ISKCONís new Rs 40-cr temple to take people back to Vedic times

All roads will lead to Katraj-Kondhwa Road on Saturday. The reason: The maiden devotional session of the second ISKCON temple set up in the city.

The official opening will take place on Sunday, when President Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to inaugurate the complex, following which the temple will be opened for the public as well.

Built at Rs 40 crore, the temple has seen seven years in the making. The complex has been built on 6 acres and includes temples for five deities, including the main Radhakrishna temple and another temple for Balaji. While the Radhakrishna temple has been built in the massive North Indian scale and style, the Balaji temple has been built in typical South Indian architecture, reminiscent of the original Balaji temple in Tirumala.

The complex uses the customary combination of red stone and marble, while the Balaji temple uses Kota stone. The complex also includes several other features, such as a cultural space, as well as a 'prasad gruha', which can hold up to 5,000 devotees at a time. "The temple will have spiritual programmes on Sunday afternoon, followed by 'prasad' for all devotees at the prasad gruha," said Shwetadweepa Das, a devotee and member of ISKCON's Pune chapter.

The temple has in fact already kept 1.5 lakh laddoos ready, in anticipation of devotees on Sunday. The temple will open its doors to the public at 4pm Sunday, following which, it will be open from 4.30am to 1pm, and then again from 4.40pm to 9.30pm daily.

"The focus is to inform and educate people about the glorious culture of India from the Vedic times, and to train them on how it can be applied to modern lives," said a statement by Gopal Krishna Goswami, chairman of ISKCON India Bureau. The new temple has been funded from the proceeds of the ISKCON temple in Camp. "One of the most redeeming features of this project is that it was supported by 40,000 middle-income group families whose donations involved all communities across Pune," a statement by Srigurucharan Das, project director at the complex said.

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