Location: Raman Reti in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Built in: 1975
Dedicated to: Krishna-Balrama
Also known as: Sri Krishna-Balrama Temple
Significance: First Temple made by ISKCON
How to reach: One can easily reach Iskcon Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from Delhi
Iskcon Temple VrindavanSri Krishna Balrama Temple is acknowledged for being the first temple constructed by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Built in 1975 by the ISKCON cult, the foundation of the shrine was laid by Swami Prabhupada (founder of ISKCON) himself. Located at Raman Reti in Vrindavan, the temple can be easily reached by regular transport from the western part of Uttar Pradesh. From Delhi, one can get in touch with the temple by taking regular buses or by hiring taxis.
In the vein of other temples made by the society, Sri Krishna Balrama Mandir is too called as Iskcon Temple all over. After the original construction, the temple complex has extended evidently, to accomplish the vision of Swami Prabhupada, for an international center in Vrindavan. The temple stands on the banks of Yamuna River, where Sri Krishna along with Balrama used to herd their cows. The magnificent structure of the Iskcon Temple comes across the sight, as and when, one enters the holy lands of Vrindavan.
In the temple complex, one can see a temple that comprises 'Samadhi' of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, on the left-hand side. The 'Samadhi' temple is totally made in white marble and the gilded image of Swami Prabhupada enhances the vista with its transcendental appearance. This is the place, where the body of Swami was kept after he left this corporeal world. In the present day, this splendid shrine is the most beautiful temple of Vrindavan.
The principal deity of the temple is the image of Krishna-Balrama, which happens to lure from the main entrance of the shrine. The image is housed under the central spire (shikhar) of the temple. Apart from the eye-glittering image of Krishna Balrama, the images of Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Shyamsundar are adored by other shrines that are located along side the central shrine. All the shrines look exceptionally striking with the ornamentation, which is done to the deities.
For the whole day, various rituals and ceremonies are conducted in the reverence of the Lord. Throughout the temple, one can see many foreigners that are actively involved in the religious and spiritual activities of the temple. These people have come from their homelands, to Vrindavan, for serving the Lord in his play land. The temple galleries adorn various pictures of Lord Krishna, depicting various frolicking scenes of his life.
The huge temple complex has been divided into various sections, where religious activities are carried day and might. The television broadcasting of ISKCON preaching is also made from this shrine. Numerous holy books and natural things are sold at different stalls. The temple complex upholds many devotees and priests that always remain here for the services of the Lord. The spiritual ecstasy and divine aura of Sri Krishna Balrama Temple attract devotees and people from all over the world, throughout the year.
Every day is a new day at Iskcon Temple, where ceremonies and rituals keep the festivities alive. However, there are many festivals that are celebrated at a grand level in the temple. Amongst the festivals, Janmashtami, Rama Navami, Gaura Purnima, Diwali, Annakut, Chandan Yatra, Jhulan Yatra (Swing festival), Kartika (Oct/Nov), Gaura Purnima, Balaram Purnima, Radhashtami and Govardhana Puja are the major festivals that bring special celebration at Iskcon Temple.
Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, is observed with full gusto and fervor. The whole temple is decorated with flowers, flags, ribbons and garlands. People keep fast for the whole day and at midnight; they take grain-less meal. At the time of Janmashtami, the whole of town of Vrindavan gets drenched in the gala of Lord Krishna's Birthday. The deities are dressed up in rich clothes and ornamented with dazzling jewelry.