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Palace of Gold in Marshall County Receives National Historic Place Designation

Photos by Alan Olson A crowd of Hare Krishna devotees gather outside of the Palace of Gold in Marshall County to celebrate its recent induction into the National Register of Historic Places.

NEW VRINDABAN — Marshall County’s Hare Krishna temple was alive with the sound of chanting with special purpose Friday, as devotees celebrated their temple’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, located in rural Marshall County near Limestone, was dedicated in September 1979. It was part of the community of New Vrindaban, founded in 1968 by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He also was the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, more commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement.

As the Krishnas observed 40 years in their Marshall County home last week, their joy was twofold as a several-year undertaking to have the Palace of Gold recognized on the registry was approved earlier this month.

The plaque recognizing the palace as a historic location — commissioned prior to its approval, as noted by devotees — was unveiled at a small ceremony Friday afternoon with a few dozen devotees in attendance, who gathered from across the country.

“For the past number of years, we’ve been trying to get the palace a status as a historic building in West Virginia,” Sue Bauer said, eliciting cheers from the devotees in attendance. “It’s a federal thing, not just a state thing, backing that this is a historic building!”

The structure itself was erected by devotees without blueprints. Building materials include marble, teak wood, silver and gold. The palace features long walkways illuminated by stained glass windows, ornate exterior decoration and elaborate gardens on its grounds.

Following the brief ceremony Friday, the Krishnas carried a murti, or a lifelike statue, of the Prabhupada around the temple several times in celebration.

Lila Hanson, a former teacher and Krishna devotee, said she was overjoyed with the recognition the Palace of Gold received.

“It’s about time, because I feel that our spiritual master brought a lot of elevated consciousness, of a lot of things, in the western world,” Hanson said. “Vegetarianism is really increasing here in the West, and I feel it’s because of our spiritual master. And the palace, it brings so many people to West Virginia, it brings people to Marshall County.”

The Palace of Gold serves as a tourist destination and holds several events throughout the year. One of the most notable is the annual Festival of Colors, which was held most recently on Sept. 14.

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