The temple describied below was originally to have been built on the top of the hill above the Bahulaban barn. It is still possible to see some signs of the original excavations there, but it was neverr worked on again after 1973. That was when Kirtanananda said we should first build a place for Srila Prabhupada to stay in and that turned into the Palace.
When I first came to NV at the end of 1973 there was a little painting of what the temple was to look like and it said circa 1975. So much for “circa”
The other interesting thing in this letter is the matter of Kirtanananda doing the chanting on the initiation beads for SP’s disciples in America after this date on his behalf. It shows the great faith SP had in Kirtanananda and was one reason all the NV devotees respected Kirtanananda. It was a common sight to see Kirtananda sitting somewhere with a pile of beads chanting a round on each of them, and being on a deadline because they were to be used at a fire sacrifice for the newly authorised initiates.
18 February, 1973
My Dear Kirtanananda,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated January 20th. and February first along with your enclosed plans of the Radha Govindaji Temple in New Vrindaban.
From these plans everything seems to be in order except the domes are making the temple look like a mosque. Therefore you please eliminate these domes and consult the Mayapur plan which can be obtained by writing Calcutta for design of the domes. The Deities should be facing East.
If you are laying the foundation stone to this temple there is a ceremony which you can observe. First you may have one fire ceremony with four Brahmins surrounding the fire, reading from Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Teachings of Lord Caitanya. This reading should go on during the entire ceremony.
You may also dig one pit about 15 feet deep and have one golden Ananta form prepared, about two inches, put at the bottom of the pit. All during this, Kirtana should be going on. And then five types of various items should be placed in the pit, 5 types of jewels, 5 types of metals, 5 types of fruit, 5 types of grains, 5 types of amrta, like this different panca.
These all should be carried down the ladder by the various Brahmins, and as they put each one at the bottom of the pit, the various fruits, flowers, etc. all of the Brahmins should one by one climb to the bottom of the pit and make their offering and chant the first verse of Gayatri Mantra. After this, you may lay some bricks down on top of everything and then begin to fill up the pit with dirt again.
When the pit is filled up with dirt again you may put one foundation stone on top of the pit and this pit should be located at the exact corner of the Temple building. The idea of this is that the entire building will be resting on the hoods of the Ananta snake, and this is very auspicious. After this program you may have several days of Kirtana and feasting.
The arrangement for chanting on the beads is that when I send a letter to the respective individuals with their new names, they may send a copy of that letter on to you, and on receipt of this letter you may chant on their beads.
I am here in Australia now and things are going very well. I will be returning to India by the beginning of March and then to America by mid-April and I look forward to seeing you again then.
I hope this finds you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami