Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Bolivian Blue Marble to Adorn the ToVP’s Main Altar
By Govinda Nandini Dasi   |  Jan 17, 2014

As ISKCON’s flagship project The Temple of the Vedic Planetarium’s representatives put it: “The day has come. The suspense is over. After over a year of correspondence, negotiations and near failure, the blue marble has finally been ordered.”

In November, 2013, ISKCON Bolivia (Cochabamba city) received a visit by Sadbhuja das, General Manager of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (ToVP) of Mayapur. His goal was to purchase a large amount of blue “Sodalite Andina”, also called as “Bolivian blue marble”.

On behalf of the ToVP Sadbhuja Das is in charge of carefully and personally selecting only the best materials from around the world in order to build a temple that will last for “much more than a life time.”

There are only three countries in the world, which have marble of this color, and Bolivia holds the jewel of them all. Understandably, such a rarity is in high demand but the TOVP was relentless in the pursuit to procure a ration.

The blue marble mine in Cochabamba, Bolivia

The pieces of Bolivian Blue Marble will adorn the central altar of the big temple in Mayapur and, according to the ToVP team, this purchase represents only the first order out of three similar purchases that will be made ​​during the following months.

Sadbhuja Das, an engineer by profession, is responsible for the design team of the dream temple of ISKCON-founder Srila Prabhupada that his disciples seek to see manifested soon. “I just hope I will be able to see the Temple completed before I die,” said the visitor during an informal interview in the city of Cochabamba (Central Bolivia). “When I called ISKCON authorities in Bolivia and I explained what I wanted, I asked them: Could you take me to the city where this marble (that is unique in the world) is produced? I was very surprised to hear: ‘we live in the same city’.”

Piled up blue marble in the mine

With the efficient arrangement by Mathuresh das (regional GBC secretary and temple president in Cochabamba), the ToVP general manager could finalize the deal and further investigate the possibility of another acquisition in Bolivia, the pink Onyx, a type of marble that is meant to adorn the ToVP’s dome. “The Bolivian Onyx has the exact color I’m looking for. If the company and its personnel can make sure to give us the quality and quantity I require, it is likely we will acquire all the pink Onyx we need from Bolivia, too.”

The results of several years of selecting the best materials in the world are manifesting as Sadbhuja das visits different parts of the world to first verify the quality of the material and then make the final purchase. “We are building a temple that will last at least a thousand years,” the visitor said to Bolivian journalists that gathered to interview him. “Nowadays people construct buildings that last only their lifetimes, but we are choosing the best in the world for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium of Srila Prabhupada with the view of having it last for many-many generations.”

A vegetarian lunch sealed the deal between the representative of Srila Prabhupada and the Bolivian company (which prefers to keep a low profile).

Sadbhuja Das examing the blue marble iCochabamba

The next day, Sadbhuja das answered questions by several journalists specialized in business: “It is true that the temples of India are still standing built a millennia ago?” asked Monica Brianson, journalist of Libre Empresa (Bolivia’s most important business journal). “It is very encouraging to hear that Bolivia has stuff of such high quality” she said.

During his visit, Sadbhuja Das had the opportunity to visit places of interest and in each of his appearances he highlighted the relationship of the local ISKCON organization with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, as a spiritual and educational organization with global reach.

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