F rom modest beginnings Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir has become an international center of pilgrimage and spiritual tourism. Starting with just a few acres of land, Srila Prabhupada, with the help of a few of his Western students and funds contributed by supporters from nearby Kolkata, es tablished the first residential quarters along with agricul tural and dairy programs. By the time of his passing away in 1977 accommodations for more than 600 residents and guests, facilities for cottage industries, a dairy for 75 cows, and a large pavilion for free food distribution to more than one thousand needy persons at a sitting, had been con structed. A primary level boarding school had also been established providing 60 children with a unique educa tional program that helps build strong character as well as academic skills. Since Srila Prabhupada’s passing in 1977 the project has expanded immensely. The members of ISKCON Mayapur, with the help of congregation, friends, and supporters from around the world, have continued the work he out lined. Several additional guesthouses have been built, ac comodating up to 5000 overnight guests. The West Bengal government has also provided dharmasallas in the area to serve poor pilgrims. There are now four dining halls regu larly serving three thousand hungry guest a day. The food relief programs has served more than four million free nu tritious meals and provided crucial emergency relief, dis tributing 400.000 meals during the recurring floods that cover the Sri Mayapur area. The primary school has expanded to more than 100 stu dents and over one hundred residential units have been constructed. Plans have been made for the first phase of the development of the Mayapur city, a large univerity and a unique temple which in addition to its worship functions would also house extensive exhibitions of Vedic philoso phy, science, and culture. This temple will include a unique Vedic planetarium depicting ancient Vedic concepts of the universe in context of modern scientific discoveries. Part of ISKCON’s mission is to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s vi
sion for Sri Mayapur as a place of joy, a perpetual spiritual festival site, and his followers have given this top priority. Busloads of pilgrims arrive daily, eager to tour Srila Prabhu pada’s samadhi, the current temple and the flower gar dens. The vast number of pilgrims that flow into Mayapur every day reflects not only visitors from within India, but an ever increasing number of international pilgrims, tour ists, and students of religion and Indian culture. Besides this, special celebrations such as Gaura Purnim and Krishna Janmastami attract many more visitors. As many as a mil lion people visit ISKCON Mayapur during Gaura-Purnim. Beyond the ornate temples and gardens, other features draw the faithful and the curious to Sri Mayapur. The spiri tual and cultural offerings integral to the daily operations of the temple round up the Mayapur experience for the visitor and provide opportunities for them to directly en gage in the Lord’s service. ISKCON’s standard of Deity wor ship is of the highest caliber; many pilgrims make the trip to Sri Mayapur simply to witness the offerings they have sponsored in honor of loved ones. Musical and dramati cal productions are part of the regular cultural fare, and daily classes in Bhagavatam and other scriptures - held in English as well as Bengali - are as much appreciated by au diences as any entertainment. The devotees serving in Sri Mayapur take pride in constantly developing innovative ways to both serve and engage the fortunate souls who make the journey to this holiest of cities. It is easy to see that the success we enjoy today indicates a wonderful future for Sri Mayapur. The hard-ships endured years ago by the young devotees developing the project have been compensated many times over by the great benefit it has given, not only to the devotees themselves, but to the millions of souls who have set foot on this sa cred land over the past 40 years. Many have come forward during that time to contribute their time, resources, and efforts to make Sri Mayapur the spiritual capital of the world it is destined to become. Please join with them in securing these blessings for your self.
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