Construction is set to begin within a few weeks on an opulent new ISKCON temple in Bangalore, South India, one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in the country.
While the design of the temple, priced at over $3 million, has not been one hundred per cent finalized yet, the plans for it are dazzling.
The temple will be set on a half-acre of landscaped gardens, with the words “ISKCON” and “Founder Acharya: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada” embedded in a waterfall at the entrance that will light up at night.
Along the driveway to the temple will be flowering Golok Champa trees, more waterfalls, a book store, a Matchless Gifts store, and a high-end Govinda’s restaurant with outdoor seating.
“We are looking into providing high quality international cuisine offered to the Lord there,” says project manager Madhusudan Hari Das. “For example, Bangalore youngsters are fond of pizza, so we want to find an Italian devotee who can help us make authentic pizza in a wood burning oven.”
Meanwhile the temple itself will be designed after the royal palaces of Jaipur, with three domes, five floors, and 20,000 square feet of space.
In the basement, there’ll be store rooms, offices, and parking spaces, and on the ground floor, a kitchen, samskara hall, and reception area.
The first and second floors will house lecture halls, and the third floor will be home to the main Deity hall.
The Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, small brass Nitai Chaitanya and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Chandra Deities currently worshipped at a simple rented location will reside on three beautiful wood and marble altars, with large marble Gaura Nitai and Radha-Krishna Deities expected to be installed at the temple’s opening.
Possible plans for the Deity Hall include a ceiling painted to look like a blue sky with clouds, Swaroski crystal lighting, and stone meshwork with concealed lights.
To allow Bangalore’s varied population to hear classes in multiple languages, lectures will be given simultaneously on the first floor in Kannada (the local language of Bangalore), on the second floor in Hindi, and on the third floor – the Deity Hall — in English.
“The first and second floor lecture halls will also have Deity darshan via big screens to give the feel of the Deity hall,” says Madhusudan Hari.
Finally, the temple’s roof will serve as a seating area with stylish lighting fixtures, potted flowering trees and seating for chanting japa. All floors will be covered with Italian marble, and will be accessible by way of a glass capsule elevator.
“I am from the real estate industry, and am taking help from some very high-end professionals who are designing the best buildings in Bangalore,” Madhusudan Hari says. “So the temple is going to be absolutely gorgeous, opulent and very very aesthetic. We want to use the best materials available in India and from abroad too. There’s going to be a real wow factor to it.”
In the future, there are also plans to build a Krishna conscious educational institution on the temple grounds, called the Bhaktivedanta Soul University.
“Srila Prabhupada always used to ask, ‘Where is the university that teaches the science of the soul?’” says Madhusudan Hari. “So that’s what we’re going to do. There will be a number of classrooms where people can learn about Krishna consciousness in a very organized systematic manner.”
Construction of the temple, which will be located in Seshadripuram in the very heart of Bangalore, is expected to be completed in around three years.
ISKCON’s outreach in Bangalore is already successful, with a steady congregation of over 1500, and around 60 Bhakti Vriksha congregational groups.
Meanwhile, regular programs held at three different universities are extremely popular, and so far around sixty people have become devotees through them, chanting sixteen rounds and attending the temple.
But when the new temple opens, Madhusudan Hari expects growth to increase exponentially. “Within one year, I expect the congregation to reach 5,000,” he says.
Part of the reason, for this, he says, is the welcoming mood of ISKCON Bangalore. “One special feature of our temple is that the atmosphere is extremely hospitable, and the devotees are very friendly and non-judgemental,” he explains. “So anyone who walks in feels very much at home.”
Madhusudan Hari feels that having an ISKCON temple in Bangalore, a corporate and educational hub with a demographically diverse population, will greatly increase ISKCON’s cultural and societal impact.
“Bangalore is a very cosmopolitan and urban city, with a lot of international exposure,” he says. “So it has extremely high potential, from all aspects.”
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To donate towards the new ISKCON Bangalore temple, please visit:http://iskconbangalore.co.in/securepage/product-category/upcoming-temple-sponsorship/