ISKCON Chandrodaya Temple

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ISKCON Chandrodaya Temple, Mayapur Overview

Located in Mayapur in West Bengal, India; the ISKCON Temple is an important religious site for Hindus as well as for people who believe in other religions. One of the over 650 temples that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has established all across the globe, the place is always buzzing with devotees who come here to pay their respects to Sri Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON. The sprawling and lush green complex is enormous and spacious and has multiple places of worship in it. Larger than life idols of all prominent lords are installed in the temple, and these beautiful images especially catch the attention of the visitor.

The key areas in the temple complex include the main temple, an idol of the founder of ISKCON, Acharya Srila Prabhupada, the presiding deities Sri Sri Radha Madhava and an idol of Lord Nrisimhadeva that finds its way in the centre of the compound. The highlight of the temple, no doubt, is Srila Prabhupada's Pushpa Samadhi Mandir, or the shrine of Srila Prabhupada. This shrine is a grand and majestic marble dome that glistens beautifully when the soft rays of the Sun touch it at sunrise and sunset. Other than this, the temple is also famous for its Govinda Restaurant, a standard feature of all ISKCON temples, that serves delicious and freshly prepared pure vegetarian dishes. All in all, this is a must visit place for all people, whether worshippers of Lord Krishna or not, to discover the magical healing powers of the Divine.

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History Of ISKCON Temple

ISKCON, or The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was founded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in the year 1966 and is a religious tradition that is based on the teachings of Bhagavad-Geeta and Srimad-Bhagavatam. The precepts and practices of ISKCON were taught and codified by the religious reformer and Saint Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whom devotees consider to be an incarnation of Lord Krishna.

It was Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who led to the development of a massive Bhakti movement throughout the country, and hundreds of volumes on the philosophy of Krishna consciousness were compiled under his direction. In fact, it is all because of this movement that today, an Asian religion is being openly practised by people of western origin as well. Devotees and followers of ISKCON believe that one can be freed from anxiety by cultivating pure spiritual science, and hence, the organisation aims at propagating spiritual knowledge to the members of the society to help them check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve unity and peace in the real sense.

Temple Complex Of ISKCON Temple Mayapur

The entire premise of the ISKCON Temple is a vast and spacious one and imbues a unique kind of peace and serenity in the visitor. Towards the left of the main temple is an idol of the founder of ISKCON, Acharya Srila Prabhupada in his Vyasana. On the right, on the main altar, are the presiding deities: Sri Sri Radha Madhava, surrounded by their eight principles 'gopi' friends: Sri Lalita, Sri Champakalata, Sri Chitra, Sri Tungavidya, Sri Vishaka, Sri Indulekha, Sri Rangadevi and Sri Sudevi, along with Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Giri-Govardhana. The small idols of the Gods in the altar are taken out in processions during Ratha-Yatras, Jhula-Yatras, or the boat festival. They also come out in a procession every Saturday evening during winters, after the Sandhya Aarti, on a chariot, from the beginning of the Kartika month up to Gaura-Purnima.

After the temple was attacked by dacoits in 1986, an idol of Lord Nrisimhadeva was installed in the centre of the premise. This rare form of the Lord -with bent knees and eyes red in anger, ready to spring out of the pillar to attack demons and protect his devotees- is known as 'Sthanu- Nrisimha'. ISKCON Temple of Mayapur is the only place where this form of the Lord is worshipped. The third altar in the compound is the Sri Sri Pancha-tattva temple. Larger than life deities of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with His associates Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Acharya, Sri Gadhadhara Pandita and Sri Srivasa Thakura can be seen here, and were installed in 2004.

An interesting area inside the temple is the Chaitanya Exhibition, where all of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes are artistically painted and depicted on the walls through the medium of bas-reliefs. A dramatic narration of the same in Bengali is played through an audio system in the background. The exhibition is open from 10:00 AM to 01:00 PM and then from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM.

Srila Prabhupada's Pushpa Samadhi Mandir in ISKCON Mayapur

The magnificent memorial shrine of Srila Prabhupada that is located in ISKCON is the largest of its kind in the entire nation. The garland, which had adorned His Divine Grace, while he was being placed in the Samadhi, has been brought and laid down here in the Pushpa Samadhi Mandir. A brass idol of Srila Prabhupada can also be found here. The extensive and well-maintained gardens never fail to impress the guests. The auditorium in the basement hosts multiple ISKCON film shows and cultural programs. The shrine is open to visitors from 7:30 AM to 01:00 PM and 03:30 PM to 08:30 PM.

Prominent Aartis that take place here are as follows:
1. Srila Prabhupada Aarti: 04:00 AM 
2. Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja: 07:30 AM 
3. Bhoga Aarti: 12:15 PM
4. Sandhya Aarti: 06:00 PM

ISKCON Temple Govinda Restaurant

Other than these sites of religious worship, the temple also has two dining options available: the Govinda restaurant and the Mahaprasad Stall. The Govinda's restaurant serves international cuisines as well as Bengali dishes. There is also a fresh fruit juice corner and sweets stall in this restaurant. The timing of the restaurant is 07:30 AM to 09:00 PM and it is open on all days. A Mahaprasada Stall is also located in the temple courtyard. All the Bhoga that is offered to the deities, except the Raj Bhoga, is then available as Mahaprasad here.

ISKCON Temple Mayapur Aarti & Timings

The temple closes at 01:00 PM and then opens again at 04:00 PM. It finally closes at 08:30 at night.
The schedules of the various aartis that take place during the day are as follows:
Mangala Aarti: 04:30 AM to 05:00 AM
Darsana Aarti: 07:00 AM 
Srila Prabhupada Guru Puja: 07:30 AM
Class of Srimad- Bhagavatam (English and Bengali separately): 08:00 AM 
Bhoga Aarti: noon
Sandhya Aarti: 06:30 PM 
Class on Bhagavad Gita (Bengali): 07:45 PM 

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