The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Bendigo

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Architectural Buildings • Religious Sites
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Monday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Tuesday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
About
Experience the largest Buddhist stupa in the Western world. The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion situated near Bendigo, Victoria, is the same size and design as The Great Stupa of Gyantse in Tibet. It rises to a total height of 48 metres above Bendigo’s distinctive bushland, and is 50 metres wide at its base. The Great Stupa is home to many holy objects. Foremost amongst these is the magnificent Jade Buddha for Universal Peace which is the largest Buddha carved from gem quality jade in the world. Wander the Peace Park and see beautiful relics and artworks inside The Great Stupa. Learn about Buddhism, Asian culture and art. Treat yourself with an artisan gift from the shop or have a barista-style coffee and a bite to eat at StupaView Café. It’s a pet friendly site as long as your furry friend is kept on a leash.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
251 reviews
Excellent
154
Very good
74
Average
16
Poor
3
Terrible
4

Bonz66
Berwick, Australia137 contributions
Zen Time
Jul. 2021
It was a time to just reflect and take in the fresh air and peaceful surroundings. The walk through the gardens takes you away from the stress of life and the time spent in the temple was relaxing and calming.
Written 17 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Peter S
Rome, Italy3,260 contributions
World class images of this novel structure rising above the woodlands of Central Victoria.
Apr. 2021
Review covers the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Myers Flat, Bendigo
In two parts: 1. Great Stupa; 2. Great Stupa Café.

Great Stupa
The view through the trees. This building/place is unique … there will be no other like it in Australia - where you can capture the romance of the images that underlie the seriousness of intent, of investment and of longevity that is/has been behind this kind of development – the Great Stupa. Check out the information posted around the site. There’s this sacred monument to Buddhism in a land where the religious following is strictly limited; it is expected to cost $20M when finished; it has been designed to last 1,000 years; it is enormous - 50 m high and 2,500 m2 floor space – the largest monument of its kind in the Western world.
The structure is conical/angular in form with, at top, the box-like Harmika representing the eyes of Buddha and above that the replica crown catching the sun in brilliant gold/bronze colours that contrasted the white of the masonry below.
The Great Stupa is a work in progress – inside and out - and dependent upon funding, but the external structure is largely complete and, that initial impact for first-time visitors will probably continue to be much the same … an unexpected and over-whelming impression of something grand, different, almost inconceivable in this quiet rural neighbourhood just 15 km from Bendigo.
You may not follow this particular faith but the rationale for visiting, sharing and experiencing the novelty of what is now an Australian icon will be the same – to clarify who you are, the context of your life within your family/community/people and to provide a window on the beliefs of others. The brochure mentions ‘purity of mind’ but that, presumably, is fundamentally a personal issue. Did I gain ‘purity of mind’?
Park the car and wander across to where the other new arrivals are gathered and overlooking the shallow valley, with gardens still in construction, between the car park/administrative block and the neighbouring hill where the Great Stupa stands; an oasis of white surrounded by the green-grey-blue wooded landscape typical of Central Victoria 150 m away. First views. Best long distant camera shots. Unforgettable.
Few of us have been to Tibet. Modern Tibet, the last of the original country pre-1960s or the ancient Tibet of the 15th century or earlier - time traveller country. The design of the Bendigo structure is based upon the Great Stupa at Gyantse in Tibet that dates from the latter period. You can easily gain a snapshot of the original courtesy of Google maps – follow the roads around the Gyantse Great Stupa on the screen; it looks larger, more complex and has a semi-urban setting. Only those originators/designers of the Bendigo Great Stupa will appreciate the differences.
You gain entrance to the site through the shop/office – entrance is free-of-charge - but you’re invited to make a donation. You return the same way, which is the time to purchase that memento. We collected a small glass Buddha and, more enjoyable, some music that blended well into the spiritual messages that were being promoted (and which were playing in the shop/office). Then you walk through the main building passed the café, leave the building and follow the path downhill, around one side of the gardens and uphill to the paved area around the base of the Great Stupa. The main entrance is around the opposite side of the paved area. It will take 15-20 minutes depending upon your side-trips into the gardens. And then, there’s the other side of the gardens to see on your return.
The building towers above you wherever you are outside; it dominates the hill, gardens and the original woodlands that extend around most of the hill.
There’s a temple (called a ‘Gompa’) inside the building that extends, what, 2-3 stories high, and above and around it there will eventually be a library, teaching rooms, 80 shrine rooms and more when it is finished. You’ll learn much of this from the friendly receptionist/guide (for want of a better word) who intercepts you at the entrance, trying to ensure that he meets with everyone entering (he said) – then moves back and forth between the small numbers wandering there. Dressed the part in traditional-looking wear he was great, fielding those newbie questions, describing his background from 7-8 years living there, accommodation and more. Equally, he was invaluable at pointing out the obvious – the Jade Buddha – 2.5 m high - and made from the largest single gemstone jade ever found. For the newbies the Buddha was simply one of a collection of sacred relics/statues/figurines and more on display – apart from its prestigious position inside the Gompa. The guide emphasized the value of the Gompa for teaching and meditation; he put this into context with alternative mainstream faiths that are followed by other peoples, and which are also represented by symbols/artwork in the gardens around the Great Stupa.

Great Stupa Cafe
We’d been at the Great Stupa for a couple of hours late morning/mid-day and time was moving; time for that lunch break. The contrast of the Great Stupa reaching for the skyline in this typical patch of Australian bush country could not have been more profound; it had been an amazing visit – an alien structure in a familiar environment where it was least expected. It was time to explore the lunch menu at the café in the administration building next to the car park.
The café has an internal dining room with space/seating for around 100 people and, outside, space under the roof overhang on the veranda and in a spacious area of grass with tables/chairs for another 50 people; so more than sufficient to handle the half-dozen people (including us) dining that mid-day. With fine warm sunny weather – easily >22 degC in the shade of the trees in the outdoor space – there was no issue; we just had to enjoy our luncheon al fresco. Why? That spectacular view again and from what was, in reality, simply your traditional/local café serving a popular tourist menu. Quite a contrast.
So, what did we eat? Special ‘unique view’ foods? Hardly. We shared a bowl of soup and a plateful of veggie spring rolls; the former came with four slices of bread and some sprinkling cheese, and the latter with dipping sauce. We paid $12.00 for the soup, $9.00 for the spring rolls, and $6.50 for a ginger beer and cappuccino; total $27.50; the view came gratis.

Peter Steele
10 June 2021
Written 14 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jeffry b
Essendon, Australia8,386 contributions
Religious monument in the Australian countryside
May 2021
The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is a Buddhist monument in the Australian countryside, neat the Goldfields city of Bendigo. It aims to explain Buddhism to those seeking peace and serenity.The Great Stupa aims to encourage a peaceful and serene outlook. The jade Buddha is the world's largest, and the Stupa is the biggest in the Western world. The Geat Stupa is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhist believers from around the world.
Written 10 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

aussielouie
Melbourne, Australia13 contributions
A Must See
May 2021
What an interesting place this is. You do not need to be a Buddhist to visit here. The story of the build of this huge Temple is very interesting. They have a long way to go so it will be good to go back and see their progress. The gardens are very interesting too. There is a quick video to look at on arrival to explain their beginnings. The coffee shop is good too. Highly recommended.
Written 28 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gerard_Karlie
Hurstbridge, Australia169 contributions
Serene
Dec. 2020
Went out not knowing what to expect. Acknowledging it is still under construction in parts, this was a very relaxing time, more so for us to reflect on the year (which was more horrific than I care to pen here). So it gave us time to reflect and give thanks for just being able to visit.
Written 10 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jude
Torquay, Australia592 contributions
Wow, definitely worth a visit!
Apr. 2021 • Friends
This place has wow factor! Whilst nowhere near completed, you can see the vision and what it will one day be, although not in my lifetime! It is free entry, although donations are encouraged, as little or as much as you care to give. The grounds around the Stupa are interesting and unique, the Stupa itself is impressive inside and out. I’m certainly not religious but I appreciated the beliefs of this Buddhist community. Located 10-15 minutes from Bendigo, plenty of parking, a cafe, shop and plenty to see. Worth a visit.
Written 1 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Traveller
Launceston, Australia132 contributions
Deff worth a visit
Apr. 2021 • Family
So glad I decide to take the drive.
Amazing attraction, With beautiful gardens
Staff very friendly and welcoming.
Written 7 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear janebF5347CF, Thanks so much for making the effort to come and explore our not so little secret. We're glad you had such a great experience. Best wishes, The Great Stupa Team.
Written 9 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michael S
Bendigo, Australia59 contributions
Well worth the visit
Feb. 2021
Even though this place it out of Bendigo it certainly is well worth finding. It is a very spiritual place to visit but be prepared to walk from the car / bus to the main temple.
Written 27 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bomoh
Mount Gambier, Australia683 contributions
Only OK
Mar. 2021
This might impress people who have never been to Thailand or particularly Bagan in Myanmar but it is not so huge and impressive. Squat modern design not a patch on the golden domes of Asia. Didn't like the donation box right where they let you into the place and sign stating credit card accepted. Maybe they don't understand donation is voluntary.
Written 26 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

inverloch6
Melbourne, Australia38 contributions
Great Stupa - Great experience
Mar. 2021
This is well worth the visit, donation for entry and be generous as it worth it. Enjoyed the well kept grounds and the temple with tour guide was very interesting, a lot of work still needs to be done and will be many many years before completed if ever as is the extent of the facility.
Written 25 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:30 am - 3:30 pm