Harrison 'leaves temple legacy'

Fans are still waiting for Harrison's ashes by the Ganges

BBC/December 6, 2001

The late George Harrison, a longtime devotee of Hinduism, left £700,000 to build a temple in the holy city of Varanasi in India according to Hare Krishna devotees.

The news came as hundreds of Harrison fans still waited expectantly by the banks of the River Ganges in India for his ashes to arrive, amid confusion on how they were to be scattered.

It had been reported that Harrison's widow, Olivia, and their 23-year-old son, Dhani, were to immerse his ashes into the holy river - but on Wednesday the family was said to be still in Los Angeles.

The former Beatle died last Friday after a long battle against cancer, prompting worldwide mourning and tributes.

Prasannatma Das of the Varanasi chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) said Harrison had dreamed of building a temple in the city that he loved for its mysticism and cultural riches.

The musician had visited Varanasi a few months ago, staying for several days to discuss the plan for the Radha Krishna Chandra temple, said Mr Das.

He said it will be built on a one-hectare plot in the next five years, adding: "The model is ready. Work would start in May-June once we get the money."

Benefactors have enabled ISKCON build dozens of temples across India in recent years.

But neither ISKCON nor the Varanasi administration or airport authorities have been able to say whether Harrison's family would be arriving to scatter the star's ashes.

Fans - including British and American visitors - have been waiting by the Ganges, some flying kites inscribed with messages.


Varshana Devi Dasi, ISKCON's spokeswoman in London, said: "They cremated the body hours after his death.

"That shows that they want it to be a private affair."

According to Hindu tradition, a cremation must take place within 24 hours of death, and other associated ceremonies should be completed within 13 days.

Harrison, 58, who died of lung cancer in Los Angeles, was cremated dressed in traditional Indian robes as two of his closest friends, both Hare Krishna devotees, chanted at his side.

Note: George Harrison ultimately left nothing to the Krishna organization ISKCON.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.