Bhaktivedanta Manor is a Gaudiya Vaishnava temple set in the Hertfordshire countryside of England in the village of Aldenham near Watford. The Manor, as it is called by those familiar with it, is owned and run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, better known as ISKCON, or the Hare Krishna movement. It is ISKCON's largest property in the UK, and one of the most frequently visited Radha Krishna temples in Europe. It stands in 70 acres (280,000 m2) of landscaped grounds consisting of lawns, flower gardens, a children's playground, an artificial lake that attracts many water fowl, and a substantial car park.
In 1973, Beatles musician George Harrison gave the Manor as an offering of devotion to the founder of ISKCON, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Harrison had a close relationship with Prabhupada and met and stayed with him on several occasions. "Bhaktivedānta" is Sanskrit for "devotion-Vedanta", that is, "the Vedanta which is about devotion".
On the 40th anniversary of Bhaktivedanta Manor 'The George Harrison Memorial Garden' will be officially opened to the public with George's widow Olivia Harrison in attendance.
- 12th century: The Abbot of Westminster granted land at Aldenham to a Thomas Picot.
- 13th century: The surrounding land was owned by Lord Picot, and thus the place was named Picot's Manor.
- 1884: A mock-Tudor mansion was built on the site, replacing a much older real Tudor building.
- 1920s: By now the name had changed to Piggott's Manor.
- 1957 to 1972: Piggott's Manor was used as a nurses' training college run by St Bart's Hospitals.
- 1973: The Manor was donated to the Hare Krishna movement by George Harrison.
- 1994: There was a famous campaign involving a protest of some 36,000 people to keep the temple open against the wishes of local government.
A nearby road, which was earlier an unnamed track across a park, is now named Dharam Marg, which is Hindi for "the way of truth".
Inside the temple
All activity at Bhaktivedanta Manor focuses around the temple room with its altar of carved wood and gilt containing three domed shrines. The first houses deity forms of Radha and Krishna, named Radha Gokulananda. The second houses Gaura-Nitai deities, and the third, Sita, Rama, his brother Lakshman and Hanuman.
The rest of the property comprises a shop selling souvenirs and devotional paraphernalia, a bakery, a farm with working oxen, college facilities, ashrams, a primary school, and a small theatre used for performances of the dramatic arts illustrating bhakti yoga and stories about Krishna. It is frequently used as a venue for Vaishnava religious festivals, Hindu family gatherings, general open days and civil weddings.
- Radha Krsna Temple
- International Society for Krishna Consciousness
- ISKCON and 8 Others v. United Kingdom
- Alan Clayson, George Harrison, Sanctuary (London, 2003), p. 306.
- Lynne Gibson (2002). Modern World Religions: Hinduism - Pupil Book Core (Modern World Religions). Oxford [England]: Heinemann Educational Publishers. p. 7. ISBN 0-435-33619-3.
- Giuliano, Geoffrey (1997). Dark Horse: The Life and Art of George Harrison (rev. ed. ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80747-5.
- See Manor Campaign
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