Hidden in the rolling prairies of Jefferson County, Iowa, is an entire town dedicated to the principles of Transcendental Meditation! Followers of the Maharishi bought up about 3,000 acres of land, including about 50 farms, and converted it all into a town exclusively for TM members. It's an official town of the State of Iowa, with its own zip code (52556), mayor, five-person City Council, and a population of about 420. (The town's members expect to swell to about 1,200 by the year 2010.) Originally named "Vedic City," the town was incorporated as an official city in Iowa on July 21, 2001. The residents then voted to rename the town "Maharishi Vedic City" shortly afterward.
This is the only city in the United States where Sanskrit is the official language. All of the town's buildings face east, and the town design is set up in a series of ten large circles (rather than the traditional grid pattern of most American cities). What's more, TM is busy erecting a huge golden dome at the center of the town, which will supposedly be used especially for "yogic flying" – the "levitation" methods preached by TM that have been the cause of so much laughter by skeptics and outsiders.
As a promotion for TM, this town is a shrewd move for the group. The official town Web site states that its ultimate goal is to become a "lighthouse of peace" for America and the world: "The City is working to establish a permanent group of peace-creating experts whose daily practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation™ and Yogic Flying techniques will promote coherent national and world consciousness and thereby prevent any negativity from arising in America or in the family of nations."