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New ISKCON Temple in Orlando, Florida

By: ISKCON News Staff on May 29, 2008
Plenty of hard work and searching has paid off for ISKCON devotees in sunny Orlando, Florida with their recent acquisition of a large house and seven-acre property. Set on the east side of town, and well connected by main roads, the house has been converted into a temple with an ornate altar, large temple room, two kitchens, prasadam hall and three bedrooms for devotee accommodation.

Local devotees were joined by visitors from the US and abroad, members of the Indian community, and local students on Gaura Purnima for their first celebration at the new temple. As the life-size Prabhupada murti and beautiful three-foot marble deities of Nitai-Gaura Nataraja were installed, the community felt a thrill of acievement.

For over ten years, they had held their Sunday feasts and other events in rented Hindu temple halls.

But when Trivikrama Swami established Orlando as his base in 2003 and began to run a preaching center there, things began to change. Programs focused on the University of Central Florida – at over 45,000 students, the sixth largest university in the US – were very successful.

Soon a functional temple board, weekly Bhagavad-gita discussion programs at the preaching center, and a regular Sunday feast program followed.

But the devotees still felt that their efforts needed more of a boost. When the Prabhupada murti and Gaura Nitai deities arrived, they knew the answer was to have their own temple. And what better than one only a mile from the University campus?

“Orlando has very big potential for preaching, with a large population, many students, and thousands of tourists visiting every year,” says vice president Daruka Dasa. “So far that has attracted a string of VIP guests, including Bhakti Charu Swami, Jayadvaita Swami and Dhanavir Swami. And of course our kirtans are also a major attraction for both devotee visitors and the public – they’ve become well-known for being extremely lively and less limited timewise than in most ISKCON centers.”

The temple holds a full standard schedule of devotional daily programs, as well as Wednesday night Bhagavad-gita discussions, often well attended by students. Devotees also regularly distribute books on the University of Central Florida campus, and hold a Bhakti yoga club there on Mondays and Thursdays.

Now that they have a taste of how eager Orlando is for Krishna consciousness, the devotees aren’t about to slow down. “The current house is only a temporary temple,” says Daruka. “We have plans underway to build a beautiful Vedic-style temple with a Govinda’s restaurant, gift shop, guest house and cultural hall.”
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[ florida ] [ orlando ] [ temples ] [ usa ]
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