Fallout 76 Locations In REAL Life - Part 3
A Wastelander’s Guide to West Virginia: The Palace of Gold
Nestled deep in the mountains of North Central West Virginia is a place like no other found in the state. An exotic oasis for those wishing to find an alternative to the mainstream lifestyle. This sanctuary is known as The Palace of Gold to locals and more formally as Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold or New Vrindaban to those that reside there. In Fallout 76 it is known as Palace of the Winding Path. The lead artist for Fallout 76 did not visit the location, but many of the main points of interest are well represented. The whole complex lies within the unincorporated area of New Vrindaban and the town covers 1,204 acres. New Vrindaban was founded in 1968 by Kirtananada Swami and Hayagriva Das. There is a temple, communal housing, gardens, lakes, several
businesses, rental cabins, and the Palace of Gold.
The Border Walls
Before we get to our destination here in West Virginia, we need to talk a little bit about who A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was. His mission was given to him by his mentor Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to spread the word of Krishna to the West. He originally visited the United States in 1965 and found this task to be quite daunting. He called upon the help of Lord Krishna for guidance and pressed on. He first founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York City. Under his leadership, ISKCON was able to establish temples in San Francisco and London. They continued their international expansion to set up several other temples all over the world. He published over sixty volumes of Vedic scriptures in English. His writings are considered one of his greatest contributions. Bhagavad-gita As It Is is available in over sixty languages and some writings are produced in over eighty languages.
The Memorial Stairs
In 1972 the Palace of Gold was planned to be a residence for Bhaktivedanta Swami. The construction of which was to be done by the devotees living there. Originally it was to be a simple structure, but as planning and construction moved forward, it became grander and grander. Most of the residents did not have any formal training and the skills needed to undertake this massive project were learned on the job. The cost of the construction was reported to be $600,000 in materials. Unfortunately, Bhaktivedanta Swami passed away in 1977 at the age of 81. Construction on the palace continued and was set up as a memorial to their leader. The palace began to fall into disrepair during the 1990s due to insufficient financing, but starting in 2011, there is a $4.27 million restoration planned.
The Ornate Doors & Walls
Despite being constructed by amateur builders, the memorial building is remarkably ornate. The entire building is ordained with onyx mosaic windows, marble floors, and teak carvings. Out of respect for the wishes of the caretakers, no photography was allowed inside of the memorial. For a nominal donation, you can take a tour of the interior and I highly recommend you start your journey there. We were instructed to take our shoes off while inside, but shoe coverings were available if you feel more comfortable. The tour consisted of a detailed history of the memorial building, the life of Bhaktivedanta Swami, and a description of all the room’s functions.
The Fountain Gardens
The Hedge Walls
We were given free rein to wander the grounds surrounding the memorial building before and after the tour. It is a tranquil and contemplative setting and though we visited in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, there were a few other visitors there enjoying the gardens with us.
After touring the memorial building, we moved on to the rest of the property. We decided to continue on foot down a short brick road passing a beautiful pond. At the foot of the hill, we came across a small lake surrounded by intricate pagodas, guest cabins, giant statues of deities, and an abundance of wildlife. There were a few swans nesting near one of the pagodas and more peacocks than I could count. Every step we took around the lake there was a peacock nearby. On several instances, I was startled by the presence of a peacock I had not noticed until I was right near it. I felt like I had been transported to another place, magical and wonderful!
Moving on from the lake, we continued down the road to a complex of buildings where there was a restaurant, temple, shop, and community buildings. This is where we encountered the most people. There were several community members doing grounds maintenance, several tourists and pilgrims wandering the temple grounds, and one very friendly devotee. As we approached the temple, I was not sure how to proceed. I did not know if it was proper for me to just enter the temple or even if it was open to the public. The aforementioned devotee was pacing the outer court with a string of beads reciting a mantra. I did not want to disturb her in her ritual, but upon seeing my hesitancy, she graciously stopped what she was doing and asked if I needed assistance. I asked about the temple and she was happy to inform me that I was welcome to go inside and that respectfully remove my shoes as I entered. Upon entering the temple, I was met with more intricate wood carvings and metalwork. There was an open floor plan with many stations around the perimeter depicting artifacts and teachings. The temple was dark, but there was a buzz around the place like something was being prepared. We quickly wandered around looking at all of the stations in wonderment. Again out of respect, I did not take any pictures of the interior but was filled with wonderment and awe.
Upon leaving the Palace of Gold, I felt like I had been whisked away to another time and place. The whole experience was surreal and marvelous. I can still hear the incantation of “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare” echoing in my ears. I enjoyed learning about the teachings and traditions of those you would not normally think of while visiting West Virginia. This great state continues to surprise me with all of the adventures and wonders it holds. I would like to thank all of you who have continued to follow me on this journey, and if you are new to this series I would encourage you to check out my articles on Berkeley Springs and Moundsville. I would also like to give a big shout-out to "MyNameIsMudd" for accompanying me on this trip and taking many of the pictures you see here.
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