Palace of Gold Mentioned in CNN Travel

From 8 religious wonders to see in the U.S.

Palace of Gold in Moundsville, West Virginia

A name like Palace of Gold comes with high expectations, and this West Virginia shrine doesn’t disappoint.

The Indian-inspired palace is expansive, with marble floors, crystal chandeliers, stained-glass windows, wood-carved furniture and walls covered in leaves of 22-karat gold. The grounds surrounding the building feature an impressive rose garden, a fountain, thousands of different bushes and a lotus-filled lake.

It’s hard to believe this exquisite palace, which opened in 1979, was initially intended to be just a simple house.

In 1973, West Virginia devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, a Hindu organization more commonly known in the U.S. as the Hare Krishna movement, had decided to build a home for their leader, Srila Prabhupada.

But when Prabhupada died in 1977, the disciples’ course of construction changed, and they began instead to build a memorial for Prabhupada. And with that, the elaborate Palace of Gold was born.

April through August, the Palace of Gold is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and tours are available: $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 6 to18. From September to March, its hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tours are $6 per adult and $3 per child.

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