Devotees converged on the city of Salem in Tamil Nadu, South India this January 14th to attend at the site of a planned huge new ISKCON temple.
The Bhumi Puja—ritual worship of the earth upon which the temple will be built—was held on the auspicious occasion of Makara Sankranti, celebrated as New Year’s Day throughout Tamil Nadu.
The Puja, which lasted from 6:00 AM till 9:00 AM, was conducted by Mayapur’s Bhaktivedanta Academy Co-Director Priti Vardhana Dasa. Five Academy students assisted him with the rituals, which included homa, abhisheka, and the installation of a deity of Ananta Sesha, one of Lord Vishnu’s primary expansions.
A large number of devotees from surrounding areas attended the function, including senior devotees Bhakti Vikas Swami and Tamil Nadu Zonal Secretary Bhakti Vinoda Swami. Also present were ISKCON Baroda temple president Basu Ghosh Das, ISKCON Vellore temple president Akinchana Krishna Das, and ISKCON Salem Manager Gokul Chandra Dasa.
ISKCON plans to begin construction of the new temple very soon in Salem, a district headquarters city located two hundred kilometers Southeast of Bangalore.
The grand Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda temple will be constructed entirely from natural and eco-friendly materials, specifically Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSB) and “rammed earth.” It is expected to cost approximately three crore and fifty lakhs rupees, or 700,000 US Dollars.
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