Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Vrindaban, West Virginia: Prabhupada's Palace of Gold

Every so often on this site comes a destination that almost defies description. Welcome to another one.

This is said to be the only holy location for Hindus outside of India. It's not exactly where you would be looking either. Prabhupada's Palace of Gold is outside Moundsville, West Virginia, about 15 miles from Wheeling. You follow the sign off of Route 250 for about four miles down a winding road (you might see a Hare Krishna representative along the way), and then ... the palace appears.

Srila Prabhupada came to America from Calcutta in 1965. His followers decided to build him a palace, but he died before it was finished. They finished it anyway, and later added a temple.

The palace is a wide building that comes in layers or tiers and is ornately decorated (pictured). Tours are available, although there is a fee. Immediately surrounding the palace are a rose garden and a fountain. It's all well maintained and peaceful, and there's not a power line in sight.

Go down the hill, and the fun really begins. There's a large elephant statue by the parking lot, a couple of replica bulls a few steps away. Then there's the nice pond with a walking path around it. At a second pond, there are two 30-foot figures, each with an arm raised to the heavens. In the other direction is the temple and what looks like some dorms. Visitors can stay at either the lodge or in cottages, and there is food available.

Just when you think you have seen it all, the Palace of Gold turns up.

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