(TL note: nareshov's diary)

An afternoon in ISKCON

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Three days ago my parents brought up the idea of visiting the ISKCON temple just beyond Yeshwantpur in Bangalore. Apparently, neither of them had seen it before and we had to take two U-turns on a pretty long road (that God this was a two-way) to climb up the hill and park the car. Yes, this temple is on a hill and it overlooks the Bangalore beyond Yeshwantpur and it looked really cool.

This is a new temple. Built in the late 90’s. NRI-funded, I heard. As it appears, a *lot* of money is spent purely on the building itself. I though gone were the days when kings foolishly spent on temples when they could’ve done a better job with providing civil-amenities. I remember having a somewhat heated discussion on the IITK newsgroups during my second year. That was fun 🙂

There were two ways to get the darshan:  either we stand in the long winding queue chanting hare krishna hare krishna hare rama hare rama hare hare on each step or pay 150 Rs. and get an instant entry (good if you’re running out of time or don’t like the people in the queue or want instant attention from Lord Krishna). Once we entered the first check-point, we saw the venkatEShwara avatAra. We were given some bUndi to eat and had to return our recitation card which had that “hare krishna” chant in 6 languages relevant to Bangalore – English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil. (We don’t need a *single* national language for this country, please) – I’m glad ISKCON sees what’s right 🙂

The next check-point we saw the vamana avatara and another idol. It looked almost like the on at Tirupati. So much for plagiarism 😛

The final check-point was the main area itself where Krishna, Balarama, Radha et al stood tirelessly. For the prasAda right there an amount had to be paid, we hardly saw anyone do that. This particular area didn’t look too much like a real temple for some reason, the architecture I mean. It looked more like some Roman chapel with paintings on the ceiling and stuff. I’ve been told that Krishna is an extremely dark-skinned dude. I’ve heard of people naming their dark skinned kid “Krishna” (or “Krisna” rather :P). Except one portrait the rest were all Hellenic and light blue-faced. Next we were presented with an array of books about Krishna in various Indian langauges – for a sum, of course. We didn’t buy any. We stepped down to the next “floor” (this is a hill), and there were all sorts of stuff my mother would’ve like to buy for the dEvara mane which made my father stand a furlong away and call us away using sign language from the items we pondered on buying. There were numerous items on sale. It looked like a holy market. I wondered where the money would go or if any part of the profits went anywhere at all. We did come across a section which explicitly mentioned that the money we put in this particular hunDi (cash-pot) would go to a mid-day meal scheme for public schools children.

Finally we entered this food area where food of all types that would cater to most Indians were there. Again, for a fine-sum 🙂  I enjoyed the best puLiyOgare in a long time. We even bought two laddus part of which still lies besides me (my sister doesn’t seem to eat much (sweets) these days, dieting?) Was this all about money? What about the poor people who come here? I took the safer path and assumed that the profits went in to help the poor in some way – the haves would spend money here which I assumed would somehow reach the havenots. And we stepped down to another floor and guess what? There was the prasAda I was expecting! It was probably some sort of hot pongal. Took a couple of pictures and got into the car. It got dark soon. Did we spend almost three hours looking at things we didn’t want to buy?

Written by Naresh

December 15, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Posted in Travel

Tagged with , , ,

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