Today, as they did four decades ago, devotees at ISKCON New Vrindaban are embarking on a labor of love. They’re restoring the Palace of Gold, home to Srila Prabhupada. Devotees began building the Palace with their own hands back in 1973 as a simple residence for Srila Prabhupada, who enjoyed the peace and spiritual atmosphere of New Vrindaban during his visits.
New Vrindaban, established in 1968 by ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada as his society’s first rural community, is continuing its transition into an exciting new phase. After a series of difficult pioneering attempts in the early years, the community struggled for decades with a dedicated skeleton crew. But since spring 2011, a renewed effort has been made to revitalize New Vrindaban.
The Palace of Gold was constructed during the ‘70s and opened in 1979. Time and weather have taken their toll over the last 35 years and Srila Prabhupada’s “Samadhi in the West” is in need of major renovation work.
"The gold stored in temples was contributed by devotees over thousands of years and we will not allow anyone to usurp it."
New Vrindaban — named after a holy town in India — was the largest Hare Krishna commune in America, and was opened to the public in 1979. It was led by Swami Bhaktipada, one of the movement’s earliest and most controversial American disciples, who died Monday. And it was less than two hours from the West Virginia town where I grew up.