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Published January 25th 2015
A grand design
Rising from of the Victorian countryside at Myers Flat near Bendigo is The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion and it's a truly impressive sight. Having been under construction for some years (funded by donations) there is still a way to go before it reaches completion. When it's finished the Great Stupa will be nearly 50 metres high, the largest Stupa outside of Asia and designed to last one thousand years.
You may be wondering what a stupa actually is. A simple explanation might be that it is a sacred Buddhist monument, however there is a greater story. For a detailed explanation of the purpose and structure of stupas this article offers an in-depth view.
While holidaying in Bendigo we set out with great interest to visit the Stupa. Given Bendigo's more well known attractions of goldfields history and beautiful old buildings, the Stupa stands out as a unique addition.
On the day we visited we received a very warm welcome at the exhibition centre and an invitation to first of all view a video on the history of the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. The video explained the origins of the idea, the people who are making it happen and the story of the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace which is currently on a world tour.
A wander through the centre enabled us to view the collection of sacred Buddhist relics and browse the small gift shop.
The highlight of our visit was definitely the guided tour of the Stupa itself. Gardens surround it and while showing promise now, you can imagine when they are completed and mature they will be magnificent.
A row of prayer wheels adorns the base of the Great Stupa; eventually there will be more than 200.
The Great Stupa Exhibition Centre, Holy Relics exhibition and Great Stupa site is open 9am - 5pm weekdays and 10:30am to 5pm weekends and Public Holidays. Everyone is welcome and a particularly good time to visit is the during one of the several festivals held through the year. For the latest news see their Facebook page.
Vesak Festival of Light 2014 / Image courtesy of The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion www.stupa.org.au/