The exquisite interior of the palace is increasingly vulnerable to the elements.
“The Festival of Inspiration inspires devotees to do amazing things!”said Nityodita Dasa, President of New Vrindaban Community Board of Directors. “The Palace restoration project actually began when Ramesvara Dasa attended the Festival of Inspiration in 2009.”
Ramesvara Dasa went to see the deity of Srila Prabhupada and took notice of the serious deterioration on the Palace exterior. He could see that although devotees have been working on the Palace one section at a time, there was no comprehensive restoration being done.
Ramesvara, who currently specializes as a building restoration project manager in Manhattan, immediately approached Malati Dasi, one of the managers of New Vrindaban. Malati and Nityodita then spoke with Ramesvara together, and asked him to make recommendations for a comprehensive restoration of the entire Palace.
Ramesvara gave his firm opinion that New Vrindaban take a professional approach to the task. Thus, during the fall and winter of 2009, Ramesvara researched three well-established restoration firms and after reviewing their portfolios, the New Vrindaban Community Board of Directors unanimously selected Kayafas Architects of Wheeling, WV. They were contracted to create a master plan for all the areas that need renovation and to supply quotes from various contractors for the work.
“Kayafas is a local firm with an excellent reputation for historic preservation,” said Nityodita. “They worked on the historic Strand Theater, the Wesbanco Arena, as well as other prominent local projects.”
In April 2010, Kayafas’ team of nine specialists met with approximately twenty devotees for five hours. During that meeting, each specialist reported his initial assessment of Palace conditions and the immediate measures he recommended. Those recommendations included roofing work; restoring the steel slabs over the restaurant / gift shop; restoring the cupolas; a heating system upgrade; a plumbing upgrade; and addressing water run-off. Kayafas is now evaluating each of these areas of immediate concern in more depth. Their next report to the Palace Board will include their findings and contractor quotes for the work.
Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold is a memorial to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The Palace is the heart of the New Vrindaban Community and has attracted hundreds of thousands to hear Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. Truly a community effort, hundreds of young devotees -- men, women and children -- took part in its construction as a selfless act of devotional service.