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First step for grand Krishna temple

New Delhi, March 17: Coming up in Vrindavan: a 700-foot-tall temple that may well be the grandest yet in India.

The Bangalore unit of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), which proposes to build the temple over five years at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore, today held a bhoomi puja at the site amid Vedic chants by monks and watched by throngs of devotees.

Bharatarshabha Dasa, the head of communication and public relations of Iskcon, told The Telegraph a giant temple of Lord Krishna would come up at the middle of the complex that is expected to become one of the major spiritual and tourist centres in India.

The temple would be of monumental proportions and harmoniously combine elements of Indian and modern temple architecture, he said.

“The temple is poised to be the tallest, grandest and largest religious structure in India. It will have a footprint of about five acres and rise to a height of about 700 feet comprising 70 floors,” he said.

“The temple is planned to be vibrant with festivals and religious activities throughout the year, and dedicated to serve the mission of Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of Iskcon.”

The temple will have several attractions to draw devotees and tourists through the year. An effort will be made to re-create the verdant forests of Vrindavan around the temple.

To extend over 26 acres, the dvadasha kanana (12 forests) of Braj — full with lush vegetation, green pastures, fruit trees, flower-laden creepers, clear-water lakes with lotuses and lilies and water falls tumbling from small, artificial hillocks — will be re-created from accounts in the Srimad Bhagvatam and other texts.

“While the Yamuna will provide visitors a boating opportunity and Krishna lila attractions in the forest will entertain family members, the Bhagavad Gita expo will ignite the mind with Sri Krishna’s stupendous wisdom, which forms the bedrock of the culture and philosophy of life in India,” the spokesperson said.

“A Krishna heritage museum will showcase the rich heritage and artistic celebration of Lord Krishna in diverse cultures of India, practised and perfected over thousands of years.”

There will be other attractions too — a capsule elevator will ascend the temple core, taking visitors through different planetary systems described in Vedic literature in a sound-and-light show.

The elevator will stop at a viewing gallery located at a height of 700 feet, which will offer visitors a panoramic view of not just Vrindavan but also Taj Mahal.

“If you help build a temple of Lord Krishna in this world, Krishna will build a palace for you in the spiritual kingdom in Vaikuntha,” the organisation said, in an appeal to devotees for donations.