Published On: Tue, Mar 12th, 2013

Alfred Ford urges people to fund temple

by IPSITA PATI for The Hindu


INDIA – The ‘Square Foot Campaign’ offers devotees a chance to show their dedication
Alfred B. Ford, the great-grandson of legendary American industrialist Henry Ford, appealed to the people of West Bengal here on Monday to participate in the “Square Foot Campaign” for constructing the Chandrodaya temple in Mayapur in Nadia district of West Bengal.

“The project does not belong to any community or individual, but rather to the entire human race. So every individual should participate in the campaign,” he said.

“Every year around four million [people] visit the temple,” Mr. Ford (65) said, adding that people would have “equal opportunity” in making the project a reality. The temple would also be a centre for “Vedic Cosmology for research and discussion,” he said.

He said he would like “Mayapur to be a place where people would come for a spiritual experience and to listen to discourses on philosophy. It will be a gateway to the spiritual world.”

Srila Prabhupada, who founded The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) that is widely known as the Hare Krishna movement, had approached Mr. Ford for funds support for this $100 million temple and educational centre. Mr. Ford agreed to finance the project in 2006.

He invested $35,000 in the first phase of construction and to offer devotees an opportunity to show their dedication the project team is offering a plan of investing Rs. 7,000 for constructing one square foot of the project.

“Around 1.75 lakh sq.ft. is already completed in the first phase and the rest 2.5 lakh sq.ft. will be completed with the help of devotees by 2016,” said Anand Paul, a member of the project team. The Mayapur Chandrodaya temple “will be a complex dedicated to education and culture,” he said.

On its completion, the temple will rise to over 300 ft. covering a total area of 4.25 lakh sq.ft. accommodating 10,000 devotes.