Prabhupada's Palace of Gold
Original plans for the Palace of Gold began in 1972 as a simple residence for Srila Prabhuapada, Founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), during his stays at the New Vrindaban Community. As construction progressed, however, devotees became more and more ambitious in their design, wishing to create a residence befitting their beloved Spiritual Master. As plans became more ambitious, the devotees, themselves unpaid and with little experience, trained themselves in the traditional artisanal skills. The result surprised even those who built it. Countless sculptures, extensive woodwork, cut marble and semi-precious stones, carved teakwood, stained glass and cut crystal, as well as extensive gold leaf (more than nine pounds) all were used in the final design. Because of the enthusiasm of his young disciples, Prabhupada’s home resembled a Indian palace rather than a simple Holy man’s residence.
Sadly, His Divine Grace passed away in November of 1977 before he could witness its completion. Further determined to now complete the Palace as an enduring memorial to their founder, the devotees finally unveiled this magnificent gift of devotion in 1979 to widespread national media coverage. The Palace of Gold, with its iconic gold-leafed dome with a sacred flag on top, has since become one of West Virginia’s biggest tourist attractions with over 50,000 visitors a year.
As of mid 2011 an ambitious five-year, 4.27 million-dollar restoration effort has been underway to restore and renew the Palace to its original pristine condition.