Since Monday, June 26th, devotees at New Mayapur in France have been experiencing a week-long blackout after the untimely failure of their electrical transformer, which supplied power to the property.
The 100-year-old Château d’Oublaise castle, now known as New Mayapur, is situated in the serene countryside of Centre-Val de Loire, France, and was established in 1975 by Srila Prabhupada, Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
It’s the only property in Europe that Srila Prabhupada personally purchased and home to the first Krishna-Balarama deities ever installed in the Western world. In addition, Prabhupada’s personal room at the castle is beautifully maintained. Surrounding the historic building is an expansive working farm, gardens, and spiritual eco-village. “Self-sufficiency is something Prabhupada wanted from this farm community, but we don’t have a big and working congregation, so a handful of us are juggling so many services,” said Temple President Locanananda Das.
Despite the incredible challenge, resident devotees are determined to ensure the blackout does not affect the daily service in the temple. Activities like Mangala Arati and caring for the deities are still being performed with the help of torchlights. Many devotees from outside the temple are supporting the residents by welcoming them to their homes for hot showers, laundry, etc.
According to Locanananda, installing a new transformer and restoring the power supply system is estimated to cost 200,000 euros, with the transformer alone costing 80,000 euros. Additional quotes are being sought. “Replacing the old transformer and revamping the power supply system was already being planned,” said Locanananda. “However, the older 1977 transformer was expected to last a few more years.”
New Mayapur is appealing to the worldwide ISKCON family for assistance. “Whatever they can offer will help,” said Locanananda, “Once power is restored, devotees can, for example, host their retreats with our 100-bed guest house to generate revenue towards the ongoing maintenance of the temple.”
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