, just one glance around the room,
and the picture I had painted in my mind vanished in thin air,
nowhere to be found again!


Residential quarters for students of  Vipassana meditation course Gorai , Mumbai
Enveloped in greenery all around is the residential quarter
for the students of Vipassana meditation course at Gorai center in Mumbai
- My home for 10 days.
Residential quarters for students of the Global Vipassana Gorai Pagoda meditation course, Mumbai


What is the room allotted at Dhamma Pattana Vipassana meditation center in Gorai Pagoda, Mumbai like?


The rooms have just about everything one wouldn't generally expect for free, and though pretty basic, is more of a warm homely room than any random hotel room.

They are not very of course but spacious enough to comfortably accommodate one person, the bed neatly done with two pillows and one coverlet provided.

The bathrooms are attached and pretty clean too.

Besides all the basic amenities, the rooms come equipped with a super cool air conditioner AND yes, it works.

Accomodation room at Global Vipassana Gorai Pagoda, Mumbai
This picture is sourced - but this is more or less how my room looked like...
you get the picture, right?

You are allotted single occupancy (unless you have a problem with being alone and request for double sharing), not to be shared with anyone else which is what one would really expect from a course like Vipassana where one is to observe absolute noble silence for a period of 10 days.

I was impressed - there wasn't a single creepy crawly anywhere in the room, no cobwebs and no mosquitoes to trouble either!

My room was easily the second best thing (after the short conversation with the lady I had previously met in the boat) to have kickstarted my Day Zero of Vipassana meditaion course on an encouraging note.

Garden area outside the residence - Vipassana meditation center Gorai Pagoda, Mumbai
The beautiful garden connecting the residence area -
the only place outside where students are allowed to wander during the break between the meditation sessions.
Beyond the Dhamma Pattana residential quarters - Global Vipassana Gorai Pagoda, Mumbai
Overlooking the residential quarters and the garden, is the imposing Pagoda
where the sacred relics of Buddha are enshrined at the top.

HOW IS THE FOOD AT DHAMMA PATTANA VIPASSANA MEDITATION CENTER , GORAI - PAGODA, MUMBAI:


Same was true with the food and if I may add, with the food, the management took the notch even higher.

We had meals 3 times a day – the breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dining hall - Global Vipassana Gorai Pagoda, Mumbai
This is the dining hall where we sat facing the wall so as to minimize any eye contact or facial gestures.
Picture credit: Kavita Sajnani.

The food is fresh and hygienic - adding to the overall experience with the course.

The best part – it is offered lavishly, whole heartedly and generously to all the students present.

My food sojourn began as soon as I arrived, on the introduction desk itself, on the zero day when I was kindly offered lunch.

At 5 in the evening on the same day, we had a light breakfast of steaming hot idlis and sambhar along with tea / coffee. 

However, on the main course days, evening tea time is a light affair with the platter constituting only of hot and cold beverages like tea, coffee, milk and nimbu paani (lemon water), a plethora of fruits and roasted puffed rice – this was our regular menu for the next 10 days at this hour of the day.

Consequently, as the days progressed, I realized that food here is not just any regular run off the mill thing but is really something to talk home about.

This was especially true for the morning breakfast and lunch meals which constituted of a different menu every single day.

Lunch consisted of 2 / 3 sabjis (different every day), dal or kadhi, plain rice, pulao / jeera rice, atleast two different types of rotis like phulkas and paratha, boiled veggie salad, raw veggie salad, curd … phew! – it was a royal thali befitting the sophisticated palate of a king!

There were even noodles and pasta on some days.

All the sabjis came in non chilly versions as well taking care of the elderly and people on medication and such needs.

Morning breakfast was another lavish affair coming only second to the lunch – Khakhras (Jeera and Methi), bread, glucose biscuit, and two fruits were the constants in the menu every day. Besides the constants, there was a hot dish like idli, chilla, dhokla, poha and so on, on different days. We even had Mumbai’s quintessential batata vada on the last day!

All in all, the facilities provided at the Vipassana Pagoda Gorai in Mumbai exceeded my wildest imagination and left me all set looking forward to what was in store during the rest of the day.

Timetable for Vipassana Meditation Course:


Keep following the wheel of Dhamma!

This is the timetable we followed during all the ten days of the course. The timetable of the Vipassana meditation course is so designed so as to facilitate best results from the 10 days and is the same followed by everyone, worldwide.

4:00 am Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher's instructions
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12 noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher's instructions
5:00-6:00 pm Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm Question time in the hall
9:30 pm Retire to your own room -- Lights out!

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Accomodation and Food Facilities at Vipassana Gorai Meditation Center, Mumbai.

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I attended the Vipassana meditation course from 6th March to 16th March 2019 in Mumbai. Since I hadn't taken my phone or camera along during the course, all the pictures that you see in this series are from my subsequent visits to the center. You can read the complete Pagoda Vipassana Meditation blogpost series by clicking on the following links:

Stepping Into Vipassana: The Admission Process (An Introduction)
10 things You Must Pack For Vipassana Meditation: A Checklist!

How to Reach the Global Vipassana Pagoda From Gorai Khadi in Borivli, Mumbai.

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6 comments:

  1. Very comprehensive post about the faciliites at the Vipassana center. I think I have missed the earlier posts and need to catch up to truly appreciate this one...

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  2. Great to read. Thanks Arti for details post.

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  3. Glad to know about this place in detail. Had only seen the pagoda from a distance.

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  4. WOW!
    I laughed when you said : After all, what does one possibly get for FREE, in this day and age?

    SO true. But I have heard so much about the hygiene and satvik food of the centres. This is so good to know( esp that there are no quantity restrictions) and now that you mention noodles and pasta I am sure quite a few people might just want to do vipassana for that! (just kidding!) :D Thanks for this peek into the Vipasana course Arti :) Loving this series!

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  5. Very interesting red, the place ,the accommodation and routine...loved all these, will love to have an experience there.

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  6. This is so cool! Ok, like I had told you earlier, I did know about the course and was considering doing it too with my mom, but accommodation was something I was always skeptical about. Even though the rooms are pretty basic, it is decent and sufficient like you have mentioned. Glad to know that they don't restrict you in terms of food as well. Thanks a lot Arti for sharing your experience in such detail. (BTW my mom is loving your posts too!)

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