ISKCON is the acronym for the 'International Society for Krishna Consciousness', founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the mid 1960’s in the United States. It is now a worldwide association of devotees who study, practice and teach the science of Krishna consciousness according to Bhagavad-Gita and other timeless Vedic scriptures. Over five decades ISKCON has grown to comprise over 350 temples, 60 rural communities, 50 schools and 60 restaurants. Find out more about ISKCON here.

The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) was conceived by Srila Prabhupada, as he is commonly known, to be the crown jewel of his spiritual organization, where Vedic knowledge and wisdom, especially regarding cosmology, life’s origin, the Supreme Being Lord Krishna, and much more could be presented to the world. It will be the largest Vedic Temple in modern history (and the second largest religious monument in the world next to St. Peter’s Basilica) with a size exceeding 400,000 sq. ft., a height of 350 feet, the largest religious dome in the world, and a capacity to hold 10,000+ visitors at one time. It is sequestered in the sacred and isolated old rice fields of Mayapur, West Bengal, India, at the confluence of the Ganges and Jalangi rivers, about three hours from Kolkata.

Srila Praphupada wanted a city where people from all over the world could come and live according to the Vedic tenets. That city is in Sridhama Mayapur, the sacred birthplace of the Golden Avatar, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the original founder of the Hare Krishna Movement 500 years ago. The city is also the World Headquarters of ISKCON. Thus, the befitting decision to place the temple there. The idea of a planetarium was Srila Prabhupada’s innovative way of combining the wisdom of the East with the technology of the West to present both the material and spiritual worlds in the context of the Vedic scriptural authority. The TOVP will also have museums and exhibits that will teach visitors about Vedic culture and explain the sciences of the Vedas.

The construction of the TOVP will benefit the local economy through job creation as well as by attracting visitors from around the world who will in turn support local businesses. The new temple will serve to increase the significance of Mayapur as a holy place among the followers of Vedic culture all over the world. Already six million visitors descend on ISKCON Mayapur annually. That number is expected to double once the temple opens. The West Bengal government has confirmed its assistance in promoting the project.

The superstructure and internal fittings, started in 2009, are already complete. The 2.5 acre Pujari Floor consisting of 69 rooms designed for worship organization and implementation was opened in 2019. The next phase will be the opening of the East Wing in 2021 where the altar of Lord Nrsimhadeva will be situated. The main altar with its deities of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Pancha Tattva (Lord Caitanya and His associates) and the Guru Parampara (succession of spiritual masters) will open in 2022 along with the Grand Opening of the temple itself. The completion of the planetarium and some internal and external decorative work will take some years beyond that to complete.

The current site is THE original site that Srila Prabhupada chose for the temple, and it is on land owned by ISKCON. The former plans placed the temple on land not yet owned by ISKCON, and for various reasons we were unable to purchase it.

The 'new' design has been developed by the design team by going back to Srila Prabhupada's original instructions on how the temple should be built, and what type of architecture it should be modelled after. He was keen on a combination of East meets West and specifically sited using the dome of the U.S. capital building in Washington, D.C. as an example.

There will be the same two main sets of deities that are currently installed, with the addition of fifteen deities from the Gaudiya Vaishnava disciplic succession of acharyas (holy teachers). That is, Guru Parampara, Panca Tattva and Radha Madhava in this exact sequence from left to right, as following Srila Prabhupada’s orders and desire regarding this matter.

The Deities will be placed on three individual, smaller altars on the main altar under the main dome of the temple in the order as described above. The combined length of this altar is a total of 135ft/41m. These elegantly striking altars will be decked with greenish marble and gold inlays, and formed of the finest marble and other materials.

Lord Nrisimhadeva will have His own temple under East Wing dome of the TOVP where His gold and marble altar will stand. When standing in front of the temple, while looking directly to the right, this temple is completely in vision. Even when taking it from the perspective of one standing in the middle of the temple room, Lord Nrisimhadeva's temple is fully visible. This is in allowance of the TOVP being built in a very open fashion, where there is easy access from one room to another. The altar will be constructed of a combination of Brazilian, red and black marble, as well as pure gold.

We hold out great hope and offer our earnest prayers to Srila Prabhupada and the entire Parampara, and to Their Lordships Sri Sri Pancha Tattva & Sri Sri Radha Madhava/Ashtasakhis and Sri Prahlad Maharaj and Sri Nrsimhadev that we shall stand firm on our target date of Gaura Purnima 2022. Despite our great hope and ardent prayers, we are very much dependent on all of you to donate generously and fulfill your pledges timely, in order that we may keep our promise to Their Lordships to move them in on the targeted date.

The TOVP project is very fortunate and proud to have a renowned team of expert consultants and builders acting as the backbone of the entire project. Such persons and entities are listed below.

  • TOVP In-House Architectural team - In actuality Srila Prabhupada is the primary architect for the TOVP. In his many letters, conversations and instructions, Srila Prabhupada clearly laid out the design and critical parameters for the entire TOVP project, including the essential features of its Vedic Planetarium.

The TOVP Team, along with its in-house architectural unit, has intricately researched these instructions of Srila Prabhupada and translated them into the architectural language, designs, and engineering concepts which are being manifested before your eyes today. This architectural set-up has proven more professional, competent and economically viable than hiring any of the other leading architectural firms in the market today.

  • Structural Engineer - Mr. B.B. Choudhary, Planning and Design Bureau. He also headed up the construction of the famous Akshardham project in New Delhi.
  • Gammon India Ltd – Main contractor for TOVP structure and other works. Gammon is a renowned multinational company which has constructed numerous projects throughout India, Asia, Africa and Europe. It even constructed the Famous heritage site, The Gateway of India, in 1919.
  • Cushman & Wakefield Project Management Consultancy - A world leader in the construction industry for over one hundred years with over 45,000 employees operating in over 40 offices and 70 countries around the world. They were hired in 2018 upon completion of the superstructure by Gammon to handle the final phases of construction leading to the Grand Opening.
  • Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Consultants - ESolutions from Chennai is an accomplished consulting company well-known for its ingenuity in the MEP field.
  • Acoustical Engineering – Tikendra Singh is an electronics and telecommunications engineer and leading acoustic and audio-visual consultant in India and abroad.

Firstly, we must all understand that the TOVP is not an ordinary building but a unique monument which is meant to endure for at least half a millennium. It suffices to say that such an ‘Adbhut Mandir’ cannot be built like an ordinary residential building.

We have spent a significant period of time researching and investigating the best possible construction materials which will sustain for such a long period of time and require a minimum degree of maintenance. At the same time, we have spared no efforts to make a comparative analysis of costs for each and every material to provide a pragmatic and achievable projection of material costs. In such a monumental building it would be simply unacceptable to have its finishing works completed in a cheap or commercial fashion—the visiting pilgrims from all over the world and the future generations of Vaishnavas would not forgive us if we should do so. However, we can guarantee and ensure you that each and every construction material purchased for the TOVP has been painstakingly considered as to its utility, durability, aesthetic quality and cost benefit.

(Those interested in more specific details regarding construction materials and their comprehensive testing
processes may refer to Annexure A).

The central Kalash of the TOVP is about six stories (50’/15m) tall, which is perhaps larger than most other ISKCON temples in the world. All three of the main Kalashas, along with their Chakras, and the smaller Kalashas on the Chatris (towers), are stainless steel coated with titanium nitrate. Considering that these three Kalashas are nothing less than the crown jewel of the temple, visible from a substantial distance, they possess and radiate a great aesthetic quality. The Kalashes and Chakras have all been installed, and were manufactured at a cost of $1.2 million (U.S. dollars) by a company from Russia, where traditionally they have an appreciable expertise in building magnificent Russian Orthodox Churches.

At the very inception of the TOVP project, before concluding any contracts and before starting actual construction, the figure of $60 million (US dollars) was mentioned as the projected cost for both the super structure and finishing works. Out of the said $60 million projected calculation, Ambarisa Prabhu gave $30 million (US dollars) with the balance to be collected from the worldwide fundraising campaign. Had we amassed the balance $30 million (US dollars) within a short period of time, we could have possibly finished the TOVP project for $60-70 million (US dollars). In spite of the best efforts of our fundraising team, we could not accrue a significant portion of that required balance. Therefore, given the escalating costs of construction materials and services, naturally the initial projected budget was augmented.

It is a universally accepted principle that if one does not have all the necessary funds to complete a construction project within a very rapid period of time, the budget naturally increases. Even a 5-star hotel’s construction cost could be $180 to $200 per sq. ft. The TOVP’s current projected budget of $90 million (US dollars) comes to $150 per sq. ft. This has been accepted by the GBC body and is no cause for concern, considering the usual anticipated escalation in construction costs over time.

The composition of the current TOVP Team remains unchanged, being headed up by Ambarisa Prabhu along with his TOVP Team members in Sridham Mayapur. Regarding the fundraising wing of the TOVP, Ambarisa Prabhu remains the Chairman & his Director for worldwide fundraising is Braja Vilas Das, with Jananivas Prabhu, Head Pujari of the ISKCON Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, as the Spiritual Mentor. Of course, we would be derelict not to mention the many other devotees who help with direct fundraising, accounting, database management, etc. at our offices in Mayapur and the U.S.

This matter is fully addressed and explained in Annexure B attached herewith, which is a letter from the GBC Executive Committee dated March 2016.

Yes, it is true that the Sacred Deeds Foundation in the USA is no longer authorized to receive donations on behalf of the TOVP. Henceforth, you may send your donations to the TOVP through its newly authorized entity, TOVP FOUNDATION, INC. Details given below

13901 NW 142 Ave.
Alachua, FL 32615.

Other questions and topics concerning various modes of donations to the TOVP have been given in
Annexure C.

Financial transparency is of utmost importance in the TOVP income and expense reporting. All our finances are carefully monitored through a 4-tier auditing system to ensure that not a farthing is wasted, misspent or misappropriated. These are the four auditing measures we have put in place so all our donors can be confident their donations are well spent:

  1. CNK RK and Co are our India accounting firm:
  2. Cushman & Wakefield, our Project Management Consultancy oversees our expenses:
  3. ISKCON India Bureau receives regular accounting reports
  4. Our U.S. accounting firm handles income through the TOVP Foundation

Income and expenditure accounts for the TOVP can be viewed on the TOVP website. Look under Donate -> Financial Reports.