The bhumipuja or ground-breaking ceremony of ISKCON Naperville, was held on May 21.
The temple is currently an old building that was acquired by ISKCON about seven years back. As the popularity of the temple grew in the area, the devotee and visitor base expanded considerably and the existing facilities were stretched to its limit, according to a press release.
It led to a plan for a major expansion of the temple. The ground-breaking ceremony marked the beginning of this project. ISKCON, founded by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, has temples all over the world numbering over 650 temples, 65 eco-friendly farms with 12 plus million followers. Naperville temple is one of the latest additions to this global community.
The event was a huge success attended by approximately 1,000 people, including ISKCON leaders, devotees, Greater Chicago residents, and various elected officials, including Naperville Mayor Steve Cherico.
The event included a special Vedic ceremony, including fire sacrifice, and speeches by prominent personalities followed by lunch. Mayor Steve Cherico has been very supportive of the temple and is excited about this project.
“The ISKCON temple brings a great element of diversity to the Naperville community” he said, in his speech at the event. “Programs like ISKCON are what makes Naperville a better place”.
ISKCON Naperville temple is currently involved in various community programs. One of ISKCON’s popular programs is instruction of the profound messages of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the greatest philosophical and religious dialogues known to man, a holy book of the vedic culture existing for thousands of years. Currently the temple offers this spiritual education for children and adults at the temple as well as in smaller personalized settings within the community known as Bhakti Vriksha programs.
Other popular programs include the vegetarian Prasadam (sanctified food) service which is a free Sunday feast offered to all visitors at the temple and it will be further expanded after the commercial kitchen is built in the new temple. The new temple will offer classes in devotional dance, music and art centered on Krishna. There are also plans to offer sessions in health and well-being, Yoga and meditation.
The total cost of the temple expansion is approximately $4 million, of which around $600,000 has been pledged so far. This will allow the project to be completed in phases.