By Nimai Devi Dasi
ISKCON Leicester (UK) has finally acquired a historic former bank as the new home of Sri Sri Panca Tattva and Srila Prabhupada in the heart of the City centre. It was built in 1875 by the famous architect Goddard.
The devotees and the Deities lost their original place of worship last September, when a gas explosion ripped through the building on Srila Prabhupada’s vyasa-puja day. All of the 50 devotees within the building managed to escape the multiple blasts, uninjured. The deities and Srila Prabhupada were also unharmed. This was referred to as a ‘miracle’ by firefighters.
After 15 months of worship and community gatherings in rented spaces, acquiring the keys to this building is a dream come true. ISKCON plans to restore the building to its former glory and bring it back into use as a place of worship with a range of community activities, eventually providing a restaurant, yoga and meditation studio, and self-development workshops.
Pradyumna das, President of ISKCON Leicester said, “We are very excited with this news. This building is a palace fit for the worship of the Lord. It’s considered one of the most important buildings of the city and is located at it heart.”
The purchase of the Bank has been the donation of a family based in London and Leicester. They have commented that: “This is a once in lifetime opportunity to be able to offer not only a place of worship but also a place of spiritual learning for all the people of Leicester.”
Members of the ISKCON Leicester community congregated at the building last night to celebrate the news. The devotees brought Srila Prabhupada to the site, offered him an ecstatic guru puja and of course the keys to his new home. There will be a lot of work to be done before the community officially begins to use the building. Plans for the development of the site are in early stages and will unfold over the coming months.
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