By Gaurav Sharma
The land of Vrindavan, more accurately known as Brindavan or the forest of Basil has been revered by Hindus and spiritualists alike since time immemorial. For devotees of Krishna, however, the place holds special significance as the most sacred place of pilgrimage because Krishna sported in it, performing various heart-capturing and awe-inspiring pastimes.
History of Vrindavan
According to the Bhagavata Purana, the holy scripture of the Hindus, Krishna spent his early childhood pastimes in the Vrindavan forest, where he and his brother Balarama along with their friends stole butter, engaged in childhood pranks and fought with demons.
The more ‘confidential’ pastimes of meeting and dancing with the local girls or gopis of Vrindavan village, especially Radha, are also believed to have taken place here.
When was the mystery of Vrindavan unravelled?
It is believed that Vrindavan was not discovered in its ‘true sense’ until the 16th Century. In the year 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a Hindu monk visited Vrindavan and located the lost history of Vrindavan.
It is believed that by His divine spiritual power, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was able to relocate all the important places of Krishna’s pastimes in and around Vrindavana,as he wandered the various sacred forests in a spiritual trance of divine love.
Like any traditional holy place, Vrindavan boasts of a number of popular temples and shrines. Most notable among them are Madan Mohan temple, Banke Bihari temple, Radha Vallabh temple, Sri Radha Raman Mandir, Govind dev temple, Krishna Balarama temple and Radha Govinda temple.
A Goliath among Davids
The construction of Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple, however, is expected to tower over the ancient temples, while making a departure from the classical places of worship. At a staggering cost of Rs 300 crore, the temple will be one of the world’s most expensive temple built by ISKCON, more popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement.
Speaking to NewsGram on the ambitious project, Swami Arjun Nath Dasa, member of ISKCON said, “The temple is being built with the aim of establishing Vrindavan as the spiritual capital of India. The temple will have a footprint of about 5 acres and will rise to a mind-boggling height of about 700 feet or 70 floors. From the ground level, a capsule elevator will rise up through the temple core, taking visitors through different planetary systems in the universe as described in the Vedic literatures, through an immersive sound, light and diorama show. The capsule elevator will finally reach the visitors to the Viewing Gallery at 700 feet for a breathtaking panoramic view of Braj Mandal.”
“In order to recreate the reestablish the virgin beauty of Vrindavan, a look-alike of the verdant forests of Vrindavan will be recreated around this magnificent temple with varieties of lush vegetation, green pastures, elegant vistas of fruit bearing trees, flower laden creepers serenaded by bird songs, clear water lakes with lotuses and lilies and waterfalls that tumble from small artificial hillocks”, he said.
He also stated that everything will be recreated from descriptions in the Srimad Bhagavatam and other source books of Lord Sri Krishna – to transport the visitors to Krishna’s times in Vrindavan.
An eclectic concoction of serenity, entertainment and spiritual wisdom
On the uniqueness of Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple, Swami Arjuna Nath Dasa said, “The Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple offers something for everyone”:
While the Yamuna creek will provide a boating opportunity for the visitors and the Krishna Leela attractions in the forest will offer an entertaining experience for all the family members, the Bhagavad Gita Expo will ignite the minds and invigorate the intellect with the stupendous wisdom given by Lord Sri Krishna that forms the bedrock of the culture and the philosophy of life in India.
The Krishna Heritage Museum will showcase the rich heritage and artistic celebration of Lord Sri Krishna in diverse cultures of India, practiced and perfected over thousands of years.
There will be an indoor park that will permit visitors and devotees to immerse themselves in Krishna Consciousness through-out the year, irrespective of the sometimes hostile weather conditions of Vrindavan. The indoor park will house an expo to present the pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna, the life of Sri Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada, the founding member of ISKCON.
Maintaining the root-connect
The temple will also include a Braj Heritage Village to transport visitors back in time and space of Krishna. The India Heritage and Culture Expo will be planned as a walk through with the matic lighting and exhibits that highlight the legends from these epics and classics. The exhibits will display dolls in real life-size settings with light, sound, and visual effects.
In addition there will be audio-visual shows in small and medium-sized theatres. These exhibits and shows will communicate the timeless message of the classics of India in an entertaining and educative manner.
Serving the Gomata
More than 30 acres of land will be solely used to house a grand Goshala, built on the lines of a peacock feather. The concentric rings of beautiful green and blue hues forming around the deep dark blue nucleus of peacock’s eye will form the different zones of the goshala land.
An Oasis in the desert
With more and more people losing touch with their spiritual roots and the becoming increasingly disillusioned and disgruntled with the incessant onslaught of the material world, the construction of the Vrindavan Chandrodaya temple is bound to re-spiritualise the atmosphere of material pollution.