The Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple (Hare Krishna Temple) is interesting architecturally as well as being a fascinating place to learn about this mystical sect of Hinduism. Opened in 1985, its three domes of white and gold rise above a dazzling octagonal roof. Its design is a combination of the traditional, contemporary and futuristic; and simultaneously a fusion of concepts showcasing “east meets west”. There is a geometrical lay-out with circles, triangles, squares and octagons, holding spiritual symbolism. It is set in a moat of water surrounded by a lotus shaped garden.
Built by devotees who formed their own construction company, literally doing everything from brick laying to carvings and gold-leafing. They collected the funds and used the best materials… marble tiles from Portugal and oak wood from Japan. It is a sumptuous feast for the senses with statues, gold leaf and glass gleaming.`
If you have gone to the temple independently, you will find a willing guide to explain the frescoes and symbols. You will miss a lot if you just walk around.
Krishna, one of the most widely revered and popular of all Indian divinities, is worshiped as the eighth incarnation (avatar) of the Hindu god Vishnu. Hare Krishnas believe that all deities are simply various manifestations of the one supreme god, Vishnu or Krishna. They also believe that the supreme God is known by other names, such as Yahweh and Allah and so all are welcome to visit. Krishna has an “eternal consort” named Srimati Radharani; together, Krishna and Radharani comprise the “Divine Couple.” Hare Krishnas follow the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu Scripture, as well as the doctrines of reincarnation and karma. One’s works, good and bad, are judged after death. If good, one continues to be reincarnated into higher life forms; if deeds are bad, one will become a lower life form. When one’s good deeds have counter balanced the bad, then the cycles of rebirth stop as this is oneness with Krishna.
Hare Krishnas chant holy names helped by a mala, or rosary of 108 beads. Eating meat is disallowed, as is dining in restaurants, due to the belief that food retains the consciousness of the cook. If the cook was in a bad mood, you will be too! They engage in dancing, evangelism, temple worship and ritualistic bathing, dressing, feeding and showering of gifts on the deity as well as a monastic-style of living.
After the visit, join the devotees for a vegetarian meal served on the ground floor in the well respected Govinda’s restaurant and take-away.