On Wednesday, 1st April 2015, Minister of State of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation Dr. Mahesh Sharma (who is also a MP from Gautam Budh Nagar, Nodia, UP, from BJP) visited the Noida ISKCON temple. The objective of the meeting was to seek the minister’s help in linking ISKCON’s spiritual tourism to India’s tourism map and recognising ISKCON’s participation in promoting Indian Vedic culture around the world.
The Minister arrived at 11am and after taking darshan of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Dev, then went to the meeting room where Gopal Krishna Goswami gave him a maha garland and some maha prasadam from Vrindavan. Gopal Krishna Goswami presented showed two short videos to the Minister, one about the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) in Mayapur, one about the Krishna-valley Indian Cultural Center and Ecovillage in Hungary as an example of ISKCON’s work in the areas of cow protection, promoting vegetarianism, Indian culture, yoga, spiritual education and in bringing foreign visitors to India.
The Minister was thrilled to learn about all this and praised ISKCON’s global work. He complimented Gopal Krishna Goswami by saying “the work done by ISKCON around the world is not human work, it is Godly work.”
Dr. Mahesh Sharma mentioned that he had proposed to mark a new belt on the Indian tourist map starting from Akshar Dham, Delhi – ISKCON temple Noida – proposed safari park, Greater Noida – Grand Prix track, Greater Noida – Mathura.
Gopal Krishna Goswami requested the Minister to put Mayapur on the Indian tourist map and invited him to visit ISKCON’s Mayapur project. Surprisingly, the Minister did not have much idea about Mayapur but was impressed by the TOVP presentation and agreed to visit there with his ministry staff in the near future. Gopal Krishna Goswami presented him with Mayapur TOVP brochures and with the elegant ISKCON deity pictures book ‘Darshana’ with a hand written personal message for him in Hindi.
The Minister was very pleased with the information and the level of hospitality he received at the Nodia ISKCON temple.
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Archbishop Eric Escala, Continuing Anglican Church
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Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium