By Madhava Smullen

Prabhupada’s Palace at New Vrindaban, West Virginia – Srila Prabhupada’s preeminent smriti samadhi, or memorial shrine, in the West – is getting a brand new roof and beautiful new domes as part of its ongoing restoration.

Devotees began building the Palace themselves back in 1973 as a residence for Srila Prabhupada, when he expressed a desire to retire to New Vrindaban and translate his books. Young, inexperienced, and unpaid, they trained themselves in construction and artisanal skills. Although orignally planned as a simple house, their love for their guru saw the building become more and more elaborate. And after Prabhupada left this world in 1977, the Palace became a smriti samadhi, or memorial shrine, to ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya, and a major attraction for tourists and pilgrims.

Over the years, however, the Palace, built without professional experience, began to decay. Large parts of the concrete domes, outer wall, balustrade railing, and steps crumbled away, sections of wrought iron rusted irreparably, and the roof sustained leaks.

In 2009, a Palace Restoration Committee was established. Deciding to patch up the roof until they were ready to embark on a full fix, the Committee began with more visible, smaller projects that would allow devotees and visitors to see the progress.

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