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For Christmas last year, my father gave my mother a homemade gift certificate to see the Christmas light display in Wheeling, West Virginia.
This past weekend, they decided to make the trek and invited me along. Since we would be in the area, we decided to check a few more counties off our “To Visit” list. After a delicious breakfast at Melanies, we were off – Northern Panhandle bound.
One of the things that I really wanted to see on this trip was the Palace of Gold in Moundsville. My parents agreed, and we headed there on the first day of our trip.
The Palace of Gold resembles an Indian palace tucked away in the rolling hills of West Virginia. It was intended as a home within the New Vrindaban Community for Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and is listed as one of the eight religious wonders in the US by CNN.
As soon as I found out it existed, I wanted to go. My parents, having absolutely no clue what I was rambling about, said, “Sure!” The tourist season for America’s “Taj Mahal” is usually spring and summer. They have fantastic rose gardens and tours. Our trip in November meant that it was basically abandoned.
We wound up the side of the mountain for what felt like forever and finally drove into the community. Of course, as my luck would have it, it was partially under construction. It turns out it is always partially under construction. They are continually working and adding on.
After stopping at the welcome center (where the sweet Lela told me that I most likely had been reincarnated as a West Virginian for several lives, as I felt so strongly about the state), we went over into the actual temple.
Now if you know my mother, she can be a bit particular, and she was quite worried about having to take her shoes off, but she handled it ok. The temple was small but beautiful. Being the off-season, there was only one person inside chanting.
Before heading up to the palace, we stopped at the community’s restaurant for a cup of hot chai tea – the first for my folks! I also learned that they’ve never had Indian food, the next thing on our list of adventures.
The palace was amazing. It sits up at the peak of the mountain with a tremendous view. I can only imagine what it looks like with the gardens in full bloom.
Have a wonderful day, and remember: