Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

ISKCON Naperville Installs New Deities and Inaugurates Their Temple
By Pallika-Sakhi Devi Dasi   |  Apr 29, 2023

Devotees gather in the new extensive temple room to participate in hours of uplifting kirtan and dance.

Festivities abounded in Naperville, Illinois as ISKCON devotees prepared to install the Deities of Sri Sri Radha Syamasundar and Lord Caitanya and to inaugurate a new temple building for Their Lordships. The event lasted three full days (April 20-22nd) and included a variety of auspicious celebrations, yajnas, and pujas. Sacred fire yajnas were held each morning, followed by roaring kirtans in the afternoons, and then followed by more yajnas and ceremonies into the night. 

The four-year building project, costing 6 million dollars to complete, was made possible by more than 500 families who contributed financial support. The temple president Premananda Devi Dasi described the new facility, “The temple has three floors, including a banquet hall, commercial kitchen, gift shop, residential quarters, a snack bar, conference rooms, and a temple hall six times larger than we had before. It’s a wonderful facility for our growing congregation.” 

The inaugural celebrations began Thursday morning with carrying Srila Prabhupada’s murti on a palanquin from the old temple (a small repurposed church the devotees have used for several years) to his vyasasana in the new temple. Over the course of three days, several thousand people attended the events. Among them were dignitaries, including two US Congressmen: Ro Khanna, a California Congressman with roots in Chicago, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a US Congressman from suburban Chicago. Additionally, a Member of the Illinois House of Representatives and Members of the County Commissioners and the Naperville City Council attended.

Radhanatha Swami, Candramouli Swami, Romapada Swami, Anuttama Dasa, Devakinandan Das, and others participate in the abhiseka ceremony

Special guests from the ISKCON community were also on hand, including Romapada Swami, Radhanatha Swami, and Candramouli Swami. Devakinandan Das, the GBC Global Minister of Fund Development, and Anuttama Dasa, the local GBC and Global Minister of Communications, were also present. Visiting temple presidents included Ananda Vrindavana Dasi, of the ISKCON of Washington, DC temple, which is opening its own new expansive temple building later this year. Hundreds of visiting devotees joined from neighboring and distant states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Missouri.

Raghunatha Prabhu, a priest who helped with the ceremonies, describes his experience, “It was so inspiring to see the enthusiasm that the Naperville devotees showed in serving Srila Prabhupada, Krishna, and others. It felt really nice to assist these enthusiastic devotees in making history by helping them open their beautiful temple.”

Temple President Premananda Dasi and her husband Narendra Das participate in some of the first day’s puja.

On Saturday, the festival centered on a beautiful abhiseka, or elaborate bathing ceremony for the Deities, including scented waters, gallons of ghee, yogurt and milk, and other auspicious substances. The final and more intimate ceremony of mantras and prayers for the Deities, the “prana pratishta,” was then conducted behind the altar curtains. It was followed by the culmination of the lengthy event–the first official unveiling of the Deities. As the curtains were opened to reveal Their Lordships on Their new altar, the waiting crowd of devotees responded with boisterous cheers of “Hari bol, Hari bol!”

Radha Shymasundar and Lord Chaitanya installed on Their new altar.

Anuttama Dasa described his experience, “There were so many smiling faces and teary eyes, you felt swept away by the grandeur of it all. When the curtains opened, and we could see the beautiful Deities on Their thrones, the room erupted into an ecstatic kirtan. Everyone was dancing and chanting with abandon.”

Looking forward, Premananda Dasi explained that the next expansion phase will be to demolish the old church/ temple that currently sits in front of the new temple to provide space for an elaborate entranceway and to erect three large Vedic-style domes above the temple structure. 

A special thanks to Anuttama Das, Uttamasloka Das Brahmachari, and Rama Kisora Dasa for the use of their photos. See more in the gallery below.

To learn more about the Naperville community, the ongoing development of the temple, and how you can help, please visit their website here

More Topic