Vedic Planetarium, 'world's largest temple', to open in Bengal | 10 things to know
The Temple of Vedic Planetarium in West Bengal's Mayapur will be the world's largest temple, bigger than Taj Mahal in Agra or St Paul's Cathedral in the Vatican.
The countdown to the opening of what has been billed as 'the world's largest religious monument' - the Temple of Vedic Planetarium in Bengal's Mayapur district - continues. The temple - 130 km from Kolkata - will also serve as the headquarters of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). It is expected to open by July or August 2023.
The construction of the grand project started in 2010 and was initially planned to be completed by 2016, but the date was pushed back by a few years. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, construction got further delayed and the opening date was pushed to next year.
The Vedic Planetarium will house the Institute of Vedic Cosmology, which will research and discuss Vedic accounts of the universe. It will also offer a tour of parts of cosmic creation.
Here are some key features of Vedic Planetarium:
- The Temple of Vedic Planetarium in Bengal will reportedly have the biggest dome on a religious monument anywhere in the world.
- The monument is bigger than the Taj Mahal in Agra and St Paul's Cathedral in the Vatican City. It will also be among the tallest Hindu temples in the world.
- The temple is located in Mayapur in Nadia district of Bengal.
- The temple is being built at an estimated cost of $100 million and can house about 10,000 devotees on each of its floors, where they can sing, pray and dance in front of Lord Krishna.
- It will be headed by Alfred Ford – the great-grandson of renowned businessman Henry Ford and the future owner of Ford Motor Company – who changed his name to Ambarish Das in 1975 after joining ISKCON. He gave $30 million for the infrastructure.
- The temple has been lined with blue Bolivian marble, sourced partly from Vietnam.
- The temple is envisioned by Acharya Prabhupada, who wanted a structure that would spread awareness about Vedic science.
- The planetarium has a huge rotating model that illustrates how the planetary systems move as described in holy books like the Bhagavata Purana.
- Mayapur is also the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, 15th-century Indian Vaishnava saint considered to be the combined avatar of Radha and Krishna.
- ISKCON is reportedly in talks with the state tourism department to develop a city around the temple in Mayapur to draw devotees from around the world.