BY DEBASHREE CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 2 SEPTEMBER 2022
India is set to beat Angkor Wat temple of Cambodia in having the world’s largest hindu temple in Mayapur, about 130 kilometres from Kolkata.
At present the works are going on in full swing and The Temple of Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur is likely to be completed by 2023. It will also be the host of the headquarters of International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISCON).
As per the reports the upcoming temple will also surpass the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Vatican City of Rome and is set to become the world’s largest religious monument.
The architecture of the temple is a fusion of the eastern and western architecture. Height of this temple is 113 meters. When fully completed, this temple will be the world’s largest religious monument or largest temple in the world.
The Temple of Vedic Planetarium is inspired by the vision of ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada and the design of the United States Capitol building. In July 1976, Srila Prabhupada expressed his preference for the exterior style of the temple. Accordingly, the ISKCON authorities started construction of the temple in 2010. The construction work has been delayed in the last two years due to covid -19 pandemic outbreak and is likely to be opened for the visitors from August 2023.
The cost of setting up this iconic hindu temple is around $100 million. It can accommodate over 10,000 devotees on each floor, and the devotees can sing,dance and pray in front of the idol of Lord Krishna.
The Project is spearheaded by Alfred Ford, the great grandson of Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company in the USA. He has been renamed as Ambarisa Das after joining the ISCON in 1975. He has donated $30 million for setting up the project. The Temple has been lined up with blue Bolivian marble, partly sourced from Vietnam.
The total size of the floor, where the worship will take place is about one lakhs square feet.
“This temple is the mixture of the East and the West. The marble has been imported from Vietnam. We also procured marble from India. The temple is unique because the worship floor is 2.5 acres and the temple floor is 60 metres in diameter. The house of deities is unique as well. We are building 20 metre long Vedic chandeliers.”, said Sadabhuja Das, MD of Temple of Vedic Planetarium.
“We hope that the vision created here will inspire all who visit to become involved with the project as it fully unfolds over the coming few years of construction left leading to the Grand Opening in 2023. This short window of time left till the Grand Opening, which will also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the entire Mayapur project, has appropriately been named the MISSION 23 MARATHON. We still require a
good deal of funds to complete the construction having now entered Phase 2 encompassing the exterior and interior finishing work. We have hired a world class Project Management Company (PMC) to help us with that. There are many opportunities to donate to the TOVP on this website and we humbly submit our request for your help. Our motto is, “Raising Lord Caitanya’s temple by the hands of every devotee”, says Ambarisa Das.
Mayapur is also the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the famous Vaishnava saint. Already, the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee has announced Mayapur as a Heritage City in the state.
“ Once the temple is opened next year for the devotees and tourists it will definitely become a cultural and religious hub of the country in the coming days and will surely provide a big boost to the religious and cultural tourism in West Bengal,” said tourism minister of state, Babul Supriyo.
The West Bengal government is also mulling a proposal to set up an airport at Mayapur to boost religious and cultural tourism.