Lord KRSNA gets a new home in holy city of Ujjain
The city of Ujjain stands gloriously among the sacred and holy cities of India Situated on the banks of the river Shipra, it is one of the four sites for the kumbhamela; Haridwar, Prayag, and Nasika are the other three. Millions of pilgrims take bath in the sacred waters of Shipra during the kumbhamela celebrations. Ancient Ujjain also enjoyed the reputation of a being a great seat of learning even as early as the Mahabharata period. It was here that young Krsna and Balarama, accepted Sandipani Muni as Their spiritual master and studied in his asrama. The asrama is now a reverential pilgrim site for devotees of the Lord. Apart from Vaisnavism, various cults and sects of Saivism, Jainism, and Buddhism have fond a niche in this city. Lord Siva, eternally resides here as Mahakalesvara, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. Ujjain abounds in temples, which form an integral part of the city and contribute to the continuity of its tradition and greatness. It enjoys a position of considerable importance in the field of Vedic astronomy according to which, the Tropic of Cancer passes through this city. Historically, Ujjain was ruled by the likes of the Vikramaditya and Ashoka. Kalidasa wrote his soul srirring poetry here.
A new landmark now adds to the spiritual culture of Ujjain the temple of Sri Sri Radha Madan-mohanji. Consisting of a guesthouse, Govinda's restaurant, asrama, and gurukula the temple stands on seven acres of land, and its construction was completed in a record-breaking time of ten months.
Some time back, in pursuance of the Mayapura Project (the world head quarters of ISKCON) Ambarisa Dasa (Alfred Ford, the great grand son of Henry Ford of Ford Motors) met the West Bengal government. The aim was to solicit state support for developing a spiritual city in Mayapura, which would not only be a pilgrimage site for the innumerable followers of Lord Caitanya, but also a beautiful tourist attraction, and source of employment for the local people. After the West Bengal government showed an acute lack of interest, various other states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, U.P., Rajasthan etc., came forward and offered land to ISKCON. "But when the Madhya Pradesh government volunteered," His Holiness Bhakti-caru Swami Maharaja explains," felt their gesture as genuine." The then M.P. chief minister Uma Bharti offered 300 acres of land for developing the spiritual city. When Bhakti-caru Swami Maharaja decided to build a temple, before taking on the massive project on the banks of the Shipra, the administration of Ujjain invited him to the holy city. "The District magistrate of Ujjain and Chief secretary, Shri Vivek Agarwal, offered us 4 acres of land in the most esteemed part of the city," explains Bhakti-diru Swami Maharaja. "Ujjain is a very holy city and Krsna and Balrama studied here, so we felt it to be the most suitable place for our temple."
7th Nov 2004: A temporary ISKCON temple was established in a community centre located in a prestigious part of city. Thousands of people including many dignitaries attended the first program. The first Sunday program had five hundred people attending and since then the number has steadily increased. Now the average Sunday feast crowd numbers from twelve to fifteen hundred devotees. A small gosala has been established with a few cows and calves that provide twenty litres of milk for the temple everyday. The temple has regular college and congregation preaching program along with book distribution, street hainama procession and prasadam distribution.
On 6th Feb 2005, the ground breaking ceremony took place and the foundation of the temple were laid. A nine hooded Deity of Ananta Sesa made of gold and precious gems was brought for the ceremony. Early in the morning, the Deity was taken to the main local temples where the local devotees showered flowers and enthusiastically welcomed the Lord. Later abhiseka and fire sacrifice were performed to sanctify the ground after which Ananta Sesa was placed in the foundation. Ananta Sesa, makes all arrangements for Radha Madanamohana, and on His lotus head, the temple resides.
MAKING OF A MASTERPIECE
"When I started the temple," Maharaja says, "I had no money at all. But I had faith that Krsna would provide." Soon support for the temple started pouring from around the world. Work began in first week of April 2005. At first foundations of building were established. Then using complex scaffolding the overall concrete structure of the temple was erected. Domes were the most challenging part of construction. First, they were shaped with a steel mesh and then concrete was poured over. After six months, the initial concrete work was complete. Then Bhakti-caru Swami Maharaja flew to Makarana to choose the high quality marble. Mr C. V. Singh provided same marble that was used to build the Taj Mahal. The most skilled artisans in Makarana then carved the marble, which would later form the temple exterior. The marble was then sent to Ujjain and the marble cladding work began.
24-carat gold leafing from London , Germany, and Jaipur were done on the altar, above the magnificent chandeliers, doors, and on top of domes. Often devotees would work together until early hours of morning to complete this task. Glass for the four massive chandeliers was imported from Egypt. From original moulds, talented artists sculpted moulds of the Pancatattva and Jaya and Vijaya. The ceiling boasts of intricate designs and exquisitely beautiful paintings. Temple doors are made of teak wood the best in India, and specialist craftsmen from Gujurat, who worked on ISKCON temples around the world, carved them.
Within a short span of ten months the temple was erected and Sri Sri Radha Madana-mohana were ready to move into Their new home. A three day installation festival was orgainised to welcome eight Deities: Gaura-Nitai, Krsna Balrama, Radha Madana-mohana with Lalita and Visakha sakhis.
lOth Feb 2006 Nityananda Trayodasi: As many as twenty two sannyasis leaders, and senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada and many other devotees from India, UK, South Africa, Mauritius, and rest of the world poured into Ujjain to witness the opening. Entire temple was bedecked with flowers. Students of Mayapura Gurukul Academy performed Vastuhoma to create auspicious atmosphere. The Deities arrived and in Their first darsana auspicious items were brought before Their Lordships. It was followed by elaborate abhiseka with milk, honey, fruit juices, clarified butter, and scented water proceeded by a fire sacrifice. Ecstatic kirtan of Hare Krsna mahamantra went on throughout the day. The atmosphere was so spiritually vibrant that many senior leaders commented that they felt at home just like as in Mayapura or Vrndavana . Probably the whole of Ujjain was present for the grand opening. Shri Ambarisa Dasa did the first arati of Their Lordships.
The next day many VIPs arrived for temple inauguration. Those present included the former Chief Minister of M.P., Shri Bababulal Gaur, Ambarisa Dasa, film actress Rani Mukherjee,and other dignatories including the Inspector General of Police, Minister of Education, Mayor of Indore, Secretary of Industry and Commerce etc. In the presentation ceremony, Ambarisa Dasa dedicated the temple to the people of Ujjain.
His Holiness Bhakti-caru Swami Maharaja honored those devotees who had made substantial contributions to the project. In his address, he said to the citizens of Ujjain, "This temple has been build not for us but for you." He also spoke briefly on Srila Prabhupada and added, I have not come to Ujjain to ask for anything. Rather, I have come he re to give the most precious thing in the world. I have come here to remind you of our relationship with our supreme father Sri krsna" Maharaja showered heaps of praise on the chief architects Shri Hitendra and Shri Jitendra Mehta and Pundarikaksa Govinda Dasa, management counselee of ISKCON Juhu, who coordinated proceedings with the architects. Maharaja called up Shri Omprakash Khatri, the contractor. Maharaja disclose that Omprakashji would never ask for any money. Only when Maharaja would ask him for the bill would he comply. He even told Maharaja,"Even if you have no money, still I will build this temple." The entire audience applauded on hearing about him, while he burst into tears onstage. Maharaja also glorified and offered gifts to many other devotees.
This huge festival was a major attraction and was telecasted on all major television channels and all the prominent newspapers gave it frontpage coverage.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that His name would spread in every town and village on earth. Fulfilling His desire and the desire of His pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON is trying to give people the knowledge of the soul. This knowledge frees us from the miseries of life and engages us in Lord's loving devotional service. Thus, we can perfect our present life and finally go back home, back to Godhead to our eternal father Lord Krsna, from where we all have come. Srivatsa Dasa, (Srinath Rao) is a disciple of His Holiness Bhakti-caru Swami Maharaja and serves at BHISMA department in ISKCON Juhu.