Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir of West Bengal

Priyanshi Pareek

The Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir in West Bengal, India, is an awe-inspiring Hindu temple complex dedicated to the Pancha-Tattva deities, Radha Madhava, Nrisimhadeva, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Once completed, it will stand as the largest religious monument globally, holding immense significance for the Vaishnavism followers and serving as the central tourist attraction in Mayapur. Additionally, this temple serves as the headquarters for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Location and Architecture 

The Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir is situated at the confluence of the Ganges and Jalangi rivers within the Ganges Delta region in West Bengal’s Nadia district, perched 36 feet (11 m) above sea level. The temple enjoys a location where the Ganges flows on its western flank, and the Jalangi river graces its southern side.

Established by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the 20th century, Mayapur was envisioned as a sacred pilgrimage site. The temple complex encompasses various structures, including the Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir, Srila Prabhupada’s Pushpa Samadhi Mandir, and Srila Prabhupada’s Bhajan Kutir. Additionally, the ongoing construction of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium, a significant addition to the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir premises, is underway.

The central altar at Sri Sri Radha Madhav Mandir showcases life-sized representations of Radha Madhav, accompanied by the Ashta-sakhis, the eight principal gopi friends. Madhava (Krishna) stands in a flute-playing posture, while Radha stands gracefully on his left. At the heart of this temple lies the merciful deity of Nrisimhadeva, installed after a dacoit attack in 1986. The Pushpa Samadhi Mandir reveres a large brass idol of Srila Prabhupada, set amidst extensive gardens. Within this mausoleum, a detailed diorama portrays Srila Prabhupada’s life and his challenging journey in establishing ISKCON. Terra-cotta art graces the outer walls, narrating various excerpts from the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Bhajan Kutir comprises thatched huts, serving as the dwelling where Srila Prabhupada resided from 1972 to 1976, prior to the construction of the first main building, the Lotus Building. Within the Kutir, an idol of Nitai Gaurasundar, crafted from neemwood, is worshipped. The Temple of Vedic Planetarium shelters the deity of Radhakrishna, representing the combined form of Hindu god Krishna with his primary consort and shakti, Radha.

Construction Details 

The ambitious project commenced in 2010 with an initial target completion of 2016, yet subsequent adjustments extended the timeline. Further setbacks arose due to the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting additional delays, consequently pushing the opening date to the following year.

Envisioned as part of the Vedic Planetarium, the Institute of Vedic Cosmology will serve as a hub for researching and delving into Vedic narratives about the cosmos. Additionally, it will facilitate tours exploring segments of cosmic creation, offering visitors an immersive experience into Vedic cosmological concepts.

The construction of the temple unfolds with a projected cost of $100 million, designed to accommodate approximately 10,000 devotees on each floor. Within these spaces, devotees will engage in singing, praying, and dancing in the divine presence of Lord Krishna.

Alfred Ford, the great-grandson of the renowned businessman Henry Ford and the prospective owner of Ford Motor Company, assumed the name Ambarish Das upon joining ISKCON in 1975. His generous contribution of $30 million significantly supported the temple’s infrastructure development. As a patron and contributor, he plays a crucial role in the temple’s realization and future endeavors.

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