With Srila Prabhupada’s 12 temple vision for Delhi coming to life, devotees in the satellite city of Ghaziabad opened temple number seven. The Delhi area is one of the ripest areas in the world for reaching people – it has a population of 11.5 million in the city, and an extended metropolitan population of almost 22 million.
As the three-day installation and inauguration ceremony came to an end on February 17 – Nityananda’s appearance day – Ghaziabad devotees could finally breathe a sigh of contented accomplishment. And after spending over a decade developing their community, and three years constructing the temple, they deserved it.
The four-storey temple and fifteen-room guest house was built with assistance from the Arora family in London, who donated land in one of the most affluent areas of Uttar Pradesh. Built from pink Jaipur stone, and boasting ornately carved wooden altars, Italian marble floors, gold-leafed ceiling motifs, chandeliers, and a spiral staircase, it’s a perfect home for Jagannath, Lord of the Universe. Along with his siblings, Baladeva and Subhadra, He’s finally relaxing after traveling 11,000 km on Indian Ratha-Yatras throughout the years.
8,000 people welcomed the Lord to His new home, including devotees, eminent Indian leaders, VIPS, and locals. The Mayor of Ghaziabad showed his support by inaugurating a new public square outside the temple called “Hare Krishna Square,” located on “Bhaktivedanta Swami Road.” or “Hare Krishna Marg”.
The celebrations ended in suitably grand style, with a helicopter flying overhead and showering a torrent of rose petals onto the temple, Hare Krishna square, and the inspired crowd.
But even as the flowers showered down on them, Ghaziabad devotees were eying their next move. They were planning to focus on youth outreach, since the city of Ghaziabad was home to many of India’s top engineering colleges. And the new temple, with its BBT book store and large conference, seminar, and food halls, was the perfect place to launch a bright future.