ISKCON temple is one of the largest Hindu temples in the world and is present throughout the globe in various countries. ISKCON is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. This beautiful temple is located in Rajaji Nagar Bangalore and has six shrines devoted to Krishna and his devotees.
Founded by the great Acharya Srila Prabhupada this temple gives peace of mind and happiness to one and all who visit it. The temple is inspired by the Hare Krishna Movement founded by the saint Srila Prabhupada in the year 1966 with the objective of spreading Lord Sri Krishna’s message as given in the Bhagavad Gita.
The mission of this temple
The mission of this temple is to end the miseries of material existence as one equates material pursuits to happiness. Through their principles of chanting holy names, reading the Bhagavad Gita and honouring the Prasad given they want to instil the meaning of true happiness and freedom in the people and break the bond to their material identity.
They believe chanting the name of the Lord cleanses the heart and stops the misery of existence that is deeply rooted in material pursuits. By reading the Bhagavad Gita ignorance is replaced with knowledge and good qualities are developed. And by honouring the Prasad the devotees are released from all kinds of sins.
They bring their mission to life with concrete objectives that are clear and steadfast.
Objectives of the temple
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”
This is the chant or mantra that is imbibed in the temple. Lord Krishna wanted the people to chant his name and become free from worldly and material desires. Srila Prabhupada accepted this as the mission of his life and established the Hare Krishna movement by chanting the lord’s name as its main objective.
The second objective is to maintain the deity worship throughout the year along with festivals that are celebrated on a grand scale with great exuberance so that everyone is caught in the Hare Krishna movement and experiences tranquillity and peace of mind. The devotees wish to engage all their senses directly in serving the supreme god himself and remove all other unrequired tendencies thereby calming the mind and freeing the soul.
The third objective is to shed light on Acharya Srila Prabhupada and bring his teachings and philosophy of life to the world. It is his life mission to spread the word of Krishna to the world. He preaches about world peace and global harmony both of which is very much required in today’s world.
Their fourth objective is the distribution of scriptures. The great sage Srila Prabhupada founded the Bhakti Vedanta Book trust in 1972 and has written more than 70 books that have been translated to more than 57 languages. Reading books form the foundation of the Hare Krishna movement.
The fifth objective is to have missionaries of the Hare Krishna movement spread the message of Sri Krishna throughout the globe. Aspiring devotees can join this movement and become missionaries spreading the word of God. They are given basic facilities and are trained in a disciplined way of life so that they can serve the people for the betterment of society.
Once the objectives of the temple are clear let us look into the fascinating history of this temple.
Timeline of the temple
- ISKCON society was registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act (1960) in the year 1978.
- Till the year 1987, the society was operating from a rented house in Bangalore.
- In 1987 the leaders of the society applied to BDA for land allotment to construct a temple bringing Srila Prabhupada’s principles to life.
- In 1988 a seven acre hillock which was a wasteland was allotted to the society.
- In September 1988 a temporary shed was constructed and the idols of Sri Krishna and Balarama were moved to this makeshift temple.
- Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa the president of ISKCON society and a qualified civil engineer from IIT Mumbai along with Sri Jagat Chandra Dasa a qualified architect from IIT Mumbai and a devotee of the Lord got together and designed the temple and its surrounding premises.
- The construction of the temple started in 1990 with a budget of 10 crores INR. A beautiful architectural marvel was completed costing 32 crores. 600 skilled craftsmen spent more than 10 million man hours to craft this temple from scratch. 32000 cubic meters of stone, 131,250 tons of cement and 1,900 tons of steel were used to bring this captivating wonder to life.
- This temple was finished in the year 1997.
- On May 31st 1997 the then president of India Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma inaugurated the temple and cultural complex.
Image Source: https://www.iskconbangalore.org/temple-history/
Features of the temple
The prevailing deity of the temple is Radha Krishna adorned with beautiful costumes and enthralling smiles. The deities immediately bring about peace of mind to all the visitors. The other deities that preside in this temple are Sri Srinivasa Govinda, Sri Prahlada Narasimha, Sri Krishna Balarama, Sri Nitai Gauranga and Sri Hanuman & Sri Garuda.
This spick and span temple has the convenience of modern architecture like ample parking space, footwear stands, and proper security making it safe for the pilgrims to visit and enjoy the serenity of this temple.
The temple has 15 pujaris or priests who work in the service of the Lord full time throughout the day from 3:45 am to 9:00 pm in shifts.
They have many facilities including a guest house appropriately named as Yatri Niwas providing affordable accommodation to all visitors and devotees.
That’s not all, this society is famous for its social services especially the Akshaya Patra scheme which is recognised universally and even received praise from Barack Obama the former president of the United States.
Social Services of the temple
Every day free food is distributed at lunchtime to all the visitors of the temple.
The famous Akshaya Patra was also started by this society and is involved in providing fresh, nutritious and hygienic food to children in Government and Government aided schools all over India. This mid-day meal scheme is quite popular and children from these schools started attending school regularly just because of this scheme. Their participation rate and attendance skyrocketed once this scheme was launched.
It is a public private partnership model and has been working in conjunction with central and state governments. It was set up in the year 2000 and is the world’s largest mid-day meal scheme where around 1.6 million children are fed every day. It reaches out to 13500 government and government aided schools in India and is operating in 27 locations across 11 states.
There are several branches of this temple across India and there are 2 ISKCON temples in Bangalore.
How to reach?
This temple is located in North Bangalore and is 33 kms away from the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru.
The nearest railway stations are the Bangalore City Railway Station which is 6.9 kms away and the Yeshwantpur Railway Station which is 2.2 kms away.
The temple is located very close to the Bangalore Metro Station and is just a 10-minute walk from ‘Mahalakshmi’ and ‘Sandal Soap Factory’ metro stops.
There are many city buses plying to this area. Any bus from Kempegowda Bus Station (Majestic) – 80, 80A, 80B, 80E, 80F, 80G, 252F will reach this place. From City Market – 77, 77E and Shivajinagar – 79E will reach this place safely and securely.
When to visit?
One can visit this temple anytime throughout the year as all Krishna festivals are celebrated with great pomp and show.
The best time is when they conduct their annual rath yatra. Started in 1985 the year 2022 will mark its 37th celebration. Two chariots one for Sri Krishna and one for Sri Balarama were planned to be carried out in the streets but due to unexpected turn of events, both idols rode on the same chariot creating a new tradition.
Since then both the idols ride on the same chariot and is celebrated with great jubilation. These chariots are pulled on the streets of Rajaji Nagar and Mahalakshmipuram. Throughout the procession route, delicious prasadam is distributed to all the onlookers.
The year 2022 will also mark the celebrations going virtual and the video will be published online on all their official channels and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Due to COVID-19, there are some restrictions and the procession will be carried out in the temple premises only by the devotees themselves.
The rest of the public can view this spectacle virtually on their devices through the official channels of the temple where the live recording will be posted.
The temple is open to all visitors on all days of the week. The below excerpt shows the temple timings and the various poojas they do throughout the day. The same timings are followed on all the days.
4:15am – 4:30am
4:30am – 4:35am
Tulasi Puja (Altar is closed during this time)
5:00am – 7:15am
Hare Krishna Maha Mantra Meditation
(Altar is closed during this time)
7:15am – 7:22am
Shringara Arati in Sri Radha Krishna Temple
7:25am – 7:40am
Shringara Arati in Sri Sudarshana Narasimha Temple
7:40am – 8:00 am
Guru Puja and Hare Krishna Kirtan
8:15am – 8:30am
Bhoga Offering (Altar is closed during this time)
8:00am – 8:45am
Srimad Bhagavatam Class
12:00pm – 12:20pm
Raj Bhog Offering (Altar is closed during this time)
12:30pm – 12:50pm
Raj Bhog Arati
1:00pm – 4:15pm
Temple remains closed
4:15pm – 4:30pm
5:30pm – 5:45pm
Bhoga Offering (Altar is closed during this time)
6:45pm – 6:55pm
7:00pm – 7:20pm
Sandhya Arati in Sri Radha Krishna Temple
7:20pm – 7:45pm
Sandhya Arati in Sri Sudarshana Narasimha Temple
7:45pm – 8:15pm
8:00pm – 8:15pm
Bhoga offering (Altar is closed during this time)
8:15pm – 8:30pm
Temple closes for the day
Frequently Asked Questions
This temple is the vision of Sri Srila Prabhupada that has been made into reality. The ISKCON society is world-famous and is known for its dharmic values. It preaches about global harmony, tolerance and love towards all mankind. The serene and tranquil atmosphere in the temples bring about the best in all its visitors and helps them forget about their material attachments and worries for a while.
The principles and values of Sri Srila Prabhupada are brought to life through the various social activities that this temple and society undertakes. Visiting this place one can witness humanity at its best and participate in the various poojas and celebrations receiving happiness and inner peace in return.