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“Five thousand years ago, when the Pandavas ruled, Manipur existed... Therefore, this kingdom is a very old, aristocratic Vaishnava kingdom.”

Srila Prabhupada

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drop cap Arila Prabhupada knew of Manipur’s rich Vaishnava heritage. He knew of its people’s kshatriya lineage, their adoption of Gaudiya Vaishnavisim, and their beautiful devotional arts. He desired to see Manipur’s Vaishnava culture revitalized in a scientific way so that it could become an ideal Vaishnava state, a state that could represent Bhagavata Culture to the entire world. For this purpose he was desirous of visiting Manipur but because of ill health and the difficulty of getting an inner line permit for the foreign devotees his visit to Manipur did not materialize. In 1977, in order to fulfill Prabhupada’s desire of revitalizing Vaishnava culture in Manipur, Maharaja opened an ISKCON temple in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. The temple is now known as the Manimandir or Jeweled Temple. Although the temple construction has not been completed yet, upon visiting the Manimandir, one can see that its architecture and its decorative motifs create an artistic style that is exquisitely unique. Anyone who visits the temple is immediately awestruck by its magnificence. The presiding Deities are Sri Sri Radha- Krishnachandra, along with their attendants Srimati Lalita and Srimati Vishakha, Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Sri Sri Jagannatha, manimandir

Baladeva and Lady Subhadra. A glance of the Deities’ delicate beauty instantaneously gives one a glimpse of the divine love between Radha and Krishna. The Manimandir is inspirational and truly a place where divine love and beauty reign supreme. During the Deity installation, Maharaja arranged for 108 Brahmins to chant the entire 18,000 verses of Srimad Bhagavatam.

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The Manimandir is the centerpiece of the University of Bhagavata Culture. The University of Bhagavata Culture is an establishment for learning about the deeper meaning of life and the universe. This University is the first of its kind in the world and is guided by the vision of Srila Prabhupada. Students graduating from the University will be qualified to present Bhagavata Culture globally for the benefit of humanity. On many occasions Srila Prabhupada said, “There are innumerable departments of knowledge being presented in the universities, but there is no department of knowledge for understanding the science of God.” When the University is complete it will have the following departments: Sukadeva School of Vaishnava

Maharaja giving an offering of charity to the 108 brahmins reciting the Srimad-Bhagavatam during the Manimandir inauguration
Opposite: A Manipuri Vaishnava child in a traditional dress; the Manimandir Temple
Overleaf: Sri Vijaya Govinda and Srimati Radharani of Manipur