ISKCON Chennai is located off the East Coast Road at the Hare Krishna land, Sholinganallur. The deities worshipped in the temple include those of Radha Krishna Lalita Vishaka, Jagannath Baladev Subhadra, and Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga.
ISKCON has more than 500 centers all over the world. The Chennai chapter of ISKCON inaugurated the present gorgeous temple at Sholinganallur on April 26, 2012. It has a lot of unique features. Find the chakras that line the body of the temple-purusha on the steps, see the avatars of the Lord governing the eight directions in attractive glass paintings and more!
Spread over an area of over 1.5 acres, the temple is constructed on five levels. There is a 7,000 sq ft temple hall on the first floor, an auditorium for cultural and spiritual programmes on the ground floor and a prasadam hall in the basement.
In the temple hall, there are three teak-wood altars which house the deities of Lord Krishna with His consort Radharani and their assisting friends Lalita and Vishaka, Lord Chaitanya with Lord Nityananda and Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra. These deities have been sourced from Jaipur and Orissa. Designed under the guidance of His Holiness Bhanu Swami, the temple has imbibed various attributes from Vedic scripture and is inspired by the Pallava and Kalinga architecture.
The entrance to the temple is marked by the representation of the universe or the bhu-mandala on the marble floor. According to the cosmology of ancient Vedic puranas, the universe is described as series of circular islands surrounding a central pillar called Mount Meru. The design on the floor at the entrance depicts the same universal pattern. There is also a life-like statue of a cow feeding its calf at the portico.
The primary purpose of the temple to transform the material self-centred identity into a spiritual identity of unconditional love is graphically represented by means of a magnificent chandelier that projects various colours on the walls and ceiling. The chandelier has 500 Himalayan quartz crystals supposedly meant to intensify the spiritual energy in the temple.
The temple also visually displays various vastu shastra features.
About Srila Prabhupada
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the founder Acharya of ISKCON. He travelled to New York in 1965 at the age of 69, to spread the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Srila Prabhupada visited Chennai in 1972 and 1975 and began the Chennai chapter of ISKCON. He specifically told his disciples to build a “gorgeous temple” in Chennai.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, a prominent devotional scholar and the founder of sixty-four branches of Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic institutes), liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge in the Western world. Srila Prabhupada became his student, and eleven years later (1933) at Allahabad, he became his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge through the English language. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita and in 1944, without assistance, started an English fortnightly magazine.
Recognizing Srila Prabhupada’s philosophical learning and devotion, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society honored him in 1947 with the title “Bhaktivedanta.” In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, and four years later he adopted the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. Srila Prabhupada traveled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in very humble circumstances in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) in 1959. At Radha-Damodara, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life’s masterpiece: a multivolume translation and commentary on the 18,000-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets.
After publishing three volumes of Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada came to the United States, in 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Since that time, His Divine Grace has written over sixty volumes of authoritative translations, commentaries and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
In 1965, when he first arrived by freighter in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically penniless. It was after almost a year of great difficulty that he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July of 1966. Under his careful guidance, the Society has grew within a decade to a worldwide confederation of almost one hundred asramas, schools, temples, institutes and farm communities.
In 1968, Srila Prabhupada created New Vrndavana, an experimental Vedic community in the hills of West Virginia. Inspired by the success of New Vrndavana, then a thriving farm community of more than one thousand acres, his students founded several similar communities in the United States and abroad.
In 1972, His Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary education in the West by founding the Gurukula school in Dallas, Texas. The school began with three children in 1972, and by the beginning of 1975 the enrollment had grown to one hundred fifty.
Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of a large international center at Sridhama Mayapur in West Bengal, India, which is also the site for a planned Institute of Vedic Studies. A similar project is the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International Guest House in Vrndavana, India. These are centers where Westerners can live to gain firsthand experience of Vedic culture.
Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution, however, is his books. Highly respected by the academic community for their authoritativeness, depth and clarity, they are used as standard textbooks in numerous universities. His writings have been translated into over eighty languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, established in 1972 exclusively to publish the works of His Divine Grace, has thus become the world’s largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy.
In the last ten years of his life, in spite of his advanced age, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times on lecture tours that have took him to six continents. In spite of such a vigorous schedule, Srila Prabhupada continued to write prolifically. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.
Srila Prabhupada left us a veritable library of Vedic philosophy and culture. Highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, and clarity, his books are used at colleges and universities around the world.
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust publishes his works in over 50 languages.
Find out more about the kind and compassionate person that Srila Prabhupada was, and how he was able to change so many lives and accomplish so much in such a short time.