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West Bengal India Starts Largest Hindu Temple

Despite first impressions, these aren't images from Star Wars but plans for the tallest Hindu Temple in the world.

The Sri Mayapur Vedic Temple and Planetarium will be built in Mayapur in the province of West Bengal, India, and is expected to reach the height equivalent of 35 storey's and making it only a smidgeon shorter than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Mayapur is already a major religious centre and the headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness are based here (they are the guys in orange robes you see dancing around airport terminals banging drums).

ISKCON one of the developers of the actual temple building that they have had designed to symbolise the Indian ideas of the cosmos and man's place within the universe. They are joined by partners including the Alfred Brush Ford Foundation who are providing the bulk of the capital, Mayapur Village Industries Park Pvt Ltd who are doing the industry park and Mayapur Tourism Development Pvt Ltd who will be building the tourist section including hotels.

The vast 22 acre project will include a planetarium for tourists and learning centre inside the temple plus a sprawling new campus for Vedic learners outside. The planetarium goes far beyond simply being something like Madame Tussauds however as there will be an attached research base that it is hoped will be staffed with top level space researchers.

The design of the main building draws on traditional Indian temple architecture with the key points of the structure forming a pyramidal shape when you join the lines between them.

It is split into three separate areas that form the domes that can be seen on the imaging. The first two are the exhibition hall that will welcome visitors and provide the planetarium and a Garuda stambha and the Kirtana Hall, about 85 metres tall with a central vyasanafor Sri Prabhupada.

The highlight of it will be a huge space called a Diety Chamber under the central dome that will have an internal height of about 125 metres and house a marble and glass gopuram.

The traditional design goes all the way down to the materials that the building will built out of, the bricks will be made from fired Ganga silt and no steel will be used. The building and surrounding complex will be erected on a concrete slab that will float it above the River Ganges 5 metres above the top flood level.

India has a history proposing rather insane Hindu learning centres like 600 metre tall gold pyramids. Normally these come to nothing but the Sri Mayapur Vedic Temple and Planetarium already has groundwork underway. They hope to have the project finished by 2010.
The Sri Mayapur Vedic Temple and Planetarium, Mayapur, West Bengal, India
The Sri Mayapur Vedic Temple and Planetarium, Mayapur, West Bengal, India
The Sri Mayapur Vedic Temple and Planetarium, Mayapur, West Bengal, India
The Sri Mayapur Vedic Temple and Planetarium, Mayapur, West Bengal, India