ISKCON temple in Banjara Hills
ISKCON temple in Banjara Hills. The Hare Krishna Movement (HKM)-Hyderabad, famously known as ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), will finally begin the construction of the grand Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple on Road No 12, Banjara Hills, after facing controversies for nearly four years.
Bhoomi puja today for the construction of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple.
The Hare Krishna Movement (HKM)-Hyderabad, famously known as ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), will finally begin the construction of the grand Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple on Road No 12, Banjara Hills, after facing controversies for nearly four years.
The bhoomi puja for the ancient Swayambhu (self-manifested) Lakshmi Narasimha temple construction would be conducted today. Satya Gaura Chandra Dasa, president, HKM, said, “The existing Swayambhu Lakshmi Narasimha temple would be renovated and a ‘Ashtakonakruthi Mandap‘ would be carved out. The first floor of the temple, with a spacious Maha Mandap of about 18,000 square feet would house a magnificent deity of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy which would be installed after the construction is completed.”
Other attractions like the ‘Themed experience of Narasimha Lila’ and a huge ‘Naraimsha Kala Kshetra – Open Air Theatre’ and a Vedic samskara hall would be constructed as part of the grand project.
Controversy over land allotment
In 2010, the AP government issued a GO leasing out the temple to HKM. Out of the 2.24 acres of land allotted to the temple, 2.14 acre land was used to build the temple and the remaining plot was occupied by slum dwellers in NBT Colony. When the government allotted the land, the residents of the colony expressed grievance that the HKM authorities were forcefully evicting them from the colony.
In August 2012, about 150 residents, with the support of minister Danam Nagendar, accused the ISKCON authorities of conducting “anti-social activities” in the allotted 4.38 acre land. The residents also barged into the temple and demolished a pandal that was being erected by the ISKCON authorities for Janmashtami celebrations.
In the same year, Danam Nagender also alleged, “ISKCON members attempted to rape a minor girl in the locality. The locals have been informing me about the illegal activities going on here in the name of God.’’
Bolstered by the minister’s support, the local people thrashed a Hare Krishna member. Cases were lodged against the minister and four of his subordinates in Banjara Hills police station for the assault.
The locals didn’t relent and went a step further to file a petition against HKM in the AP High Court. However, the court rejected the petitions and directed the police to provide security for the Bhoomi Puja.
Gaura Chandra Dasa said, “A few people with vested interests are protesting against HKM. Once the temple construction begins many employment opportunities at various levels would come up and the first preference would be given to the basti people only. Many basti leaders and people have requested the Hare Krishna Movement to complete the Kalyana mandapam in the temple so that needy people can utilise the mandapam freely. This mandapam would be given to the underprivileged basti people free of cost for holding marriages. People can call up the temple manager and can book their slots well in advance.” “The Nitya Annadanam programme which is already operational is feeding about 150 poor people of the basti every day. Further we plan to conduct many educational and cultural programmes for the overall development of the children in the basti,” he added.
Referring to the hullabaloo created by the minister, Gaura Chandra Dasa said, “These leaders do not want any development of basti people who would be provided an opportunity to earn good money if a good temple comes up. They want the basti people to remain poor and dependent on them so that they can occupy more lands in the name of poor.”