The TOVP Story, 1971-2022

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If you have any inquiries concerning the TOVP or how to make a donation towards the construction progress, please contact one of our representatives below in the area closest to you. India: Braja Vilasa das: fundraising@tovp.org United States: Vegavati devi dasi: tovpfoundation@tovp.org Canada: Indresh das: indresh@radhashyamasundar.com Europe/UK: Sukanti Radha devi dasi: tovpuk@gmail.com Russia: Narayani Radha devi dasi: tovp.ru@gmail.com Australia: Vijay Gopikesh das: vijayjps2@gmail.com New Zealand: Krishna Candra das: krishnacandra@harekrishna.org.nz South Africa: Nanda Kishore das: nanda.padayachee@gmail.com Middle East: Sri Vallabha das: shrishiv@emirates.com Malaysia: Simheswara das: simheswara@zoho.com Fiji: Vishwanath das: vdas@frcs.org.fj Ukraine: Gopi Nandini devi dasi: hornetf18@mail.ru All other: Braja Vilasa das: fundraising@tovp.org

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A Few Words of Introduction

It is in the words of great saints, prophets and holy men that we receive inspiration, knowledge and the key to our eternal life. And their words are also often prophetic and reveal a glorious spiritual future for all of humanity. The words and teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, following in the footsteps of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Parampara (preceptorial succession), certainly fulfill this caliber of wisdom and prophecy, as all his sincere followers can attest. And particularly with respect to the divine avatar of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, non-different from Sri Krishna, such revealing words as the ones above present a vision and hope for humanity that the floodgates of love of God as opened to the world by Lord Caitanya Himself will continue to remain so for thousands of years to come.

The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) represents a humble attempt on the part of the followers of Srila Prabhupada to fulfill his final, epochal desire and offering to his predecessor gurus and Lord Caitanya. By building this magnificent temple/planetarium at the birthplace of Lord Caitanya in Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal, the Lord is being glorified and His message spread like never before. It is hoped that the temple will reach a level of influence and importance as to become one of the future wonders of the world. This book, The TOVP Story 1971 - 2022, presents a concise history and photo collection of the project from its earliest inception to its current status and beyond. It is our hope that after perusing this book the reader will also be inspired to participate and help the project financially so we can together offer this wonderful and unique temple to Srila Prabhupada at its Grand Opening in 2024.

I have named this temple Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir, the Rising Moon of Mayapur. Now make it rise, bigger and bigger until it becomes the full moon. And this moonshine will be spread all over the world. All over India they will come to see. From all over the world they will come. -Srila Prabhupada, 1974

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is widely regarded as the foremost Vedic scholar, author, and teacher of the modern era. He is especially respected as the world's most prominent contemporary authority on bhakti-yoga - devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, as taught by the ancient

on Krishna bhakti, which are highly respected by scholars, philosophers and religious leaders for their authority, depth, clarity, and fidelity to tradition. The Mayapur Project in Navadvipa, West Bengal, India, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is one of Srila Prabhupada’s foremost gifts to his followers, and a shelter for all ISKCON devotees. He requested his followers from all over the world to come to Mayapur and live according to the principles laid down in the Vedic literatures. He envisioned not only an astonishing temple that would inspire a religious experience and transformative knowledge, but a city dedicated to spiritual education, culture, and community; a perpetual festival of devotion to Lord Krishna.

Vedic scriptures of India. He is also the Founder- Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). During the last twelve years of his life, he single-handedly launched one of the fastest-growing spiritual movements in the history of the world. He circled the globe fourteen times, bringing the teachings of Krishna Consciousness to millions of people. With the help of over 5,000 full-time disciples and followers he opened over a hundred temples and rural communities. He also authored over seventy books

Vision

Now you all together make this Vedic Planetarium very nice, so that people will come and see. From the description in the Srimad-Bhagavatam you prepare this Vedic Planetarium. My idea is to attract people of the whole world to Mayapur.

-Srila Prabhupada, 1976

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder- Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Chairman ' s Message

Dear Friends and Well-wishers, Thank you for taking a few minutes to read about an amazing, world-class project, which at this moment is rising in the holy place of Sridham Mayapur in the beautiful district of Nadia, West Bengal. Mayapur is the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - the scheduled incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, for this age of Kali. Sri Caitanya appeared over five hundred years ago to inaugurate the yuga-dharma of chanting the Holy Names of God, Hare Krishna, and to freely distribute pure bhakti, love for the Lord. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada named the Mayapur Temple complex ‘Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir - Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP).’ Chandrodaya means ‘Rising Moon,’ indicating that the moon of Lord Caitanya’s mercy will rise in Mayapur and spread around the world. Srila Prabhupada had a clear vision for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, one he often expressed. He wanted a unique Vedic planetarium/temple combination to present the Vedic perspective of life, including a gigantic display of the material and spiritual worlds, which visitors could view from different levels as they walked through the planetarium. He wanted something startling and state-of-the-art to attract people from around the world to Mayapur. This new temple will be the largest Vedic temple built in the last one thousand years, and Srila Prabhupada is the original architect for the project. In his letters and conversations, he clearly outlined its key features, which have served as the prototype for the TOVP.

The most prominent external features of the TOVP will be its three towering domes. The highest and central dome, more than three hundred feet tall and the largest of its kind in the world, will house three sets of Deities. With an overall square footage of 600,000 square feet to the temple, the main temple hall, 1.5 acres in size, is alone capable of holding ten thousand people. The temple superstructure, now completed, was built by Gammon India, one of the largest construction companies in India, under the guidance of Mr. Vibhuti Choudhary, the main consultant. External and internal finishing work is now moving ahead rapidly with the expert guidance of a world leading Project Management Consultancy (PMC), Cushman & Wakefield. As a token of love and immense gratitude for the unfathomable gift of Krishna consciousness that Srila Prabhupada gave to the world, the TOVP Team desires to present this grand temple to him in 2024. Please accept this book as an invitation to join in this incredible journey. By assisting Srila Prabhupada and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to build this temple, you will create immeasurable spiritual assets for your family for generations to come. It is the greatest philanthropic effort for the eternal welfare of all humanity. With deep gratitude and sincere best wishes,

Alfred Ford (Ambarisa Dasa), great-grandson of the famous American industrialist Henry Ford, Chairman of the Board for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.

An Astounding Temple

eka adbhuta mandira ei haibe prakaça gauraìga nitya-seva haibe vikaça “An astounding temple will appear and will engage the entire world in the eternal service of Lord Caitanya.” -Lord Nityananda

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu A Devotional Renaissance

In 1486, Sri Caitanya appeared in Mayapur, West Bengal, India. In His youth He became famous as a scholar and teacher of logic. But after His initiation from Isvara Puri, He absorbed Himself instead in the chanting of Lord Krishna’s names in devotional ecstasy. In opposition to the rigid social practices of the day, Sri Caitanya and His followers recognized no barriers to participation in sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names. Their devotional enthusiasm and egalitarianism gave birth to the sankirtan movement, inspiring people from all walks of life to experience the highest spiritual state, pure love of God, and to share it freely with others, regardless of caste, race, or creed.

Sri Caitanya accepted the renounced order of sannyasa in His twenties and traveled the length and breadth of India, teaching and promoting the practice of bhakti-yoga— especially the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra—for this age of Kali. He taught that spiritual development should be the central goal of human society. This was India’s devotional renaissance. He was not only accepted as a saint by common men, but also as a divine incarnation - the Golden Avatar - by His devout followers.

Sridham Mayapur at the confluence of the Ganga and Jalangi rivers

Prophecies

Srila Prabhupada’s vision of the ISKCON Mayapur Project was born from a prediction made by Lord Nityananda, the closest associate of Sri Caitanya. Speaking more than four hundred years ago, the Lord told Srila Jiva Gosvami:

Aerial view of the TOVP from across the Jalangi

When our Lord [Caitanya] disappears, by His desire the Ganges will swell. The water will almost cover Mayapur for a hundred years and then recede. For some time, only the land will remain, devoid of houses. Then by the Lord’s desire, Mayapur will again become prominent and people will live there as before. All the ghats on the bank of the Ganges will again become visible and the devotees will build temples . . . In this way, the devotees will reveal the lost places. Know this for certain: at the end of four hundred years, the task of recovering the lost holy places will begin. - Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya

Inheriting the Legacy

In 1893, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura rediscovered Lord Caitanya's original birthplace. He then personally collected a single rupee from over 50,000 homes in order to build a magnificent temple at the Yoga-pitha - the birth-site and place that connects the mundane earth to the spiritual world. Ever since, the reputation of Mayapur and the appreciation of Lord Caitanya’s teachings has grown steadily. Lord Caitanya’s birthplace and the sites of His early pastimes in Mayapur have immense significance for devotees, Hindus, scholars and spiritually-minded people throughout the world. In his time, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura stood alone in believing that Lord Caitanya’s birthplace could inspire worldwide appeal. His son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, continued to develop Mayapur, and expanded his father’s work by establishing sixty-four temples in India. He instructed his followers to share the teachings of Lord Caitanya in the West. His wish was not broadly fulfilled until 1965, nearly thirty years after his demise, when his disciple, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, arrived in New York with no resources or support. Within a decade, Bhaktivedanta Swami, later known as Srila Prabhupada, had established the worldwide confederation of temples, educational centers and farm projects known today as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

The temple at the Yogapitha, birthsite of Sri Caitanya in Sridham Mayapur, established by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur on March 20, 1893

Bird's-eye view of the entire TOVP structure with domes and chatris

The Final Purpose

A day will come when the fortunate Russians, Prussians, English, French, Americans and all other nations shall come together in Sri Mayapur under the banner of Sri Caitanya and raise kirtan throughout the land of Nadia ! - Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, 1896

This prediction was fulfilled less than a hundred years after its utterance. For more than 50 years now, devotees, pilgrims and spiritual seekers of all paths have come together in Sridham Mayapur through kirtan. All differences become insignificant, all designations disappear. By this joyful process, envy, anger and greed are cleansed from the heart, and our desire to serve the Supreme Lord and all living beings blossoms. But so many more could benefit.

The final purpose of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium is to effect a worldwide change in consciousness that will bring about the eternal welfare of all humanity. Krishna consciousness is the pure and original state of being of all souls, after attaining which we can enter into our eternal life of knowledge and bliss. To bring this immensely important opportunity and message to all peoples of the world is the sacred task we are charged with. Please join us in this endeavor and be forever blessed for your service to Godhead and humanity.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

1975 Gaura Purnima Festival in Sridham Mayapur attended by hundreds of devotees from around the world, fulfilling the prediction of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur

My son! This place of Mayapura-Navadvipa that you reside within is also purely transcendental. However, as there is a net of maya covering your perception, you are unable to realize the innate transcendence of this place. When, by the mercy of the saintly souls, your spiritual vision arises, then you will be able to see this holy land as it really is. You will see that Mayapura and Navadvipa are transcendental realms; then only will your stay here be realized as the perfection of vraja-vasa, residence in Vraja. - Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Jaiva-dharma, Chapter 13

A Holy Land

Navadvipa is described in the Vedic scriptures as a lotus with nine petals or 'islands.' Here, emerald-hued paddy fields spread out in all directions, veiling the spiritual reality with the beauty of the lush Bengali countryside. The center of that mystical lotus is Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, the Golden Avatar. Mayapur is a small town in the district of Nadia, in the state of West Bengal, 140 km north of Kolkata.

To the casual observer, Mayapur is an obscure little pilgrimage town. But history and scripture have shown that Mayapur is an extraordinary and powerful tirtha - a holy place where the Lord personally appeared, and wherein sacred deeds performed beget immeasurable spiritual and material benefits. The heart of the Mayapur city is the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, and its soul the Supreme Godhead, manifest in His gorgeous Deity forms.

Within the heart of the Deity, the innermost sanctum of Mayapur, lives divine love, now and always expressed by devotees through acts of devotional service, especially the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord. All become united here in a common exchange of love and service amongst themselves and to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.

Front view of the TOVP

We have named this temple Mayapur Chandrodaya. We have got great ambition to develop this place nicely and gloriously.

-Srila Prabhupada, 1976, Mayapur

East View of TOVP

Spiritual Capital of the World

As the setting for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, Mayapur will continue to flourish into a vibrant, diverse and international city, a global community whose central goal is spiritual development in harmony with modern but simple material life. In practicing an ethic of sustainable development, Mayapur will model the social and economic principles of an ideal human society as outlined in the Vedic scriptures. We are trying to construct a city where people from all over the world can come to visit and live according to the Vedic tenets of 'simple living and high thinking.'

- Srila Prabhupada letter to Mr. Hunter, 1976 Today Mayapur is home to devotees from all corners of the world, who are contributing actively in its development. Devotees from different countries, speaking different languages, having different cuisines and cultures, are living harmoniously in Krishna consciousness. This is a major attraction for pilgrims from all over the world.

A Shrine of our Time The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium aims to make a wholesome, authentic spiritual life once again appealing to people throughout the world. Thousands of visitors arrive daily to experience the spiritual ambiance. Pilgrimage to Sri Mayapur has increased steadily over the past thirty years, largely due to ISKCON’s efforts in spreading the teachings of Sri Caitanya both within India and globally.

The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium will expand its service as a global center of pilgrimage to become the pre-eminent destination for seekers and students of spiritual culture. By the confluence of art, technology, philosophy, and religious culture, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium will inspire, enliven, and educate millions of people in the universal principles of spiritual science.

Throughout the world there is no institution to impart education in the matter of spiritual understanding. So, we are going to open a big center in Mayapur where this education will be internationally imparted. Students from all parts of the world will go there to take education in this important subject.

-Srila Prabhupada, 1971

DFroomnet vCihewakorfasSri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir

A Temple for the Millennium At the foundation of every civilization lies its world-view, which inspires its art and culture. This shared perspective shapes the values and sets the direction of a society. The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium will give visitors a unique insight into the Vedic world-view which is not only spiritual, but scientific and practical as well. Modern scientific thought asserts that creation is essentially mechanistic, impersonal, and without basis in a higher intelligence. Societies which adopt this viewpoint seek to benefit from an increased standard of living on the material level. Unfortunately, a tendency then follows to minimize or criticize religion as an impediment to progress. The results can be seen in societies both developed and developing: disintegration of the family, substance abuse, mental illness, and the general degradation of morality and culture. In a rapidly changing world that is as bewildered as it is bewildering, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium will re-orient us to our place in the universe, and show us how to arrive at our heart’s true spiritual destination through the practice of Krishna consciousness.

Aerial view from the rear east side

The mission of the Sri Mayapur Project, in establishing the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, is to reclaim the credibility of the ancient Vedic knowledge - a comprehensive knowledge which accommodates both one's material and spiritual needs. In order to properly present the Vedic view, and at the same time expose the flaws in the materialistic concept of life, various subjects of contemporary and universal interest will be explored and developed within different areas of the Temple. The temple is being designed according to the sacred architecture that has facilitated spiritual self-realization for millions of people throughout the ages. Simply seeing the outside of the temple will evoke appreciation, and awaken the dormant devotion for God in every sincere seeker. The centerpiece of the temple is the Vedic Cosmic Chandelier which offers a tour of the various regions of the cosmic creation. Beginning from the lower planets, pilgrims travel up through the earthly realm and then on to the higher planetary systems before passing beyond the boundary of the material universe. Within the spiritual realm, visitors view the various spiritual planets, before finally arriving at the topmost spiritual abode of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.

Front view of Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir

Project History

1971

1972

1976

First Gaura Purnima Festival Installation of Ananta-Sesha Deity in the foundation pit of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium

Gaura Purnima Srila Prabhupada reveals details for his Temple of the Vedic Planetarium

Sri Mayapur Project established by Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada placing the Ananta Sesha deity in the TOVP foundation pit, 1972

1980

1986

1996

2004

2009

2016

Gaura Purnima Sri Radha-Madhava Deities are installed

Gaura Purnima 500 th Anniversary Lord Nrsimhadeva Deity is installed

Gaura Purnima Srila Prabhupada's Puspa Samadhi Mandir is opened and murti installed

Gaura Purnima Sri Pancatattva Deities are installed

TOVP construction begins

Superstructure completed

2021

2020

2018

Prabhupada Murti Welcomed

Pujari Floor Completed

Chakra Installation

1971: Sridham Mayapur Project Established by Srila Prabhupada In 1971 Srila Prabhupada unveiled the first model of the Mayapur project and Temple of the Vedic Planetarium to a room of guests and potential donors, although at that time the temple was named Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, Temple of the Rising Moon of Lord Caitanya. The temple dome was originally designed with a pointed top, but later he changed it to resemble the U.S. Capitol Building dome. The model had four guesthouses at the rear of the land of which the present Lotus building was the first, and the temple filled the balance of the ISKCON land with the entrance from Bhaktisiddhanta Road. The only structure that existed on the ISKCON Mayapur property when purchased was a dilapidated old house. It later was renovated into the bhajan kutir where Srila Prabhupada resided until other housing was built. During a morning walk some time after the Lotus Building was constructed Prabhupada was asked, “Should we demolish this (bhajan kutir) since we don’t use it anymore?” Prabhupada was quiet for a moment and then he said, “No, let the people see – this is what we were” , and then with a grand swing of his right arm he pointed up to his right and said, “and this is what we have become” . And, of course, as we now know he was pointing directly to where the TOVP stands today.

The only structure on the purchased Mayapur property, shortly to become the first Mayapur Temple and residential quarters for Srila Prabhupada, called the bhajan kutir

The first model of the Mayapur project and Temple of the Vedic Planetarium

1972: First Gaura Purnima Festival, Placing of Ananta Sesha, Chota Radha Madhava Arrive Chota Radha Madhava and Lord Gauranga were first worshiped in the bhajan kutir The first Gaura Purnima Festival at ISKCON Mayapur was celebrated on Srila Prabhupada’s order on February 29, 1972. Though not widely attended by International devotees, it set the standard for a festival that has since become the backbone of annual Vaishnava sanga and celebrations in both Mayapur and Vrindaban, attracting hundreds of thousands of devotees. During the Gaura Purnima Festival, Srila Prabhupada also held a historic ceremony for the laying of the Ananta Sesha murti in the foundation pit of the future Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. In the same year, on the order of Srila Prabhupada, Sri Sri Chota Radha Madhava became the first Deities to be worshiped on the ISKCON campus in the original Mayapur temple, the bhajan kutir. The best time and place is Mayapur on Lord Caitanya’s Appearance Day. That is not only the best for me but for everyone. Mayapur is meant for that. If possible, all devotees from all our centers should go for 8 days at that time. -Srila Prabhupada, 1973

Srila Prabhupada celebrating the first Gaura Purnima Festival with Chota Radha Madhava and Lord Gauranga Placing Ananta Sesha in the TOVP foundation pit with Puri Maharaja

1976: Srila Prabhupada Reveals Details of the TOVP Although the general concept of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium had been discussed since the first model was unveiled in 1971, in this letter to S.L. Dhani on November 14, 1976, Srila Prabhupada reveals the details and magnitude of this grand project on a scale to exceed all previous expectations. He clearly spells out every detail of the cosmological model, the use of diorama exhibits, charts and films, and the general concept for educating visitors on the authorized explanation of Vedic cosmology and philosophy from the Bhagavatam, Puranas and other shastras.

1980: Gaura Purnima: Sri Sri Radha Madhava Installed In 1979, Radhapada das, a well-to-do Kolkata businessman and ISKCON supporter at the time, had a dream of Srila Prabhupada, who instructed him to help the devotees in Mayapur. He immediately went to the Kolkata temple and offered to purchase Deities for the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir. The devotees had been planning to install large Radha Madhava murtis as instructed by Srila Prabhupada, so this came as a sign from the Lord, and the Deity production was immediately started. Sri Sri Radha Madhava were installed in 1980 during the Gaura Purnima festival. Six years later, in 1986, after the new temple extension was completed, four of the eight sakhis were installed, and another six years later in 1992, the remaining four sakhis were installed during a three- day ceremony. In the midst of the golden lotus of one hundred petals, there is a golden platform surrounded by eight petals. Situated upon those eight petals are the eight principal sakhis, headed by Lalita and Visakha. On that golden platform, the Divine Couple sit upon a jeweled throne. In the company of Lord Syama sits the beautiful Radhika.

(Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura’s Prarthana)

1986: 500 th Gaura Purnima: Prahlad/Nrsimhadeva Installed During the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of Gaura Purnima, Ugra Nrsimhadeva and Prahlad Maharaja were installed in Sridham Mayapur. The entire history of the making, arrival and installation of Their murtis can be found in the TOVP flipbook below, Lord Nrsimhadeva ISKCON Mayapur.

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/160769164/ Lord Nrsimhadeva, ISKCON Mayapur

1996: Gaura Purnima: Srila Prabhupada’s Puspa Samadhi Opened After some initial obstacles and delays, Srila Prabhupada’s Puspa Samadhi Mandir was officially opened during the 1996 Gaura Purnima Festival and his murti installed for daily worship.

2004: Gaura Purnima: Sri Pancha Tattva Installed In 2004, during the Gaura Purnima festival, Sri Pancha Tattva were installed after seven years of preparations and the making of the Deities. Their production history, inspiring images and the eighteen incredible days leading to Their installation are thoroughly explained in the Advent of the Panca Tattva and Eighteen Days TOVP flipbooks below. A video of the installation ceremony has also been provided.

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/210610942/ The Advent of Panca-Tattva

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/581800979/ Eighteen Days - Sri Panca-tattva's Mayapur-lila

Click the image to watch the video

2009: TOVP Construction Begins September 21, 2009 marked a historic day for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium and the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. On this day the first site work commenced with the clearing of the large trees growing on the future temple site, some of which were transplanted in a new park area. This clearing and preparation process took several months into 2010. The inauguration ceremony was conducted on February 14, 2010, as part of the Gaura Purnima Festival. The program included a Vedic fire yajna to invoke auspiciousness for the successful completion of the temple, and the laying of four large copper plates, with various Vedic signs carved on them, at the four corners of the temple construction site. This ceremony was presided over by one of India’s most well-known Vastu shastra consultants. On Friday, March 19th, the first foundation pile was driven to begin construction. Around Noon that day, the pile-driver was started up and sank the first pile in the presence of TOVP team members, construction workers, plus a host of invited guests, including a number of local resident devotees. The event marked the official start of building the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium.

Ambarisa das laying the first auspicious copper plate at one of the four corners of the construction site

Inauguration Ceremony fire yajna held during the Gaura Purnima Festival

Trees being cleared away on the first day of grounds preparation

The first of 2500+ foundation ‘piles’ being driven

The construction site ready for the first foundation ‘pile’ to be driven into the ground

2016: TOVP Superstructure Completed

2016 marked a major milestone with the completion of the TOVP superstructure. From driving 2500+ foundation piles into the ground in 2010 to completing the entire structure and domes of the TOVP, it was like a miracle happening before everyone’s eyes. It was only a matter of time to the complete fulfillment of Srila Prabhupada’s dream and the prophecy of Lord Nityananda and our acharyas. We are but instruments bestowed with mercy to manifest this grand temple that will spread the glories of Lord Caitanya throughout the world. You must allow Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to rise more and more so that this sun, moonshine, may be distributed all over the world. That is wanted. Therefore, this temple is situated. Of course, we shall try to construct a very nice temple for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This morning we were thinking of this. So, from this place, this moon, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, will distribute. Sreyah kairava candrika vitaranam vidya vadhu jivanam . The Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Hare Krsna movement... Param vijayate sri krishna sankirtanam. This is spoken by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself.

- Srila Prabhupada, 1975

Click the image to watch the video

2018: Chakra installation The installation of the Nrsimha Dome and Main Dome Chakras on February 7th, 2018 was an incredible accomplishment and yet another major milestone in the progress of the TOVP. All who were present during this inspiring and grand celebration felt this event to be a confirmation from the Lord that the temple was going to be completed very soon, and the beloved Deities of ISKCON Mayapur relocated into Their new home.

Click the image to watch the video

2020: Pujari Floor Grand Opening On February 13, 2020, the observance of the 146th Appearance Day of His Divine Grace Astottarasata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada, the entire completed Pujari Floor of the TOVP was opened in great pomp and grandeur. In preparation for the relocation of ISKCON’s beloved world Deities into Their long-awaited new home, and to instill confidence in ISKCON’s leadership and devotees that the construction is solidly moving in that direction, the opening was officially undertaken. The 2.5 acre Pujari Floor consists of sixty-nine specially designed seva rooms equipped with the best facilities for the Lord’s service, and the entire floor is built of the finest materials and fitted with state-of-the-art maintenance and service systems, including air conditioning, fire prevention and an elaborate intercom/ communication arrangement. Built to last for hundreds of years, this is the largest Deity Department space in the world and will set an example of the highest standards of Deity seva excellence.

Mayapur Head Pujaris, Jananivas and Pankajanghri Prabhus receiving a TOVP model in recognition of their steadfast service to the Deities

TOVP Team and pujaris preparing for opening

Chota Radha Madhava arriving at t

Click the image to watch the video

Ambarisa, Braja Vilasa and Svaha Prabhus celebrating the Pujari Floor Grand Opening

The Pujari Floor main entrance in preparation for the Grand Opening

Chota Radha Madhava on tour throughout the Pujari Floor the TOVP for a tour of Their future facilities on the Pujari Floor

Srila Prabhupada's room on the Pujari floor

2021: Prabhupada Welcome Ceremony On October 14 and 15, ISKCON worldwide celebrated the historic Prabhupada Vaibhava Darshan Uttsav, Grand Welcome Ceremony of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. The two-day event was broadcast live on YouTube and multiple ISKCON-related Facebook pages by Mayapur TV and viewed by hundreds of thousands of devotees and well-wishers, and also attended by thousands of Mayapur devotees.

Srila Prabhupada’s main altar murti en route to the Welcome Ceremony in the

Click the image to watch the video

Thousands of devotees attended the grand celebration to welcome Srila Prabhupada to the TOVP The fire yajna to invoke auspiciousness

Braja Vilasa inspiring devotees with the importance of Srila Prabhupada’s presence

TOVP

Cutting the flower garland ‘ribbon’ to open Srila Prabhupada’s quarters in the TOVP

Srila Prabhupada receiving his abhisheka during the Welcome Ceremony

Srila Prabhupada situated in his quarters in the TOVP

From Vision to Reality From 2009 until 2022 the TOVP project has achieved several milestones in its progress, despite setbacks caused by world events in recent years. Now, with all obstacles removed by the grace of the Lord, we are moving full steam ahead to first complete and open the Nrsimhadeva Temple Hall in the Fall of 2023, complete the Grand Temple Hall, altar and Vyasasana in 2024, and finally celebrate the Grand Opening in 2024. At that time the Deities of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Sri Pancha Tattva and Sri Prahlad Nrsimha will be relocated into Their new home in the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, and Their opulent worship commenced. Srila Prabhupada will be placed on his exquisite Vyasasana from where he will perpetually worship Their Lordships and greet all the worldwide pilgrims who come to see Them. Thus, we will all have assisted him in making his final, epochal offering to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, our acharyas and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In the years following the opening, the Planetarium Wing and Vedic Science Center, Cosmic Chandelier, exhibits, gardens, etc. will be completed, along with the general expansion of the entire ISKCON Mayapur campus. The anticipated number of annual visitors is expected to quadruple following the opening of the temple, as the reputation and influence of the project reaches the world stage

• Temple Exterior • Temple Interior • Grand Temple Hall • Nrsimhadeva Temple Hall • Planetarium Wing and Vedic Science Center • Grand Temple Altar and Vyasasana • Pujari Floor • Vedic Cosmology Chandelier • Transcendental Exhibits

• Temple Artwork • Temple Grounds

Temple Exterior The TOVP Architecture and Design Department put hours and hours of research and development into the designing and planning of each and every embellishment of the temple exterior. No detailed large or small was spared their scrutiny and intense oversight to make sure every element of the TOVP is as perfect as possible. Every space matters. Every line drawn on the AutoCAD defines that space. With great deliberation and calibration the drawings are released on the site one after another after another after another.... With a total amounting to over 8,000 detailed drawings, we gear up towards the upcoming milestones. Refining, reforming, evolving ...and deriving systems to make it even better than before.

- Varsha Sharma/Vilasini devi dasi: Head Architect

Temple Interior Beautifying the fabulously ornate and opulent temple interior will be marbled pillars and floors with decorative inlays, marble walls with exquisite paintings and bas reliefs, and artistic ceiling designs from which will hang elegant chandeliers. Note: These images are computer renderings of the future temple interior

The Grand Temple Hall

The main temple hall, influenced by both traditional Indian and classical architectural styles, will house the worship of the Lord through blissful kirtans, devotional bhajans, and lectures on the Vedic scriptures. At sixty-one thousand square feet, it will be spacious enough to accomodate ten thousand devotees. The many balconies on the museum levels will also offer stunning views of the Deities and Cosmic Chandelier. The Krishna consciousness movement has established its center in Mayapur, the birth site of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to give men the great opportunity to go there and perform a constant festival of sankirtana-yajna, as recommended herein (yajnesa-makha mahotsavah), and to distribute prasada to millions of hungry people hankering for spiritual emancipation. This is the mission of the Krishna consciousness movement. -Srila Prabhupada In many traditional temples, the Deities are kept in small, secluded sanctums, far removed from the world. However, in the TOVP Srila Prabhupada wanted a model of the entire universe to be within the main temple hall. The Deities will thus be seen in the broadest possible framework. This experience generates appreciation of the Lord as the ultimate reality, the origin of all creation, Who at the same time appears before us directly and intimately in His Deity form. Note: The images below are computer renderings of the future temple hall

The grand temple hall

Interior marbling

The demigods offering prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva from the gallery above His altar

Nrsimhadeva Temple Hall Adjoining the Main Temple Hall, the East Wing Nrsimhadeva Temple Hall will be a place for intense prayer and kirtans to worship Lord Krishna as His fierce and protective avatara of Lord Nrsimhadeva. As Lord Nrsimhadeva protected His devotee Prahlada, He protects any person that approaches Him with sincere devotion. Half an acre in size and decorated with stunning devotional art along its walls, the Nrsimhadeva Temple Hall will house a magnificent altar altar 37ft./11.m in length, 26ft./8m. wide and 37ft./11m. high, made of black granite with white marble and gold leafing. The floor has a multi-colored scheme that includes black, white, sienna, burnt sienna and green. Note: These images are computer renderings of the future Nrsimhadeva Hall and altar

Planetarium Wing and Vedic Science Center Under the West Dome of the temple structure is housed the Planetarium Wing. On its four floors will be various cosmology exhibits, video monitors, maps and charts and other displays to explain in more detail the Cosmic Chandelier and Vedic Cosmology in general. However, the highlight of the planetarium will be the state-of-the-art, 200 seat

theater where viewers can have a simultaneously entertaining and educational experience of this subject. The Vedic Science Center, also located within the Planetarium Wing, will house a wide variety of exhibits demonstrating the various aspects of the Vedic sciences, and their relevance to all aspects of human civilization.

The TOVP West Wing and dome

The Temple Altar and Vyasasana The Main Temple Hall will feature three magnificent altars, which are the very heart of the TOVP. In total, the altars will stretch a hundred and thirty feet across, and will be decorated with white marble inlaid with gold leafing. 'The forty-nine-foot-high domes will be made of pearl-white marble, and will be supported by blue marble columns, arches and golden ornamentation inspired by Fabergé styling.

Devotees taking darshan will start at the left altar to take darshan of Srila Prabhupada and the guru-parampara, in order to receive their blessings. Then, by the mercy of the disciplic succession, they will take darshan of Sri Pancatattva on the central altar. Finally, at the third altar and through the mercy of Lord Caitanya, they will come before Sri Sri Radha-Madhava and the ashta-sakhis.

Guru Parampara Mandir

Sri Pancatattva Mandir

Sri Radha-Madhava Ashta-Sakhi Mandir

Note: Images on these pages are computer renderings

Pujari Floor The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium houses the largest Deity service facility in the world at 2.5 acres in size. Pujaris, priests, will utilize its sixty-nine rooms which include numerous kitchens, dress and ornament preparation rooms, flower garland and altar decoration rooms, meeting rooms, storage rooms and more.

Vedic Cosmology Chandelier Suspended from the peak of the main dome above the altar the dome will be a scale model of the universe ,the Cosmic Chandelier as described in the Vedic literature. It will be twenty stories tall and a hundred feet wide, and its stars and planets will orbit majestically within the vast dome. The light emanating from the star fields, the chariots of the devas, and the effulgence (brahmajyoti) of the spiritual sky will supplement additional light from the temple hall’s beautiful gilt bronze lamps.

"Now, here in India, we are planning construction of a very large Vedic Planetarium or Temple of Understanding. Within the planetarium we will construct a huge, detailed model of the universe as described in the text of the Fifth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Within the planetarium the model will be studied by onlookers from different levels by use of escalators. Detailed information will be given on open verandas at the different levels by means of dioramas, charts, films, etc. This model will be engineered to suspend from the structure of the dome and rotate according to the real movement of the planets. The plans for this very large project are being taken solely from the references found in Fifth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam and its authoritative commentaries by important acharyas, along with other Puranas and Samhitas like Brahma-samhita etc.” Srila Prabhupada, 1976

Alluring and Transcendental Exhibits

While conceiving the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, Srila Prabhupada particularly emphasized the different types of exhibits that would be made to illustrate the philosophy, history, cosmology and science of the Vedic wisdom. We shall show the Vedic conception of planetary system within this material world and above the material world… We are going to exhibit the Vedic culture throughout the whole world, and they'll come here…. Just like they come to see the Taj Mahal, the architectural culture, they'll come to see the civilization culture, the philosophical culture, the religious culture by practical demonstration with dolls and other things… Actually, it will be a unique thing in the world. There is no such thing all over the world. That we shall do. And not only simply showing museum, but educating people to that idea. With factual knowledge, books, not fictitious.

- Srila Prabhupada, 1976 Note: The dioramas presented here are representative only

Inspiring Temple Artwork

Adorning the entire temple throughout its main halls, spacious marble corridors and rooms will be inspiring and beautiful, locally made artwork composed of paintings of avatar lilas, murtis of devas and bas-relief wall panels.

Temple Grounds The beauty of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium exterior and interior will be a hallmark of this future wonder of the world. But the frontage grounds will also present a gorgeous display of attractive features. The temple 45-acre frontage will be adorned with luscious gardens and attractive walkways, interwoven with calming water displays and fountains, yajna-shalas, gazebos and sitting areas, all surrounded by the residential quarters, ashrams, shops, restaurants and schools of the expanding Mayapur city. The images display some of the above features of the temple grounds in computer graphics renderings, more fully appreciated in the Master Plan video below.

Click the image to watch the video

Comparison to other Religious Structures The temple complex is 600,000 square feet, and the total height of the temple is 370 ft (113m).

St. Peter's Basilica Vatican City 138m

Temple of the Vedic Planetarium Mayapur, India 113m

St. Paul's Cathedral London, United Kingdom 111m

Taj Mahal Agra, India 73m

Hagia Sofia Istanbul, Turkey 55m

Features of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium 1. This is the largest Vedic temple built in modern history at 600,000 sq. ft./65,032 sq. m. and a height

7. 45 exquisite Jaipur-style sandstone windows have been fitted into the white-marbled exterior walls of the structure. 8. Inlaid marble walls and floors will cover the entire temple interior, along with beautiful, locally- made bas-relief panels and paintings on its walls. 9. Within the main temple hall is situated the largest Vedic altar in the world, made from the best blue and white marble with gold inlays (134 ft./41 m. long, 49 ft./15 m. tall, 48 ft./15 m. wide), giving darshan of the murtis of Radha Madhava and the Ashta-Sakhis, Pancha Tattva and the Gaudiya Vaishnava Guru Parampara. 10. The Deity Seva Facility (Pujari Floor) consists of 69 dedicated rooms such as kitchens, dress making and storage rooms, arati preparation rooms, festival paraphernalia rooms and flower garland making rooms, spanning an area of 2.5 acres, and is the largest of its kind in the world. 11. Hanging from the ceiling within the Main Temple Dome is the centerpiece of the temple, a massive rotating cosmic chandelier 200 ft./61 m. high and 100 ft./30 m. wide, depicting the universe according to Vedic authority, ascending from the material to the spiritual world.

12. The East Wing Dome houses the solid granite and marble-clad altar of Prahlad Nrsimhadeva embellished with gold ornamentation and decorative elements in the form of chakras, peacocks, lotuses and other floral designs, and its size is 37 ft./11 m. in length, 26.5 ft./8 m. wide and 37 ft./11 m. in height. 13. Under the West Wing Dome will be the 200 seat, full-dome planetarium theater which will be used for screening a range of presentations of Vedic cosmology, philosophy and science, as well as for lectures, conventions and similar events. A Science Center/Exhibition Hall will be on the lower level. 14. Four floors of exhibits encompassing 84,000 sq. ft./7,800 m. will utilize cutting-edge technologies such as projection mapping, virtual and augmented reality, holograms, motion-based simulations and more to present various aspects of Vedic science and philosophy, challenging modern mechanistic and atheistic views of reality. 15. Situated on over 60 acres of land, the temple will be surrounded by gorgeous gardens and walkways, water displays, residential quarters, shops, restaurants and schools, all within the expanding Vedic City of ISKCON Mayapur.

of 370 ft./113 m., with three domes and eight Chatris, encompassing a footprint of 16 acres, and has been built to last for hundreds of years. 2. The temple hall is the largest in the world at 2.5 acres and capable of accommodating 10,000 people. 3. The main temple dome, at 177 ft./54 m. diameter and 114 ft./35m. height, is the largest stainless-steel dome of its kind in the world. 4. The solid titanium Chakras and Kalashes atop the three temple domes are the largest of any known Vedic temple, the main dome Chakra measuring at 23 ft./7 m. in diameter. 5. The exterior temple structure is adorned by in-house-manufactured cornices, volutes, peacock statues and other ornamental pieces, and specially crafted sky-blue ceramic tiles embellished with stars and ribbons have been mounted onto the three domes. 6. Immense, in-house-manufactured pillars stand throughout the interior and exterior of the temple, set with the highest quality marble in the world.

ISKCON

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), otherwise known as the Hare Krishna movement, was established in 1966 by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In the fifty-plus years since then it has flourished into a worldwide community of devotees practicing Krishna Consciousness, or loving devotional service to Krishna. Today ISKCON includes over six hundred and fifty major centers, temples and rural communities all around the world. ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya lineage , a monotheistic tradition within the Vedic or Hindu culture. Srila Prabhupada worked tirelessly to translate the main Vaisnava scriptures and their commentaries into English, and the great potency of his books is due to his resolute loyalty to the teachings of this authentic, unbroken lineage.

Service since 1966

ESTABLISHMENTS

OUTREACH

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

650 temples, centers, schools and colleges. 110 vegetarian restaurants. 65 ISKCON farms & rural communities.

6000 public festivals every year. 95,000 initiated devotees. 9 million + people worship at ISKCON temples each year. 516 million books and magazines distributed in 87 languages.

4.5 billion + meals distributed by Food for Life. 1.2 million + meals being served daily to children in India. 340,000 + patients treated at ISKCON hospitals annually.

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