The householders raise children in the science of God, and husband and wife live in mutual co-operation for spiritual progress. These activities are done wnder the sanction of the expert Spiritual Master, and in line with the Scriptures. Devotional service in Krishna consciousness means regular chanting in the temple, hearing talks about the pastimes of Krishna from Srimad Bhagavatam, and taking foodstuffs prepared for and offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
By books, literature and records, the society is dedicated for awakening the worldwide public to the normal, ecstatic eternal position of favourably serving the will of Krishna . Sankirtan-congregational chanting-is carried to the people: in public parks, schools, on T.V., in the theatre and on the streets. Krishna consciousness is not an idler’s philosophy, rather by chanting and by engagement in the service of Krishna , anyone who takes part will experience the state of “Samadhi,” ecstatic absorption in God-conconsciousness, 24hours a day!
As the philosophy of Krishna consciousness is non-sectarian, any man, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, will become better in his faith by chanting the Holy Name of God and by hearing the Bghagavad-Gita. With out knowledge and loving service to the One Supreme God, there can be no religion. Let everyone rejoice in the Sankirtan Movement, and we may see the fulfillment of the prediction made by Lord Caitanya 515 years ago: that the chanting of the Holy names of God, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, would be carried to every town and village of the world. Only in this way can real peace prevail. It is sublime and easy.
The ISKCON temple in Vrindavan is also known as Sri Krishna Balaram Mandir.The Krishna Balaram Mandir was personally established by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Rama Navami in 1975. The temple is situated in Raman Reti, Vrindavan, U.P., where the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna displayed His transcendental pastimes 5,000 years ago. Sri Krishna and Balaram would herd Their cows at Raman Reti near the Yamuna River. The temple has three altars. On the first altar are Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, the most merciful incarnations of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu who appeared about 500 years ago at West Bengal. The divine brothers, Sri Krishna and Balaram, are worshiped on the central altar and on the third altar are Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara along Their confidental gopis, Lalita and Vishakha.Since 1975, the Sri Krishna Balaram Temple Complex has expanded considerably to fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s vision for an international center in Vrindavan. Upon his return to Vrindavan in 1977 Prabhupada entered into Samadhi Mandir (memorial) in his honour. It is located within the premises of the Krishna-Baldev Temple in Vrindavan. Beautiful paintings depicting the life of Lord Krishna adorn the galleries leading to the main temple. ISKCON devotees from various parts of the world can be spotted manning the library or ISKCON book stalls and partaking in temple rituals with gay abandon.
At Vrindavan the ISKCON society also runs a boarding school on the lines of a Gurukul with classes being run from I to VII. A Gurukul is a holistic kind of educational system whereby students and teachers live in the same complex so students may learn by observing the teacher. There are guest houses for devotees within the premises so they may take part in the day to day activities of the temple.
Places of Interest
Banke Bihari Temple – Built in 1864, it is one of Vrindavana’s most popular temples and famous all over India. The Deity of Banke-bihari was discovered in Nidhuvana by Swami Haridasa. A contemporary of the six Gosvamis, Swami Haridasa known for his devotional bhajanas, was the guru of the famous musician Tansen.
Dwarkadish Temple – Built in 1814 in the center of the town, it is the most visited temple in Mathura. This temple is managed by followers of Vallabhacharya. Located in the eastern part of Mathura, not far from the Yamuna River, it is architecturally interesting: the temple carving and paintings are major attractions. The temple is a hub of activity during the festive days of Holi, Janmashtami and Diwali.
Radha Madana Mohana Temple – This famous temple was established by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and was the first temple to be built in Vrindavan, which at that time was just a forest. The original Deity of Madana-mohana was taken to Karauli in Rajasthan for safety during the attack on Vrindavan by the soldiers of the fanatical Muslim Emperor, Aurangzeb.
Seva Kunja – The Seva Kunj is where Lord Krishna once performed the Raaslila with Radha-Rani decorating her hair with flowers and her lotus feet. Radha and Krishna would sometimes spend the night here, dancing with the gopis and enjoying transcendental pastimes. There is also a small temple dedicated to Radha and Krishna’s pastimes called Rang Mahal.
Radha Vallabha Temple – Another very popular temple of Vrindavan which was founded by Harivamsa Gosvami, who started the Radha Vallabha sect emphasizing devotion to Radharani. In this temple, there is no deity of Radharani, but a crown has been placed next to Krishna to signify her presence. The original temple of Radha Vallabha was destroyed by the Muslims in 1670 and a new temple was built beside the old one.
Jaipur Temple – One of Vrindavan’s most opulent temples, it was built by the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Madhav, in 1917 after 30 years of labour. The fine hand-carved sandstone is of unparalleled workmanship, the huge pillars that hold up the roof are each carved from one solid rock, and the intricately fashioned marble on the altar is reminiscent of the Mughal period. The Maharaja financed the railway line that connects Vrindavana with Mathura, just for the purpose of hauling the huge pieces of sandstone used in the temple construction. The deities worshipped here are Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, Ananda-bihari and Hansa-gopala.
Radha Damodara Temple -This is one of the most important temples in Vrindavan. The original deity was hand carved by Rupa Gosvami and given as a gift to his beloved disciple, Jiva Gosvami, who later built a temple here. Formerly this spot was in the middle of Seva-kunja and it was the bhajana ( where he sang devotional songs ) place of Rupa Gosvami.
Kesi Ghata – This is the place where Lord Krishna killed the Kesi demon who appeared in the form of a gigantic horse and then took His bath in this very same ghata. This is also very famous bathing place in Vrindavan. An arati (prayer with lamps) to Yamuna Devi is held here every evening.
Rangji Temple – This South Indian style temple was built by the wealthy Seth family of Mathura in the year 1851, and is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha or Rangaji, a form of Lord Vishnu lying down on the Sesa Naga (celestial serpent). This temple has a traditional South Indian gateway and is surrounded by high walls. It is one of Vrindavan’s largest temples. Once a year a grand car festival (Ratha Yatra) is held known as Brahmotsava, during the month of Chait (March – April), a festival that lasts for 10 days.
Jugal Kisore Temple – This is one of the oldest temple of Vrindavana and was completed in 1627. After Emperor Akbar’s visit to Vridavan in the year 1570, he gave permission for four temples to be built by the Gaudya Vaisnavas, which were Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha and Jugal Kisore. It is sometimes called the Kesi ghata temple, as it is located next to this ghata.
Radharamana Temple – This is the famous temple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Radharamana means “one who gives pleasure to Radha”, and is one of the many names of Lord Krishna. The wooden sitting place (hoki) and shawl (chaddar) or Lord Chaitanya, that He gave as a gift to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami is kept in this temple.
Jain Tirth – Nearly 30 cms. long, light – almond – colored, wooden sandals of Jambuswamaji. Tirth is at a distance of four kilometers from Mathura. This tirth (pilgrimage) belongs to the times of Bhagawan Suparshvanth.
Shahji Temple – Another popular temple at Vrindavan, was designed and built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller, Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow. The deities at the temple are popularly known as the Chhote Radha Raman. Noted for its magnificent architecture and beautiful marble sculpture, the temple has twelve spiral columns each 15 feet high. The `Basanti Kamra’ – the darbar hall is famed for its Belgian glass chandeliers and fine paintings.
New Temples – Among the new temples springing up along the Mathura-Vrindavan road is the Gita Mandir which houses the Gita Stambh, a pillar with the entire Bhagavad Gita carved on its surface. The imposing temple, built by one of the country’s leading industrial families, the Birlas, is overshadowed by the outrageous multistoreyed, spaceship-like edifice known as the Pagal Baba Mandir just down the road.
Getting there and Around
By Air – The nearest airport is Agra which is 66 km away and is well connected to Delhi, Khajuraho and Varanasi by regular flights by Indian Airlines and other private airline services.
By Rail – Mathura Junction is well connected to Delhi by numerous trains including the Punjab Mail and Taj Express, to Mumbai by the August Kranti and Mumbai Rajdhani and to Kolkata by the Toofan Express. The Lucknow-Agra Express also finds Mathura in its route.
By Road – Mathura and Vrindavan are well connected with Agra, Delhi, Bharatpur, Alwar and Lucknow by well maintained road.
Local Transport – Buses run by the UPSRTDC taxis (can be hired from the taxi stand opposite the District Hospital), auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and tongas (rates negotiable), are the main means of transportation.
Vrindavan does not have high quality hotels. However, it has nearly 200 dharamsalas (simple accommodation for pilgrims) that are clean and affordable. ISKCON Guesthouse and MVT are the main and best accommodation places provided by ISKCON and there are appearing new accommodations of hotel type all over Vrindavan every year.
Iskcon Temple is situated at Hari Krishna Hill, near East of Kailash. Built by the Hare-Rama Hare-Krishna cult, the temple dates back to the year 1998. New Delhi Iskon Temple is one of the 40 temples in India built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon). Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple is one of the biggest temple complexes in India. The Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple of New Delhi is beautifully built and is adorned with exquisite paintings on the life phases of Radha-Krishan, Sita-Ram, Laxman, Hanuman and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, made by Russian artists. The shikhars, at a height of 90-feet above the ground level, also add to the grandeur of the temple. One of the high points of the Iskcon Temple is the central prayer hall housing some magnificent idols of Radha-Krishna, along with the idols of other deities and enlightening spiritual lines and shibboleths. Another attraction is the temple museum that exhibits multimedia shows of the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Every Sunday, certain special programs like kirtan, aarti, pravachan and prasadam are held at the Delhi Iskon Temple. The Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple of Delhi gains special significance at the time of the Janmashtmi festival, the birthday of Lord Krishna. Huge celebrations are organized at that time and hundreds of devotees throng the temple to get a glimpse of the deity.
|Built by:||ISKCON Foundation|
|Highlights:||Vedic Educational and Cultural Complex, Architectural Beauty|
|How to Reach:||One can easily reach ISKCON Temple by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.|
The Iskcon temples are not just places of worship or architectural wonder but are representation of intellectual development. This society was founded by Swami Prabhupada – the divine soul, who preached the philosophy of love and happiness to the mankind. In the close vicinity of Prithvi theatre in Mumbai, Iskcon temple is a major landmark of the Juhu locality. Both, its interior and exterior walls are festooned with frescoes and sculptures.
In the main hall, there are paintings depicting the incidents from the life of Lord Krishna. The unsurpassed architectural magnificence of the temple is worth-seeing. On your visit to this temple, you will see numerous devotees working and chanting the ‘Mahamantra’ (literally the great syllable) granted by Swami Prabhupada. The temple authorities also conduct various educational, cultural and social programs to augment the Vedic wisdom.
The Vedic Educational and Cultural Complex (the Heaven on Earth) is a must-visit place, where the Robot Show presents religious knowledge by using electronic power. If you are feeling hungry, then try the typical Vaishnavite cuisine at Govinda Restaurant. Every evening, the temple gets reverberated with prayers and bhajans (devotional songs), attracting devotees from the nearby areas. Visit the Iskcon Temple of Mumbai and experience the divine ecstasy.
Volunteer Service at ISKCON Utah
With a little help from our friends …
A few days ago two articles appeared on the web site of ISKCON Spanish Fork, Utah: 150+ volunteers from the Brigham Young University were coming to take part in a service-project at the ISKCON-temple. The first article shows the enthusiastic confirmation of Warner Woodworth, who organized the project from the BYU-side, while the second article (see below) describes the grand success of the event.
ISKCON Spanish Fork (Utah Krishnas) has been criticized because of their celebration of Hindu-festivals like Sivaratri and Diwali, which are normally ignored by ISKCON temples. Utah has a growing community of Americans of Indian origin – I’m talking about Bharat-varsha, not Apache or Cherokee –
Vaisnava-sambhu, at Spanish Fork
and many of them are attached to their traditional ways, i.e., worship of a host of devatas for temporary, material gain. They readily support a temple that accomodates their traditional worship, and apart from the obvious fund-raising benefits, it’s a good way to draw them into our ISKCON community and educate them about the devata’s real position as devotees and servants of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Utah is also the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the Mormons, and Caru prabhu, President of ISKCON Spanish Fork, has been maintaining good relations with Mormon groups since he first came in contact with them (see Utah’s Krishna Pioneers). The community service project described in this article is an outcome of these good relations and shows that ISKCON Spanish Fork is not interested in Hindu-donations alone, but developing whatever local communities are ready to be approached.
From the Utah Krishna’s web site: Flood of Volunteers
Every one, if not more, of the promised 150 volunteers showed up at the temple by 9:30 am Saturday morning. The vast majority were teenagers, with about 20 adult mentors. From what I understand they were all from an LDS stake which is adjacent to the Provo Temple.
The organizer, Warner Woodworth, was immediately recognizable to me, as he has been to the temple many times, including to the Ground Breaking ceremony in 1996. Warner is the Founder of Unitus, an organization in India which gives micro loans to empower people in small businesses. He mentioned they hope within a year or two to have reached a goal of having given loans to 2,000,000 people. He is also the founder of HELP which assists people in African countries. The CEO of HELP, Jennifer Bohemne (sp?) was married here in the temple a few weeks ago to Rahul Kumar, a Ph.D. student at BYU.
Another familiar adult personality was Jim Toronto, the Stake President these last 8 years. Jim is a middle eastern expert who taught World Religions for a number of years at the Y. While doing so, he referred 100’s of his students to the temple, and came often himself. Several times we had meaningful talks in his office and bumped into each other casually while jogging. Many times I have happened to chat with students who had taken his classes, and every one said that Jim Toronto didn’t just teach them, but he inspired them and uplifted them. Jim still teaches at BYU, but exclusively classes on the Middle east, We don’t see him and his students as much as we used to, so it was great to have him on hand Saturday.
Another adult I spoke to briefly was Steven Covey Jr., who told me he had quoted the Rig Veda in a recently published book. I gave him a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which he was delighted to receive.
I stood by while Warner chatted with my llama shearing partner, Doug Jackson, the President of Deseret International Foundation. Doug described his CEO role as facilitating indigenous doctors who want to benefit the handicapped. From any country a consortium of doctors can submit a proposal, and Doug asks them, “OK. What do you need: money, training, equipment etc.?” Warner talked with Doug about opening up India in this way.
After most of the group had arrived, I gave a tour, using microphones because of the size of the crowd. After half an hour Vai came upstairs and good humoredly insisted we all “GET TO WORK.”
She did a magnificent job of organizing all 150 volunteers. She described all the tasks and broke them down into teams and leaders, with tools, Devotee team leaders were Blake, Jagannatha, Akincana, and Mikela. At first it seemed pandemonium and nothing would get done, but within a few minutes of instruction, everyone one found their rhythms, and major work was accomplished, as follows:
- Filled holes in the roadway leading up to the temple
- Weeded and planted grass seed under the amphitheater pavilions
- Dug two huge holes near the temple and ashram to find and clear the cover of the septic systems of both buildings (now we can get both cleaned out)
- Sheared a dozen llamas
- Caulked temple arches and columns
- Installed one AC unit in the temple office
- Rebuilt and repainted jumps and ramps for the llama obstacle course
- Painted steel beams on the temple verandah to prevent rust
- Washed and cleaned the temple ground floor
- Removed streaks on temple walls from burning incense
- Washed 30 seven foot high windows
- Mowed the amphitheater grass and the grass in front of the ashram,
- Did lots of weed whacking, and weeding around the lake and trees,
- Fixed some fencing
- Cleaned out five different corrals of manure and relocated it for topsoil on other parts of the property
- 16) Restocked and dusted in the gift store
- Put up some some molding on the interior of the main dome
Everyone enjoyed the lunch, for which they had undoubtedly developed an appetite with all their hard work. We polished off substantial quantities of rice and raisin pilau, cherry hallava, marmalade stir fry, saag paneer, mashed potatoes with sour cream and peas, spaghetti in marinara sauce, mango lemonade, papadams, fudge, pies, and salad.
The devotees and myself were deeply touched by this selfless donation of time and energy by the young people and their leaders. However, we did not get the luxury of lounging around to enjoy the warm after glow of this epic event, as throughout the rest of the day there came an unending cavalcade of visitors, who toured, shopped, and dined.
ISKCON temple in Tirupati all decked up for Janmashtami celebrations
|Festivities will start at renovated temple, with ‘Utlotsavam’ on September 4|
Lotus Temple complex has been decorated as this is the first ‘Janmashtami’ on the new premises
Around 60 saints of ISKCON order are expected to arrive from various countries
Preparations On: Artistes giving finishing touches to a diorama on ‘Maha Vishnu’ at ISKCON temple in Tirupati on Sunday
TIRUPATI: The renovated Radha Govinda Mandir, which is being run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is fully decked up for the Srikrishna Janmashtami celebrations that have been slated for September 4 and 5.
The temple, renovated at a cost of Rs. 22 crore, is only the second in the world to have an altar in the sanctum sanctorum having the deities of Krishna and Radha with ‘Ashta Sakhis’, their eight close followers-cum-attendants, the other one being at Mayapur (West Bengal).
The entire ‘Lotus Temple’ complex has been decorated for the grand event for this is the first ‘Janmashtami’ celebrations that are going to be conducted in the new, sprawling premises.
Around 60 saints of the ISKCON order are expected to arrive from various countries for the grand event.
While a large number of local youth and enthusiasts are expected to converge on Tuesday evening for the ‘Utlotsavam’, also signals the beginning of the birth anniversary celebrations of Lord Krishna, which will be followed by bhajans and a ‘Maha Shanka-bhishekam’ around midnight.
The 111th appearance day of the ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada will be observed the next day.
TTD’s cultural troupes will perform a musical dance drama ‘Srinivasa Kalyanam’ on Monday evening, while Bangalore-based cultural troupe Prabhat Kalavidaru will perform dance ballets on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The centre head Revati Ramandas has announced on Sunday that as a ‘Krishnashtami gift’, the scope of midday meal scheme would be expanded in due course to benefit as many as 25,000 poor and malnourished children from the present total of about 12,500.
It may be noted that in deference to the state Government’s request, the ISKCON centre is already providing meals to students of municipal schools as a social obligation.
Here you can compare the pictures of the ISKCON Bangalore temple and the ISKCON Tirupati temple. The Tirupati temple is around the size of the front gate of the Bangalore temple. There really is no comparison between the two in terms of size or design. Both are nice, but Bangalore is on a completely different level and scale. Aesthetically the shapes and design of the Bangalore temple are much more pleasing to the eyes, where as the Tirupati temple is kind of a square block. Both have their beauties, but Bangalore is the complete package.