WATCH THE VIDEO: Bendigo is home to the largest Buddhist monument in the western world after the addition of a decorative four-metre finial on top.
After 17 years, Bendigo’s Great Stupa of Universal Compassion has finally completed construction, and was unveiled to the public late last month.
A stupa is the most sacred monument in the Buddhist world and acts as a symbolic representation of the fully enlightened mind and the path to enlightenment.
Bendigo’s stupa is the same size and design as Tibet’s ancient stupa: Gyantse Kumbum and now stands at 50 metres high, spanning seven levels, with a 50 square-metre-base.
The $5 million extension was funded through the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) and through private community investment and will further Bendigo’s position as an international travel destination and a place of multi-faith expression.
The extension marks the end of stage one of the project with the next stage being the upgrade of the site’s essential services infrastructure to ensure an even better visitor experience.
The Bendigo stupa also houses the world’s largest gemstone-quality Jade Buddha, standing at 2.5 metres high. The Buddha was completed in 2008 and embarked on a decade-long world tour to 120 cities across 20 countries.
Apart from being a world class tourism destination for Bendigo and the surrounding Loddon Mallee region, The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion helps promote social cohesion by encouraging greater awareness and support of cultural diversity.
The religious site has attracted over 25,000 visitors annually to Bendigo with that figure expected to reach more than 90,000 annually within the next decade.
Find out more about Bendigo’s Great Stupa and watch the video above.