The birthplace of Srila Prabhupada at Tollygunge, Kolkata, is now under the ownership of ISKCON. After toiling for several decades, the devotees of ISKCON Kolkata have achieved something commendable to make as an offering to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada on his 125th birth anniversary: August 31st, 2021. A live-streamed festival will take place on that day and all are encouraged to watch and participate.
On the 11th of August, Vice President of ISKCON Kolkata, Radharaman Das, declared that Srila Prabhupada’s birthplace is now acquired.
There had been 17 tenants occupying the land. After several years of effort, they have been able to get a loan of one crore Rupees (135,000 USD) to pay the previous tenants to become the owners of the land. With the help of devotees and different ISKCON centers in India, who collected about Rs 43.5 lacs Rupees (59,000 USD), alongside the ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner’s (GBC) contribution of 60,000 USD to the project, and a bank loan, ISKCON Kolkata was able to facilitate that ISKCON becomes the proprietors of the land and the relocation of the tenants.
In 2011 ISKCON had acquired four very small rooms that were built under the jackfruit tree, due to the contributions of Radhanath Swami. However, the entire 4-acre property has been under “Thika Tenancy” making it complicated to gain ownership. Thika Tenancy is a legal provision in West Bengal in which the government is the owner of the land and all the Thika Tenants pay rent to the Government, and all the “Bharatiyas” or sub-tenants pay rent to the Thika tenant.
The Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal Srimati Mamata Bandyopadhyay had requested to transfer the land to ISKCON’s name and requested ISKCON to pay all the sub-tenants and the main tenant and then the Government would hand over the land to ISKCON. That has now been done.
As of now, the construction of a 260 feet boundary wall around the property has begun. The plan is to complete the front areas around the jackfruit tree, where Srila Prabhupada took birth, first. On 31st August, they will install the four cornerstones. Currently, in Jaipur, Prabhupada’s lotus feet are being built with marble. This temple is planned on being around 1,800 square feet in size and completed before the 31st of August. The workers are currently working around the clock to meet that deadline.
Further construction would ensue, later on, to build a magnificent replica of Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi temple in Vrindavan with his life-seized murti. In this phase of work, they also wish to acquire the nearby land to secure a total land area of about 2 acres. On 10th of the August, the Chief Minister of West Bengal officially declared that the land would belong to ISKCON, provided they get the legal documents ready before the 31st.
The birthplace happens to be 100 meters away from Srila Prabhupada’s favorite Deities, Sri Sri Radha Madanmohanji and Sri Sri Radha Govindaji. The Ganges flows nearby the birthplace. They are planning to acquire and restore a nearby pond as well. While digging the ground, they discovered the presence of soil similar to that found in Vrajabhumi, yellowish and powdery, which is found nowhere in Bengal. This soil has touched the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. They would raise the soil by mixing it with that from the Yamuna, Ganga to bring it up to three feet height.
This extraordinary accomplishment would never be possible with the sleepless nights and unimaginable efforts from various devotees. They extend their gratitude to the GBC, His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, His Holiness Sivaram Swami, His Holiness Niranjana Swami, His Grace Gauranga Prabhu, His Grace Braj Hari Prabhu, and the family of late Srinathji Prabhu for their generous donations to make it up to a sum of 106.25 lacs. ISKCON Pune has promised to donate Rs. 7.5 lacs.
The program on the 125th birth anniversary will be broadcasted directly from his birthplace from 3 PM IST on 31st of August at the official YouTube channel of ISKCON Kolkata. At 4 PM, the installation ceremony will begin followed by various ISKCON leader’s addresses. Devotees are requested to donate for the future temple to ISKCON Kolkata.
Watch online here: https://www.youtube.com/c/iskconkolkataofficial
How to DONATE for the new temple construction:
Indian citizens can donate here: International Society For Krishna Consciousness Kolkata
Bank : RBL Bank
Account No: 309002157355
IFSC code: RATN0000167
Branch : JL Nehru Road Kolkata
WhatsApp number : +91 -9811237146
Everyone else can email ISKCON Kolkata: firstname.lastname@example.org for FCRA account details for donations or WhatsApp: +91 -9811237146
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Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium