Devotees in Santo Domingo, the capital of Caribbean island nation the Dominican Republic, have launched a fundraising campaign to build a new temple for Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.
ISKCON was established in the Dominican Republic nearly 50 years ago, and Gaura Nitai have been the presiding Deities in Santo Domingo ever since. But the current temple is a leased three-bedroom house, located across a bridge in the Eastern part of the capital, making it less accessible; so the community has long desired a new home for Their Lordships.
Now, with new energy flowing, devotees headed by temple president Kishora Gauranga Das have decided to make a real effort to collect donations internationally and make their dream a reality.
“Srila Prabhupada said that Deities should be installed in Their own property,” says Ekendra Das, who is heading up the fundraising campaign with several others. “And what’s more, the community is growing, as are our plans. We think that if we have a properly established temple, in a more central location, our efforts will be more lasting, and everybody will feel more committed.”
Donations have started coming in from Puerto Rico, Peru, and the United States for the new temple, which is set to cost $700,000. The custom-built Mandir has already been designed, and will include a beautiful temple room for Sri Sri Gaura Nitai and Srila Prabhupada, men’s and women’s ashram accommodations, a large kitchen for prasadam preparation, a new Govinda’s restaurant, a gift store, a library for Krishna conscious literature, and a video room to screen spiritual videos.
Devotees hope to have it built within two years at the latest; dependent, of course, on donations.
ISKCON of the Dominican Republic already has a number of current outreach efforts that will continue on at the new temple. Although a small island, the country holds two Rathayatra festivals per year – one in Santo Domingo, and one in Santiago, its second largest city. Devotees also distribute prasadam to those in need once a week, go on Harinama at least once a month, and have a program in which they donate Srila Prabhupada’s books to public and college libraries. There are also weekly Sunday feasts, and daily Zoom classes by learned speakers for Spanish-speakers around the world.
Future plans for the new temple include the new Govinda’s restaurant; a radio station which will broadcast devotional music, lectures and interviews; and the creation of the Conciencia Feliz (“Happy Consciousness”) Foundation, which will support further distribution of prasadam and Prabhupada’s books.
“I think every day there's more and more of a need for Krishna Consciousness in society, and the Dominican Republic is no different,” says Ekendra.
After nearly fifty years, he explains, devotees are very excited about the prospect of a new temple. “We’re looking forward to the moment when we open our doors for the first time, welcome all the devotees, and give Sri Sri Gaura Nitai a new permanent home,” he says. “And that excitement is not only amongst devotees in the Dominican Republic – devotees in other countries like Puerto Rico, Peru, Argentina, and the United States also feel our enthusiasm, and share it with us.”
To help build the new temple in the Dominican Republic, please donate via PayPal or bank transfer here: https://iskconsd.com/[ dominican-republic ] [ fundraising ] [ new temple ]