ISKCON, the abbreviation for International Society for Krishna Consciousness is popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement. This massive organization was founded by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada fondly called as Srila Prabhupada in the year 1966. His mission was to propagate the bhakti movement and make Hare Krishna as the household word.
Today ISKCON has more than 100 plus centers globally. The ISKCON temple in Bangalore, India is amongst the most popular centers of ISKCON and the leading tourist destination of the Bangalore city. The center which was established in Bangalore in the year 1978 CE became a full fledged and opulent temple with the completion of the construction of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra Temple on West of Chord Road in the Rajajinagar area of Bangalore. The sprawling and majestic temple is spread over an area of seven acres on a hillock called as Hare Krishna Hill. It attracts lakhs of pilgrims a month going over the normal visitors on festive occasions such as Janmashtami, Vaikuntha Ekadashi, etc.
The amenities for pilgrims such as clean drinking water, hygienic washrooms, lifts for the elderly and disabled, adequate car parking, clear directions and ready available assistance, restaurants, open spaces to relax, etc. make it more attractive for pilgrims and visitors from all age groups and sections of society. The temple openly welcomes anyone irrespective of gender, religion or nationality.
The History of ISKCON Bangalore
ISKCON Bangalore was set up in the year 1978 operating from a rented apartment. Later, the society acquired the seven-acre hillock now called as Hare Krishna Hill in the year 1988 and moved the Deities of Sri Krishna Balarama worshiped by the devotees to a temporary shed on the hillock. The temple construction began from the year 1990 under the leadership of the president Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa and culminated in the year 1997 with the Deity installation ceremony was done. The Deity installation known as Prana Prathishta was done nonstop for a period of forty-five days strictly as per the Agama Shastras. The temple named as Sri Radha Krishna Chandra Temple and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cultural complex was inaugurated by then President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma on May 31, 1997. Around ten million man-hours were put in by 600 skilled craftsmen along with the use of 32,000 cubic meters of stone, 131,250 ton of cement and 1900-ton steel in the entire construction process.
Architecture of ISKCON Bangalore
The temple is a blend of modern glass and Dravidian temple architecture. The temple has been built with marble, granite and specially tempered glass imported from America. With towering gopurams, golden chandeliers, delicately crafted woodwork and aesthetic sculptures, the temple attracts people of all nationalities and religions. The golden chandelier in the main temple which is in the shape of an inverted lotus flower is the object of the visitor’s awe. The 56 feet high Dhwaja Stambha and the gold plated kalash shikara at 28 feet high which is one of its unique kind in the world adds beauty to the temple and can be seen from a distance. The gopurams were made with special technology using ferro cement. This was the first time such a technology was used in the construction of temples.
There are three main entrances to the temple facing the north, east and west. Around the temple is an inner prakara or passage. The outer prakara is for the movement of the festival carts i.e. rathas or palanquins during festivals. The main temple hall has a massive area of 9000 square feet with a free span of 100 feet and 60 feet in height thereby accommodating around 2000 people at a time for darshan. The vimanas of the sanctum sanctorum are gold plated using a patented technology from London. A gold-plated arch covers the three vimanas of the sanctum. Another unique feature of the main hall is that there are six viewing galleries with forty windows. The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum are adorned with Dashavatara mural paintings.
Deities at ISKCON Bangalore
The Radha Krishna Chandra Temple at the ISKCON Bangalore center mainly houses the divinely enchanting Deities of Sri Prahlada Narasimha, Sri Srinivasa Govinda, Sri Nitai Gauranga, Sri Krishna Balarama and Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra.
The temples of Sri Prahlada Narasimha, Sri Srinivasa Govinda and the main temple complex all stand at three different levels one above the other in the right order of darshan. The Deities of Sri Hanuman and Sri Garuda stand opposite to the temple of Sri Prahlada Narasimha which comes first.
Next comes the Deity of Lord Srinivasa Govinda along with whom you can relish the darshan of Srimati Padmavati Devi’s lotus feet. Sri Krishna, Rukmini and Sathyabhama Devi, the Utsavar Deities of Lord Srinivasa Govinda are present in the same shrine.
The main temple complex houses the presiding Deities of the temple Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra who are flanked on their right by Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga and on the left by Sri Sri Krishna Balarama. The main temple complex also houses a life size vigraha of Srila Prabhupada, the founder Acharya of ISKCON which bears His best resemblance amongst the 600 centers of ISKCON globally.
The Deities in the main sanctum stand on a single piece of stone column about ninety feet in height beginning from the ground. The Deities are dressed and adorned in gorgeous alankaras as well as offered elaborate services in line with the injunctions of the Pancha Ratrika Vidhi beginning with the Mangala Arati early morning to the Shayana Arati at night. The Deities of Prahlada Narasimha and Srinivasa Govinda are made from one single block of black granite stone each while the Deities in the main temple complex i.e. Radha Krishna Chandra, Krishna Balarama and Nitai Gauranga have been made from Ashtadhatus and thereafter gold plated. These Deities have been sculpted in the Chola style by craftsmen who have descended in the lineage of the royal craftsmen of King Raja Raja Chola, who are one of the world’s finest.
Facilities for pilgrims at ISKCON Bangalore
1. Dedicated reception office for guidance and assistance to the pilgrims. Special VIP darshans can be coordinated by the Temple Reception.
2. Ample paid vehicular parking. During major festivals such as Janmashtami, etc parking isn’t allowed on the hill. Rather, alternative arrangements are made at the adjacent grounds.
3. Hygienic and free washrooms are located on the northern and eastern sides of the temple complex for the convenience of pilgrims.
4. Clean drinking water facilities.
5. Wheel Chair facility for the disabled and the old aged.
6. Lift facility for the disabled and old aged.
7. Special darshan tickets with pushpanjali seva in the main temple complex are available.
8. Two Kalyana Mantapas named Dwarakapuri and Mathurapuri are available for conducting marriage ceremonies.
9. Prasadam counters where pilgrims and visitors can buy delicious snacks and drinks such as samosas, kachoris, cakes, donuts, sweets, etc.
10. Two restaurants in the temple complex premises named ‘Annakuta’ and ‘The Higher Taste’. While ‘Annakuta’ is an economical vegetarian restaurant, ‘The Higher Taste’ being Bangalore’s first sattvic restaurant is a four-star signature restaurant serving the finest food from the era of the Cholas to the most modern international cuisines in an ambient environment. You may opt in for a buffet or ‘A La Carte’ menu.
11. Guest House facilities in the temple complex. You may contact the guest house reception for further details by calling on 080-23471956 and then entering the extension 505 or book your rooms by sending your enquiry at email@example.com
Festivals celebrated at ISKCON Bangalore
The temple celebrates a variety of festivals throughout the year to commemorate the pastimes and appearance day of Lord Krishna as well as His pure devotees. These festivals which are celebrated in full grandeur witness huge crowds in the temple. The main festivals celebrated are –
Sri Krishna Janmashtami – the divine birthday of Lord Krishna who appeared as the eight son of Devaki and Vasudeva is celebrated grandly at the temple between the months of August and September every year. On this day, the Deities are dressed grandly in new dresses and jewellery. The temple is decorated in such grandeur that mesmerizes the pilgrims and visitors. Crowds throng the temple for darshan till midnight when a grand abhisekham and Arati to their Lordships takes place. A massive offering of 56 food items, popularly called Chappan Bhog is done on this occasion. The Utsavar Deities of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra are given grand abhishekams multiple times throughout the day.
Vaikuntha Ekadashi – Vaikuntha Ekadashi is a major festival of South India which draws lakhs of crowds and is also celebrated at ISKCON Bangalore. This day commemorates Sri Nammalwar’s , one of the twelve alwars of the Sri Vaishnava sampradaya entering Vaikuntha with Lord Srinivasa Govinda waiting at the door of Vaikuntha to receive Nammalwar. Huge number of devotees pass through the Vaikuntha Dwara created at the main door of the temple building to receive the blessings of the Lord. The deities of Sri Radha Krishna Chandra are adorned as Sri Lakshmi Narayana gorgeously and a grand laksharchana i.e. chanting of one lakh holy names of lord Vishnu takes place on this day. Darshan is open till 10 pm to accommodate the huge crowds pouring in.
Sri Brahmotsava – this grand festival which celebrates the anniversary of the manifestation of the Deities attracts a lot of crowd and is celebrated over an eleven-day period in which all the Devatas are also invited to paraticipate on the first day of the festival. On each of the eleven days, the main Deities Sri Radha Krishna Chandra travel on different vahanas i.e. vehicles, the grandest being the Brahma Ratha. The Kalyanotsava i.e. ceremonial marriage of Sri Radha Krishna Chandra takes every day during the festival. Apart from the churna abhishekam i.e. ceremonial bathing of the Deities, cultural programs are performed in front of the Deities every evening.
Sri Gaura Purnima – Gaura Purnima marks the divine birthday of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is the incarnation of Lord Sri Krishna in the form of a devotee. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurated the congregational chanting of Lord Krishna’s holy names popularly known as the Bhakti movement and initiated the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. The Deities of Sri Nitai Gauranga in the temple receive elaborated worship with 108 offerings of food items and the abhishekam with 108 kalashas.
Ratha Yatra – this annual festival is popularly called as the car festival of the Lord. It commemorates the pastime of Lord Krishna, Lord Balarama and Subhadra Devi being taken in a Ratha from Kurukshetra to Vrindavana. At ISKCON Bangalore, the Deities of Sri Krishna Balarama are taken for a ride in a specially constructed ratha or car around the adjoining neighborhood every year in the month of January. Arati’s are offered throughout the route and prasadam is distributed to the public and devotees attending the Ratha Yatra.
Deepotsava – as the name says, Deepotsava is the festival of lights which commemorates the pastime of Mother Yashoda binding baby Krishna to a mortar with a rope. The festival is celebrated in the entire month of Karthika i.e. October – November every evening with the offering of ghee lamps by devotees and the singing of a special prayer called as Damodarashtakam.
Govardhana Puja – Govardhana puja commemorates the lifting of the Govardhan hill in Vrindavana, Uttar Pradesh by little Krishna to protect the residents of Vrindavana from the torrents of rain and storms sent by lord Indra. A massive Annakuta cake resembling the Govardhana hill is made and offered to the Lord accompanied by Go-puja i.e. worship of a calf.
Sri Balarama Purnima – this is the divine birthday of Lord Balarama who is Lord Krishna’s elder brother. This occasion is also celebrated here with a grand Arati and abhisekham to the Deities of Krishna Balarama in the evening.
Vyasa Puja – Vyasa Puja marks the divine birthday of H D G A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder acharya of ISKCON and falls on the very next day after Janmashtami. This day is celebrated with special offerings of new clothes to the Deities of Srila Prabhupada as well as the abhishekam of the festival Deities of Srila Prabhupada. A special book is offered to Srila Prabhupada containing the homage offerings of devotees and disciples.
Sri Nithyananda Trayodashi – Nithyananda Trayodashi marks the divine birthday of Lord Nithyananda Prabhu, the incarnation of Lord Balarama in the form of a devotee to help Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His pastimes. A special panchamrita abhisekham is offered to the deities of Sr Nitai Gauranga followed by Nauka Vihara i.e. boat ride in the temple pond.
Sri Rama Navami – this festival celebrates the divine birthday of Lord Ramachandra, who is known as the ideal King. The Deities of Sri Krishna Balarama is adorned as Lord Rama and Lakshmana on this auspicious occasion with all jewellery and paraphernalia with the Rama Taraka Homa conducted with the chanting of the holy names of the Lord.
Vamana Dwadashi – this festival celebrates the divine birthday of Lord Vamana, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu in a dwarf form. The Deity of Lord Krishna on the Krishna Balarama altar is adorned in the Vamanadeva alankara i.e. dressing with an umbrella in one hand and the water pot in the other hand. Special offerings of prayers are done for the pleasure of the Lord.
Radhashtami – this festival marks the divine birthday of Sri Radha, the eternal consort of Lord Krishna. Special alankaras are done for the Deities of Sri Radha Krishna Chandra followed by a grand abhishekam and offering of special songs and prayers in the evening.
Panihati Chida Dahi Utsava – This festival commemorates the original festival of distributing Chipped rice mixed with yoghurt by Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, one of the six great Goswamis of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya in the village of Panihati in west Bangal following the orders of Lord Nithyananda Prabhu. Chipped rice mixed with sweet yoghurt is prepared, offered to the Deities of Nitai Gauranga this day and distributed to all the devotees who pAraticipate in the festival. The Deities are also taken for a pleasure boat ride in the temple pond.
Jhulan Utsava – Also known as the swing festival, it is celebrated every year in the month of August for a period of five days. The festival commemorates the swing pastimes of Lord Krishna with His eternal consort Sri Radha. The Deities of Sri Radha Krishna Chandra are swung gently on swings specially adorned for the occasions along with soul stirring kirtans and Arati.
Other activities at ISKCON Bangalore
The temple engages in programs aimed at the welfare of the society in large. Various programs are designed looking at people from various age groups and interests. Some of them are as follows –
Cultural Educational Services – aimed at guiding children and students up to the level of 12th standard to instill a sense of pride in the time-tested heritage and culture of India for living an enriched life. Many activities such as culture camps, heritage fests, Dasara camps, Gita fests, etc. are conducted in addition to regular programs at schools.
Youth programs – programs such as FOLK, Secrets of Success, Art of Mind Control, etc. are conducted for the youth aged 18 and above to guide them to lead them an enriched life in all aspects by using a combination of ancient Indian principals and modern technology.
Food Distribution – the temple distributes free khichdi prasadam to it’s visitors every day. Apart from this, the temple hosts the Nitya Annadana seva where visitors to the temple are provided with free sumptuous lunch everyday from 11.30 am to 2 pm through a coupon system. The coupons are available at the Annadana counter after exiting the main temple complex. This is in line with the Founder Acharya HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s vision and direction that anyone who comes to an ISKCON temple should be fed sumptuously. A major initiative of ISKCON Bangalore is the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal program which feeds lakhs of children in rural schools throughout India everyday except on Sundays. Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest NGO mid-day meal program.
Harinam festivals – the scriptures say that chanting of the Holy names of the Lord is the biggest sacrifice of the current age and hence, in line with the instructions of the Founder Acharya, the temple propagates the congregational chanting of the holy names through various initiatives such as Harinam festivals, chanter’s clubs, Harinam Mantapa in the temple, day long Kirtans by devotees, etc.
Cow Protection – the temple maintains a goshala where 25 cows are maintained. The Founder Acharya of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada stressed on the importance of cow protection for the peaceful existence of humankind and so extreme care is given to the cows at the goshala who are bathed and well fed. The milk obtained from the cows are used in a variety of preparations and offerings in the temple.
ISKCON Bangalore timings
Darshan timings at ISKCON Bangalore is as follows:
4.15 am to 5.00 am – Mangala Arati
7.15 am to 1.15 pm – the temple opens for Shringar darshan and then closes in the afternoon after Rajbhog Arati.
4.15 am to 8.15 pm – the temple opens in the evening with the Dhupa and closes in the evening with the Shayana Arati.
PS: The temple is open with uninterrupted darshan on Saturdays and Sundays.
How to reach ISKCON Bangalore
ISKCON Bangalore is in the well know Rajajinagar locality of Bangalore, known popularly as India’s Silicon Valley is easier to reach via all modes of transport available.
By Road: Buses are available frequently from all the major bus stations of Bangalore i.e. Majestic, Shivajinagar and City market. Apart from this, Cab services such as Uber and Ola as well as Auto-rickshaws could be hired to reach the temple.
By Train: Bangalore is connected by trains from major cities in India. One can alight at one of the major railway stations such as Bangalore City railway station, Yeshwantpur railway station and take a cab, bus, auto-rickshaw or metro to reach the temple.
By Flight: The city of Bangalore is well connected to cities in India as well as Internationally via flights. The temple is situated at a distance of thirty-three kilometers from the airport and be reached by hiring an airport taxi. The city transport corporation also operated frequent Volvo Bus services to the city. You can catch Volvo Bus Number KIAS10 up to Navrang circle and then catch a bus or auto-rickshaw to the temple nearby.
Address and contact of ISKCON Bangalore
ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Temple, Hare Krishna Hill,
Chord Road, Rajajinagar,
Phone: +91-80-23471956 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org