Weather :

Timings : 4:30 AM - 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee

ISKCON Kolkata, Kolkata Overview

ISKCON Radha Krishna Temple is a highly spiritual place for the devotees. The temple is also called Sri Sri Radha Govind Mandir and mainly focuses on spreading the teachings of Lord Krishna. It is not restricted to any one particular religion as such and welcomes enthusiasts or people interested in learning about these teachings with open arms. The temple is a serene complex that houses beautifully ornamented idols of Goddess Radha and Lord Krishna. The complex is very well maintained and provides for a serene atmosphere for devotees to soak in the heavenly vibes of the deities.

ISKCON was founded by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966 in New York to open up the world to the valuable teachings of Lord Krishna based on the sacred Hindu scriptures of Bhagwad Geeta and Bhagwad Purana. This spiritual path introduces people to the Sanatana Dharma and Vedic Culture and helps them live a stress-free life. Visitors can also enjoy a 100% vegetarian sattvic meal that is prepared by the volunteers in clean and hygienic conditions. Most of the devotees visit the temple to clear their minds of endless chatter and to purify their souls through the chanting of the 'Hare Rama' mantra. To witness the vibe when the mantra is chanted by all the devotees is a surreal experience.

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Religious Importance of ISKCON

ISKCON was basically formed to spread Bhakti Yoga, a spiritual path according to the Hindus through the scriptures of Bhagwad Purana and Bhagwad Geeta. The main focus is to please Krishna, who is also considered the Supreme Lord, through our actions and words. ISKCON was initially only practised by the people belonging to the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampraday since late 16th century. However, the logic behind the teachings and the sense of calm it gives to the devotees has inspired many people to take up the practices and lead healthy and happier lives.

Kolkata Rath Yatra

Activities at ISKCON Temple Kolkata

Festivals at ISKCON Kolkata

  • Janmashtami: This is the day Lord Krishna appeared in Vrindavan about 5000 years ago. It is one of the festivals that are celebrated with grandeur and enthusiasm in the temple. The festival begins with a Mangal Aarti early in the morning, and the temple is flocked by devotees for darshan all through the day. The celebration includes singing Kirtans, Bhajans and chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna. The idols are beautifully decorated with colourful clothing and jewellery. A special offering with 108 food items is specially prepared for the Lord. A programme with devotional songs, cultural dance performances, skits/ dramas, and lectures are also arranged. Free meals are also served to the devotees as prasad.
  • Ramnavami: Ramnavami is celebrated to commemorate the appearance of the King of Ayodhya, Lord Rama. The idols of Lord Krishna and Balram are decorated to resemble Lord Rama and Lakshmana with bows and arrows in their hands, and Goddess Radha is dressed to look like Goddess Sita. The Ramayana is also narrated on this auspicious day.
  • Radhashtami: This festival is celebrated in the honour of the greatest devotee of Lord Krishna, the Queen of Vrindavan and the Supreme Goddess, Goddess Radha. Devotees offer prayers, flowers and garlands to the Goddess and ask for Bhakti and an opportunity to serve the Lord and the Goddess through their prayers.   
  • Chandan Yatra: Chandan Yatra is celebrated in the summer season in India. During the festival, the idols of the deities are covered in a paste of sandalwood for 21 days to protect them from the scorching summer heat. The deities are then taken on a procession to the temple pond where they are placed in a boat. Many devotees perform homas, offer sandalwood, flowers and garlands to the deities, chant mantras and offer barley in the sacred fire. Food items prepared with barley are considered to be auspicious to be consumed. It takes about 100 kilograms of sandalwood to prepare the paste that is used to cover the deities.
  • Jhulan Yatra: Jhulan Yatra is also called the swing festival. At ISKCON, the festival is celebrated for five days in the Hindu month of Shravan. The idols of Radha and Krishna are placed on a beautifully decorated swing recreating the leisurely and romantic times Lord Krishna spent with Goddess Radha in Vrindavan during the monsoon season. The festival also includes Bhajans, Kirtanas and the devotees offer garlands, flowers to the deity and dance enthusiastically to the spiritual beats of the mridangam and the karatalas.
  • Kartik Masa: Kartik Masa is an auspicious month on the Hindu calendar. It overlaps with October and November and is also known as Damodar Masa. Devotees chant mantras of Lord Krishna, light ghee lamps, offer flowers, fruits and sweets, worship the Tulasi Plant and donate wholeheartedly during this month. These acts of devotion and kindness are said to please the Lord immensely.
  • Geeta Jayanti: Geeta Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the day Lord Krishna verbalized the Bhagwad Geeta to Arjuna. It marks an important day as Krishna Consciousness is based on the teachings of the Bhagwad Geeta. It is celebrated on the 11th day of the Hindu month of Margashirsha or on Shukla Ekadashi.

ISKCON Guest House

ISKCON Guest House provides accommodation at affordable rates to all devotees who wish to visit the city to participate or offer prayers at the temple. The rooms are well-maintained and clean. The Guest House also provides simple yet wholesome vegetarian food and essential facilities. It is located very close to the temple; hence, the devotees won't miss a single aarti and can immerse themselves in the bhajans and kirtans being sung at the temple from their room itself. Devotees can book their rooms online via the official website or email them or call to make the bookings.

Govinda Restaurant

Govinda Restaurant, also known fondly as Govinda's, is a restaurant that serves delicious vegetarian food near ISKCON Temple and ISKCON House. Breakfast is served from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, lunch from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, evening snacks are served from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM and Dinner from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The humble decor of the restaurant and the variety of mouth-watering vegetarian dishes they serve draws some people. They also have a sweet mart/ bakery to serve delicious sweets made under hygienic conditions with care and love. Some of the famous food items here are Rasmalai, Chanar Payesh, Hyderabadi Veg Biryani, Traditional Vegetarian Thali, Sandesh, Rasgulla, Paneer Makhni and stuffed Kuchas.

Tours By ISKCON Kolkata

  • Mayapur Tour: Mayapur is an important spiritual holiday destination in India which is the homeland of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who started the famous Hare Krishna movement. It is a tranquil location set atop an island which is named Antardweep, about 130 kilometres away from the city centre. This spiritual holiday destination has an ISKCON Mayapur campus with many brilliant architectural structures. ISKCON Kolkata organises a one-day tour to Gangasagar and back to Mayapur. The Package costs approximately INR 5000 per head, and tourists get to witness the Gangasagar Sangam, offer prayers and take a bath in the holy waters. ISKCON Kolkata also operates AC and Non-AC bus services to Mayapur on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Pilgrims can choose to return the same day or choose to stay at Mayapur.

  • Kolkata Tour: ISKCON Kolkata Tour has been designed with an intention to allow devotees to instil memories of Srila Prabhupada. The tours are guided and include all the locations related to Prabhupada through his lifetime. It includes a visit to the Kolkata Dham where Srila Prabhupada lived most of his life in Kolkata. Pilgrims can see the Jackfruit tree Srila Prabhupada was born under, his school, Motilal Seal School and Scottish Church College, the college he studied in. A part of the Kolkata Dham darshan also includes the Radha Govind Mandir that was regularly visited by Srila Prabhupada, Ultadanga Junction Road where he met Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and the Khidderpore Dock from where he departed for America. Bookings can be made at ISKCON Kolkata or on their official website.

How To Reach ISKCON Kolkata

ISKCON Kolkata is about 5 kilometres away from the city centre. Buses and taxis are easily available to reach the attraction via Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose road and Camac Street. One needs to take the Surya Sen Street to get to Mahatma Gandhi road. From there, head to Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road till Shakespeare Sarani road in Mullick Bazar. Then turn left to get onto Camac Street. About 150 meters ahead, turn left onto Albert Road. ISKCON temple is located about 150 metres away from the turn.

One can also take the route via Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Road to reach Mullick Bazar. From there, head towards Albert Road/ Uttam Kumar Sarani in Elgin. The temple is about 950 metres away.

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