One of the most remarkable landmarks in West Virginia, the Palace of Gold at New Vrindabin, West Virginia, in Marshall County, near Wheeling, is a shrine built by devotees of the founder of the International Society for Krishna, colloquially known as Hare Krishnas.
Intended from the outset in 1972 as a residence for Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, plans for the residence after his death in 1977 evolved into that of a memorial palace. Ornamented in gold, teak, and marble, it was dedicated in 1979.
Construction reportedly cost $600,000 in materials, and labor was donated by devotees who were often untrained and developed their skills on the job. its design and construction were guided by sculptor and architect Bhagavatananda Das and Kirtanananda Swami, the leader of New Vrindaban, the community of devotees that surrounds the palace.
In 1987, following a series of criminal offenses, the society expelled Kirtanananda for “moral and theological deviations” and financial support for the palace and community declined. Nevertheless more than 50,000 tourists and Hindu pilgrims visit the palace and grounds annually and a $4.27 million restoration effort was launched in 2011.
Find out more about the Palace of Gold at its website.