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

Construction Begins on New Las Vegas Temple
By Madhava Smullen   |  Jul 22, 2016
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On June 15th, on the auspicious day of Ekadasi, construction began on a new temple complex in the city that probably needs it most: Las Vegas.

It may come as a surprise to some that ISKCON has already had a strong presence in Sin City, Nevada for quite some time already, thanks to Polish devotee couple Surapala Das and Krishna Mayi Dasi, who started a center there from their home back in 2002.

In 2012, inspired by their efforts, businessman Radha Jivan Das from Alachua, Florida purchased a four-bedroom house in Las Vegas to convert into a full-time center.

Although a Bhumi Puja was held in October 2012, the plan was put on hold in favor of not just converting the house but building a full-scale temple.

And last month, construction on that project began.

The property, to be called “Govinda’s Sanctuary,” is on a one-and-a-half acre piece of land, a peaceful oasis just five minutes from the  famous Las Vegas strip, the airport, and the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

A program at the Las Vegas Krishna Lounge

It contains the 3,000 square-foot four-bedroom house, which is being converted into a yoga center, gift shop, and restaurant, expected to be completed within three months.

Meanwhile a 2,500 square foot temple will be built from the ground up, blending modern architecture with Vedic arches and domes. It will include a temple hall, and a beautiful altar for Deities of Sri-Sri Radha Govinda who have already been shipped from Jaipur. The contractor is reportedly making very swift progress, and the temple is set to be completed within twelve months. The total cost of the project is expected to be $1.2 million.

While the work is being done, the outreach efforts of ISKCON Las Vegas will not stop, however. A rented office space nearby, dubbed “Krishna Lounge,” is housing Tuesday and Sunday programs every week.

“The Tuesday evening program is for newcomers who don’t yet know anything about Krishna consciousness or Vedic culture,” says board member Bhagavata-priya Das, a former president of the Las Vegas ‘Friends of India’ organization who began reading Prabhupada’s books four years ago and wanted to help. “We chant one round of the Hare Krishna mantra with them, and explain to them the basics of Bhakti and mantra yoga.”

The Krishna Lounge’s Sunday program, running from 6pm to 8:30pm, includes a thirty-minute kirtan, Bhagavad-gita study with everyone taking turns to read, and a potluck feast.

Work begins on converting a house into Govinda’s Sanctuary

Besides these two programs, devotees do kirtan and distribute books at the ‘First Friday’ arts festival every month, and on the third Friday of every month they do Harinama on the Las Vegas strip.

“A lot of inquisitive people ask questions, and then come to visit us at the Krishna Lounge,” says Bhagavata-priya.

Twenty-five to fifty people currently attend each Krishna Lounge event. The only reason why that number isn’t larger is because devotees aren’t advertising much due to the small 200 square-foot space. The new temple will give the current programs a chance to expand, help draw more well-known sannyasi guests, and add new programs like regular Bhagavatam classes.

Bhagavata-priya says the temple will be a haven for members of the Indian community and devotees who are attending conferences in Las Vegas for their work, as well as of course new people from the Las Vegas metro area’s nearly two million strong population and its 35 million plus visitors every year.

“Having a temple in Las Vegas is a big challenge,” Bhagavata-priya says. “Everyone here is pursuing sense gratification to the fullest extent. But on the other hand, Las Vegas is such an extreme experience that many become fed up of that kind of lifestyle, and are looking for some peace of mind and higher knowledge. And that’s where we come in.”

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ISKCON of Las Vegas is currently trying to raise $1,000 each from 700 people to fund the remainder of its temple project. If you’d like to help, please visit: http://krishnalounge.org/support/

To keep up to date on events and developments, visit: https://www.facebook.com/krishnaloungelv/?fref=ts

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