Location:Â West of Chord Road, Bangalore
Built in:Â 1997
Dedicated to:Â Radha-Krishna
Also known as:Â Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra Temple
Attraction:Â Neo-classical style of architecture
Significance:Â Iskcon’s largest temple complex across the World.
Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra Temple is accredited for having the ISKCON’s largest temple complex in the world. Being made by the Iskcon cult, the magnificent shrine is commonly known as Iskcon Temple. Located on west of Chord Road in Bangalore, the colossal shrine sprawls on seven-acres of ‘Hare Krishna Hill’. This outstanding temple is one amongst the best shrines constructed by the ISKCON.
The huge shrine was started under the global project of ISKCON to memorialize the birthday of its founder, Sri Prabhupada. In May 1997, Bangalore Iskcon Temple was inaugurated by Mr. Shankar Dayal Sharma (former President of India). Ever since, the temple has been visited by far more than 5.1 million visitors. In the vein of other Iskcon Temples round the World, the shrine is mainly dedicated to Radha-Krishna.
The beautifully ornamental arches and illuminated water jets escort to the richly decorated Rajagopuram (main shrine). The main shrine comprises the stunningly beautiful idols of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Apart from the main shrine, the temple also comprises four additional shrines dedicated to Sri Sri Krishna Balrama, Sri Nitai Gauranga, Sri Prahlada Narasimha and Sri Srinivasa Govinda respectively. The main hall that embraces the three shrines, including the main one, is a huge hall of 10,000 sq feet. The ceiling of the hall is festooned with remarkable paintings made by the Russian painters.
Built in neo-classical style of architecture, the temple bands together conventional architecture with ultra-modern services. The ardent devotees like Madhu Pandit Dasa (President and Project director) and Jagat Chandra Dasa designed the structure of this remarkable shrine, mingling the elements of traditional South-Indian with contemporary style of architecture. The elaborate temple complex is divided into various sections and subsequently-sections.
The splendid structure of the temple is worth seeing because the celestial grandeur cannot be bounded in words. Lush green gardens in the campus appear mesmerizing to the onlooker. The temple complex also has an open mphitheater, where various festivals and concerts are observed. The festival of ‘Janmashtami’ is the major festival that is celebrated here with loads of enthusiasm and devotion.
Shata Koti Nama Japa Yajna]
In 2000, this religious program was started to promote world peace and harmony with an intention to chant 1 Billion holy names of Rama and Krishna. The venue for this ‘Nama Japa’ is ‘Harinama Mandapa’, which can be found ahead of the first temple of Prahlada Narasimha. Here, one can see two sets of 108 granite steps, where the devotee can chant the ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’ at each step. Following the chant of ‘Mahamantra’ for 108 times, the devotee can enter the Narsimha Temple.
This is an unusual program in which, bachelors between the age group of 19 and 29 can take part. The “Friends of Lord Krishna” (FOLK) has been organized to create an understanding of the Vedic culture among the youth of Bangalore. It is held on Saturdays and Sundays, where classes, discussions and practical sessions on Vedic philosophy and lifestyle are undertaken.
Free Prasadam for All
The temple offers a bowl of ‘Kichri’ (made of rice and pulse) to its each visitor. The vast kitchen of the shrine is equipped with modern equipments and has the capacity to provide food for two thousand visitors per hour. Besides prasadam, the kitchen is also used to prepare variety of delicacies that are offered to the Lord. Recently, they have started a bakery, which has become popular for its egg less cakes and biscuits all over the Bangalore.
Cow Protection Program
Following the knowledge of the Vedas, the temple also promotes protection of cows. Being the primary element, Cows are essential for a prosperous and healthy society. Bangalore Iskcon ‘Gaushala’ retains not less than 40 cows. The milk of these cows is used in the making of various dishes and delicacies.
The Multivision Cinema at ISKCON Bangalore is accredited for being the first show combining visual projection and animatronics in India. Visualized by the devotees of the United States, the cinema comprises 14 projectors in the company of laser Disc players, the surround sound processors and the animatronics mechanisms. The 40-minute cinema ends on a spiritual note and is organized everyday at regular intervals.
This is another scheme to encourage and preserve the conventional art and craft of South India. It supports and promotes the skilled artisans and craftsmen by providing them a channel for their work. The products made under this project are accessible at “Dakshinakriti” (the temple’s sculpture showroom).
Srila Prabhupada Museum
The museum attempts to create, a sense of awareness, among the mass of people, about the contributions made by Swami Prabhupada. This architectural marvel is dedicated to the founder of the entire Iskcon movement.
Apart from these, you must also check out lecture hall with multiple language translation system where some great spiritual and religious leaders speak on certain spiritual and religious topic is another must visit place within ISKCON Temple, Bangalore.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust is engrossed in translating and publishing Srila Prabhupada’s multifarious works in the Kannada language. Various well-known writers of Kannada language are drawn in to translate the books.
Goloka Seva Trust
This project involves promotion and maintenance of the valuable art of incense (agarbatti) creation, by means of pure natural ingredients. This trust produces more than 73 types of incense specifically meant for worship. Their products are available at the temple counters for the visitors.
ISKCON’s another project was the “Akshaya Patra”
Realizing that a nutritious school meal is an effective means of getting underprivileged children come to school and complete their education, they formed a not-for-profit organization in June 2000 to take up this cause. Their purpose is to provide “unlimited food for education”, thus freeing children from the vicious cycle of poverty and ensuring them an education.
It was only right that they named the organization Akshaya Patra which means a vessel from which unlimited amounts of food may be drawn.
They started as a pilot project in five schools in Bangalore, feeding 1,500 children and have now grown into a mammoth endeavor reaching out to over a million children in 17 locations across seven states in India.
Today, they firmly believe that feeding and educating an underprivileged child is not charity; itâ€™s their social responsibility.
Their extended programs in partnership with other NGOs:
A “Life Skills” program, in association with Activity India.
A “Teacher Training” program in association with Indian Institute of Science, Pratiksha Foundation, Regional Institute of English and Vijaya College.
“Medical Intervention”, in association with Avishkar – Divakars Hospital, Bangalore, M.S.Ramaiah Hospital, Bangalore, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal and Durlabji Hospital, Jaipur.
Akshaya Patra makes an impact in Karnataka
The Department of Education, Government of Karnataka, conducted an independent study on the impact of the program in the schools benefiting from the Akshaya Patra school meal program.
The study reported:
91.8% of the teachers felt that the attention of the students in the class has improved.
99.61% of the students felt that they could pay better attention.
93.8% of the teachers felt that there was an overall academic improvement in the students.