Original article By Press Trust Of India published in Business Standard on October 27, 2014
A gigantic blue dome is all that visitors to Nadia’s Mayapur have been seeing of the temple under construction for the past seven years. Last February, a gold-plated chakra, weighing two tonnes, was installed on it with fanfare.
A 350-feet high temple and sprawling over six lac square foot area in West Bengal’s Mayapur, the world headquarters of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is inching toward completion and will be ready by 2022.
Construction work at the Rs 500 crore-‘Sri Mayapur Chandroday’ temple project is in full swing since its foundation stone was laid by ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada in 1972.
“The temple would be unique as it would not only house the planetarium that would speak secret of Vedas but it would have a hall on 1.5 acre area where 10,000 devotees can pay their obeisance at a time,” Alfred Ford, grandson of iconic American industrialist Henry Ford and the president of the temple construction committee, told reporters here
The Temple of Vedic Planetarium will also describe all the physical details of the Universe and their relationship with God. “It would encourage a sense of wonder in the creation and in the hand behind it,” he said, adding that the temple would be completed by 2022.
Ford, who has invested Rs 200 crores in this temple project, is here in the city to participate in the religious rituals related to the auspicious ‘Kartik’ month.
“Though my wife is from a Brahmin family of West Bengal, I opted Vaishnav Dharma after taking ‘Deeksha’ (consecration) from my preceptor Prabhupada in the year 1972. In order to obey the commandment made by my preceptor I invested Rs 200 crores in this temple,” he said.
Prabhupada defined the size and design details of temple and town. “He also purchased the land, laid the cornerstone and left the royalties from his numerous books to help fund needed for construction. Since he gave his disciples the task of completing the Mayapur project and the temple I am honouring the wishes of my spiritual teacher,” Ford said.
Mayapur has become a symbol of harmony where without distinction of caste, creed and colour, three thousand devotees from 32 countries under the banner of Krishna Bhakti, propagate the message of the Bhagwad Geeta.