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World’s largest religious monument, larger than Angkor Wat coming up in Nadia

1 September, 2022 17:12:47
World’s largest religious monument, larger than Angkor Wat coming up in Nadia

It all started in 1972 and will end in 2024. Bengal is set to get the world’s largest religious monument in Mayapur, said to be replacing Cambodia’s 400-acre-large Angkor Wat temple complex as the largest religious monument. Temple of Vedic Planetarium in West Bengal was supposed to open two years ago but got delayed due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Now on the last leg of construction, the monument which will also serve as the headquarters of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), will open its doors in 2024. The structure will not just be the largest vedic temple, it is also said to have the world’s biggest dome. The Vedic Planetarium will offer guests a tour of the various parts of the cosmic creation.

The Temple of Vedic Planetarium will be larger than the Taj Mahal and Vatican’s Cathedral. ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada’s vision of the structure of the temple was apparently inspired by the design of the Capitol building in the United States. Long back in 1976, he is said to have discussed about the exterior of such a temple with Vishakha Mataji and Yadubara Prabhu and had asked them to take pictures of the Capitol when he was in Washington. During his final trip to the country, Prabhupada requested that Ambarish Prabhu contribute to the cost of the new Mayapur temple.

The building will also have a Vedic Planetarium with a massive rotating model that illustrates how the planetary systems move as they are described in holy books like the Bhagavad Puraṇ. There are also explanations and exhibits that show how these movements relate to the world that is visible to humans. The temple's construction that began in 2010, is expected to cost $100 million. On each of its storeys, it will accommodate 10,000 devotees who can pray, sing and even dance in front of Lord Krishna in accordance with ISKCON temple customs.

This future Wonder of the World coming up in Nadia district of West Bengal is based on the concept of India’s ancient Vedic culture and texts of wisdom that encompass all branches of human experience and knowledge, material and spiritual. It is both a temple and planetarium combined, and will be the largest modern Vedic temple in the world. 

In March 1972, ISKCON celebrated its first ever Gaura-Purnima festival in Sridham Mayapur. At that time, only the bhajan-kutir was on the land where Srila Prabhupada performed the foundation ceremony for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. A hole was dug about 15 or 20 feet deep, and Srila Prabhupada personally performed the foundation ceremony and installed the deity of Ananta Sesa. There is a picture of Srila Prabhupada down the hole, and also pictures of the fire sacrifice that was performed. Bhavananda Prabhu was there and Acyutananda Prabhu was there too. Srila Prabhupada invited all of his godbrothers and many of them came and they helped with the program. At the end of the ceremony the hole was filled up, and Ananta Sesa is still there in that place.

The location of the ceremony was east of the bhajan-kutir, about fifty meters away. At that time, there was only 3 acres of land. Later in 1977, the last time Srila Prabhupada was in Mayapur, more land was added a bit away from the main road, on the edge of the little forest that is out near the Gurukula. Srila Prabhupada’s disciples laid that foundation and Anantadeva. But that very night, someone actually came and dug up the hole and stole Ananta Sesa. It was a very isolated place at that time. Later, through a ground breaking ceremony with Ambarisa Prabhu and Bhavananda Prabhu, who got instructions on how to build the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium from Srila Prabhupada himself, the temple architecture was drawn. He wanted the temple with a big dome and the chandelier inside, with the universe moving. He even gave the height and other parameters. He instructed Bhavananda that he wanted big Radha-Madhava and asta-sakhi, and Panca-tattva should be there, seven feet tall. And also Srila Prabhupada wanted a parampara altar. And now that vision is finally coming to shape. 

Nityananda Prabhu had said: gauranga nitya-seva haibe vikasa, that from this temple, service to Lord Gauranga will spread all over the world. How do you serve Gauranga Mahaprabhu? By chanting Hare Krishna. This is the main service. He has come to give this, the holy name. So from this temple, the chanting of Hare Krishna goes to every town and village of the world. Prabhupada described it as a flood of love of God. He said: “In Sridham Mayapur there is sometimes a great flood after the rainy season. This is an indication that from the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya the inundation of love of Godhead should be spread all over the world, for this will help everyone, including old men, young men, women and children.” 

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