The Palace of Gold ~ West Virginia ~ Labor Day Adventure

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]appy Labor Day everyone. I hope you were able to spend the day resting and visiting with family. You’re probably full-stomached by now, finishing up the last of the peach cobbler and eyeing the fire and the s’more supplies. Normally we’d be right there with you. I would’ve downed at least 3 charred hot dogs by now. But this year we were nowhere near a grill, much less an all beef hot dog.

We spent our day off together exploring. It’s what we do best πŸ™‚

We ventured to West Virginia #WildAndWonderful Have you seen that ad on cable tv? The only thing I knew West Virginia had was Cabella’s and hills. Err… Mountains…

We knew we’d have the whole day to spend doing whatever. So I pulled up my trusty Google Maps, which is starred with hundreds of places we want to visit someday. I randomly tapped a few stars and found one I’d forgotten about. You can actually see other places I’ve starred in the map below. But I’ve highlighted something for you…

The Palace of Gold.

Palace of Gold

Palace of Gold, New Vrindaban WV

How awesome does that sound???

After a little more research via TripAdvisor, we decided that would be how we would spend our Labor Day.

We left early this morning, around 10. I wanted to leave much earlier. But life happens. That and I’m human and enjoy being lazy. So..

Only an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh, The Palace of Gold is perched on a mountain near Wheeling West Virginia. It was founded in the 1960s by followers of the Hare Krishna. A branch of Hinduism. If I understand correctly. We weren’t there to worship. We went as tourists. Which is encouraged!

It’s free to walk the grounds. But there is also a 20 minute guided tour through the inside of the palace for $8 per person. We did the tour, but to me $8 a person wasn’t really worth just a 20 minute walk inside. It was beautiful inside with gold leaf, stained glass windows, chandeliers, tapestries and marble floor. I just wished it were a bit longer for the price.

There is a tour every 30 minutes. Make sure to pay before tour time and remove your shoes or put on some paper booties. There are no photos allowed inside the temple. So I only have this one below. We toured with a 5 other families, all in beautiful saris. We were the only anglo americans in the group. Except for our tour guide. But fortunately we didn’t feel out of place. Even walking barefoot in a Hindu temple.

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Tour waiting room

It’s kind of funny to me now. Bryan and Jenn, barefoot in a Hindu temple. Incense smoking in the air.

But I’ve got to admit, it was very calm and serene.

In addition to The Place of Gold itself, there are also other things on the grounds worth a look.

We spent awhile on the bank of the lotus pond. Never in my life have I seen so many lotus plants!

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The grounds are decorated ornately with fountains, flowers, statues and opulence. They are working on restoration projects, so construction is evident and some areas are in disrepair. But I honestly thought it added character. It made it feel like we were walking in an ancient palace in India. Instead of a 50 year old one in the rural United States.

The rose garden is near the palace. Apparently they’ve won several years worth of award for it, but right now thing are looking a little sparse. There was a sign posted apologizing and citing the fact they are transitioning to completely organic gardening.

 

 

 

 

There is also a Goshala. Which is a barn for the cows. I learned that Hindu’s hold high respect for cows because cows care for man like their own calves. Offering up their milk. So they are like mothers to man. So Hindus choose to honor their cattle. Instead of sending them to slaughter when milk production ceases, they allow them to live out the rest of their lives in the Goshala. We didn’t stop at the barn. To be frank, the back of my shirt was soaked due to the heat. So we just kept on trekking down to the lower area.

The lower area has several cabins, a lodge, restaurant (which we never found), another small temple, a peacock house, koi pond, swan lake and a variety of statues.

 

 

Cheap little old me went to the gift shop looking for a postcard or magnet to add to the fridge. I did find a magnet for $3, but found a little something else. If you know me, you know I like collecting postcards from our travels, I never buy trinkets. This little guy caught my attention though. And for $7, he was worth it πŸ™‚

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We both really enjoyed our time at the Palace of Gold. And recommend it for just about anyone. Just going to admire the architecture and gardens was worth it for us. You can easily spend a few hours just roaming the grounds.

A few pointers for you:

  • The earlier in the morning, the better. Fewer people, less cars on the road & cooler weather
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, but wear matching socks in case you decide to tour the temple
  • Bring cash or card, they take both
  • Be prepared to drive a windy road up to the temple. It isn’t much different than most roads in Pittsburgh.
  • Pack a cooler with drinks to cool down.

If you’d like more information for your trip to the Palace of Gold, you can download a full color map walking map. Consider printing a copy for yourself, they don’t have many available on site, so it’s good to be prepared.There is also an informative fact sheet fact sheet. And of course, more information can be found on the official home page of the Palace of Gold here.

Have you ever gone to place of worship different from your own religion?

 

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  • Justine Y
    September 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    That looks so amazing! I would have never thought you’d find something like that in west Virginia! πŸ™‚ And I love that little elephant; what a great experience!

  • MidMichigan Mom
    September 13, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    It looks like you guys got to see some very beautiful places. Thanks for sharing with us on Welcome Home Wednesday!

  • Mary Gilbert
    September 11, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Very cool place to visit! Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

  • Susannah
    September 11, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Wow! What a cool place to visit! I need to start putting stars on places I want to visit and actually going to them too!!! <3

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 11, 2015 at 11:50 am

      Thanks for stopping by Susannah πŸ™‚ I love that Google Maps has the stars for my favorite places. What’s really nice is that when I use Google Maps to plan a trip or use GPS, it will automatically highlight places on the way that I’ve starred. Great way to make the most of a road trip!

  • musingsbymegha
    September 11, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Namaste Jenn! You visited my country in YOUR country! Loevly pics and you;re absolutely right about the cows! I shall send you pics of little elephants made in different Indian craft techniques πŸ™‚

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Megha. I absolutely loved it! I wasn’t sure if it would be as beautiful as the photos I saw beforehand. The only thing that would’ve made it perfect would’ve been to end the day with some curry & naan πŸ™‚

      • musingsbymegha
        September 14, 2015 at 3:25 am

        haha!! absolutely! πŸ™‚

  • MarriednNaked
    September 10, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Wow! Looks like an amazing place. What an unusual find!

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

      That’s our cup of tea πŸ˜‰ Finding random places to visit near home. This was a gem!

  • Misskwame76 .
    September 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    What a beautiful place! I love your pictures. It’s seems peaceful and serene, wish I was there now. I have to add this to the list of places I plan to visit. Thanks so much for sharing your trip!

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 11, 2015 at 10:54 am

      You should definitely check it out if you can! I think anyone would appreciate the architecture and gardens.

  • Something Crunchy Mummy
    September 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Sounds and looks like a lovely day. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  • Stephanie
    September 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    That looks so cool. I will definitely have to make my way down there some day. Thanks for the tips too. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie. I really loved it there! It was beautiful.

  • idhcstyle
    September 8, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    This was awesome and kind of random! but I loved that and definitely would enjoy seeing such intricate architecture in one place.

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 9, 2015 at 12:35 am

      Definitely random! I’d never even seen a Hindu temple before, much less walk around barefoot inside the temple. Such an experience!

  • Sam Gould
    September 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Wow Jen that looks really cool, I love exploring new places and learning about other religions. We have a Buddhist temple not too far from us that I have visited it has amazing architecture.

    • Jenn @ BecauseImCheap.com
      September 9, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Hi Sam. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ This is the first time I’ve ever been near a Hindu temple, much less inside. Loved the experience. Would definitely do it again!

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