Devotees are still rebuilding their temple complex in the city of Visakhapatnam after Cyclonic Storm Hudhud ravaged it back in October.
The cyclone blew through the province of Andhra Pradesh on India’s East Coast at speeds of 109 mph, causing $11 billion USD in damage and killing over 100 people.
Fortunately, it spared the devotees and the Deities at ISKCON Visakhapatnam, but destroyed the community’s gift shop, dioramas, temple shed, and goshala (cow shelter). It also caused extensive damage to the temple hall, kitchen, book warehouse, ayurvedic clinic, guest house, water tank, and air conditioning and electrical systems.
The goshalla before the storm
The devotees have just managed to rebuild the goshala – the cows stayed in a garden behind the guest house while it was being fixed, and are now back in their home. Work on the goshala’s water system is still in progress.
The temple shed has been mostly repaired, with a new drop ceiling. Painting work is still underway. “After that, we will be doing electrical work,” says president Samba Das. “There is also still debris from the broken shed on the site.”
The temple room after
The Deities of Sri Sri Radha Damodar, Jagannath Baladeva Subhadra, and Laksmi Nrismha have not been affected in any way, and remain on Their original altar, although the arch in front of the altar was cracked.
Devotees are still residing in the damaged guest house, while the brahmachari ashram has not yet been repaired either.
Repairs are still to be done on parts of the temple, kitchens, book warehouse and complex boundary walls. Books stored for distribution have been lost, and air conditioning, electrical systems, kitchen equipment, and windows need to be fixed.
“We would have tried to restore everything faster, but it was very difficult and expensive to get any labor after Hudhud,” says Samba.
Despite all the damage and of course a drop in attendance, ISKCON Visakhapatnam has continued all its programs without cessation, even celebrating Govardhana Puja in the broken Goshala to the best of their ability. Devotees have also helped their neighbors by distributing hot kichari to cyclone victims.
“The devotees at the temple and the congregation were shocked initially, but now with the passing of time everybody is pacified, and takes this incident more as a lesson of how this world is temporary,” says Samba.
So far, ISKCON Visakhapatnam has only raised 11 lakhs (1,100,000 rupees) of the 55 lakhs (5,500,000 rupees) it requires to repair the property.
To help the devotees rebuild, please donate by online transfer to the following account:
Account name:ISKCON Visakhapatnam
Bank name:INDIAN OVERSEAS BANK
Alternatively, please mail a check to: ISKCON, Hare Krishna Land, Sagarnagar, Visakhapatnam-45, Andhra Pradesh.
For more information, contact:
Persons in the U.S. may transfer to the following account:
Rasesa Govinda Das (Ravi Kishor Gandi)
Last name: Gandi
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org