Sri Sri Radha Govinda of ISKCON Berhampur
Sri Sri Rama Govinda Temple, Berhampur, Orissa, is a long cherished project of His Divine Grace Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja.
Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja wanted to start ISKCON Berhampur as an offering for the pleasure of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the founder acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciouness (ISKCON).
Sri Sri Rama Laksman Sita Devi and Sri Hanumanji and Sri Sri Radha Govinda and Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu of ISKCON Berhampur
The presiding Archa Vigrahas of Their Lordships Sri Sri Rama, Laksman, Sita Devi and Sri Hanumanji as well as Sri Sri Radha Govindaji and Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu will be installed after the completion of the temple. The Lordships above in this photo have been recently installed as the Vijaya Vigrahas for the temple.
The idea of opening a center in Berhampur, Orissa came to the mind of His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Swami Maharaja in 1995 during a meeting with Srijukta Shyam Babu Patra and his wife Srimati P. Rama Devi both native to Berhampur, Orissa region. They wanted to donate a piece of land in their possession to His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja for the purpose of building a beautiful temple for Sri Sri Rama, Laksaman, Sita Devi and Sri Hanumanji and Sri Sri Radha Govinda Jiu and Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu. His Divine Grace whole hearted accepted the proposal as fulfilling one of his instructions from his spiritual master His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada to spreach Krsna Consciousness throughout Orissa. Berhampur is in the south-west region of Orissa where no ISKCON temple had been established. Srila Prabhupada's books had reached there through sankirtan parties but there was no established temple. Thus the ISKCON Berhampur project began in 1995 and has since been under the direction and supervision of HG Caitanya Candra Prabhu, a disciple of His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja and temple president of Sri Sri Radha Gopaljiu ISKCON Gadei Giri temple.
Srila Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja spoke a good-will message at the installation ceremony:
"We are extremely pleased to announce that Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja wanted to start an ISKCON center in Berhampur as an offering to Srila Prabhupada's mission. Today we are very fortunate to conduct the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of the Sri Sri Rama Govinda Mandir as well as the installation of Vijaya Vigraha's of Sri Sri Rama Laksaman Sita Devi and Hanumanji and Sri Sri Radha Govindajiu on the Pusya Purnima day, the 25th January, 2005. Sri Rama Govinda Mandir will be a cultural and spiritual center and we humble request our local ISKCON life memebers and wel-wishers to support this important project. Many sincere souls who will visit the center will be pleased by Their Lordships. We humbly pray that the project will be pleasing to Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja and His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness."
HG Caitanya Candra Prabhu spoke about the project's inception at the installation ceremony as follows:
"I remember, in the year 1995 the donor of the land Sri Shyam Babu Patra (now Sri Gour Shyam Das) came to Srila Gurudev and expressed his desire to donate this land for making a temple for his Ista Deva Sri Rama Chandraji. But our Gurudeva said to him that he is the worshiper of Sri Sri Radha Govindaji. If he will donate 50% of the costs for the temple project then he would take up this project and install Sri Sri Ram, Laxman, Sita Devi and Hanuman in one altar and Sri Sri Radha Govinda and Sriman Gouranga Mahabrabhu in another altar. Regarding making the two altars for Sri Vigrahas, Shyam babu agreed. The 50% contribution, he said that he is ready to give all his properties to Srila Gurudeva and Gurudeva should take up this project very soon. Then Gurudeva pointed out of this self [HG Caitanya Candra Prabhu] to take up this project. The land was surveyed by our God-brothers Patitapavan Prabhu and Gokulananda Prabhu and they found it feasible, only one road was to be made available. Unfortunately, before registration of the land in favour of ISKCON Srila Gurudeva physically left. So to keep up his words, this fallen self went on doing the necessary documentation and took all possible steps to make this temple project a fullfledged ISKCON project. After so many difficulties and efforts the project is taking shape now. But more remains to be done. We don’t know how we will be able to complete the project. It all depends on the mercy of Sri Sri Guru and Gouranga. We are sure that a pure Vaishnava’s statement will come true. Though money is having a vital role to play in completion of this project, but not only money will not bring all success and make Srila Gurudeva and Sri GovindaJiu happy. What is needed to make Their Lordships and the Vaisnavas happy is to render seva for their pleasure without self interest."
The land is nicely situated next to the national highway, and in the city of Berhampur, in the south-west region of the state of Orissa. The temple has been designed to be the most attractive spiritual and cultural center of ISKCON to fulfill the spiritual needs of the south-west region of Orissa and the northern part of Andhra Pradesh, the neighbouring state to the south. It is located 10km from the Berhampur railway station and 177 km from the Bhubaneswar airport. There are many colleges and a universities close by to the temple giving the opportunity for darsan of Sri Sri Radha Govinda to many of the youth in the area.
The foundation of the new temple is already laid and construction is beginning.
Front gate to the ISKCON Berhampur temple
The Vijaya Vigrahas have been installed on the auspicious day of Pusya Purnima, the 25th January, 2005 by His Holiness Sri Srimad bhakti Swarupa Damodara Swami Maharaja who was a Governing Body Commissioner of ISKCON.
Installation of Sri Sri Rama Laksaman Sita Devi and Sri Hanumanji
Installation of Sri Sri Radha Govinda
Installation festival, 25th January, 2005
Kirtan party during the installtion fesival
Hundreds of local people and devotees visit regularly, especialy on Sunday and festival days for darshan of the Lordships, Krishna-katha, bhajan and prasada. This photo has been taken on the veranda of the temporary temple building.
ISKCON Berhampur compound
ISKCON Berhmapur temple office.
Temple well water - currently in use.
The building in the background is now in use as the main Temple, bramacari asrama, books storage and kitchen. In the foreground: most of the foundation for the pillars for the new temple have been contructed.
ISKCON Berhampur guesthouse under construction.
The driveway into the ISKCON Berhmapur compound.
On the side of the driveway into the temple compound is this small Hanuman Temple (which has been built by the donor of the land)
Sri Hanumanji of ISKCON Berhampur
Cows and calfs give milk daily for Sri Sri Radha Govinda