Bangalore’s ISKCON Temple is one of the largest ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temples in the world. Presiding over the city from atop Hare Krishna Hill, this massive complex was conceived to promote traditional Vedic cultural and spiritual learning. An architectural marvel, this place is bound to provide a fascinating experience regardless of your religious persuasion.
Located about 10 kilometres from the centre of the city, the temples within this celebrated complex are dedicated to various deities. Set on 7 beautifully maintained acres, the central glass and stone structure boasts an incredible 17-metre-high gold-plated flagpole – one of the tallest in Asia. The interior is decorated by a dazzling array of both traditional and modern displays, and installations include intricate wood carvings and beautifully painted ceilings. Outside, the complex has its own marketplace, with vendors selling everything from religious books to branded merchandise, including jewellery, fabrics, handicrafts, pencils and bags. There’s a high-quality vegetarian restaurant open to visitors, along with a good range of casual street-food stalls that offer authentic Indian snacks. Look out for samosas, pakora and ladoo (a fried dessert made from flour, ground coconut and sugar) along with milkshakes and sweet lassi.
The temple hosts a range of religious festivals and events that run throughout the year, with one of the most popular being the month-long Festival of Lights (Deepotsava). If you’re visiting Bangalore from late October to late November, be sure to include a visit to the festival in your itinerary. You won’t want to miss the magnificent sight of the temple and its altars lit up by thousands of traditional ghee lamps. You may even want to get involved – tradition says that offering a lamp during the festival grants unlimited prosperity, beauty and wealth.
Visitors are welcome to enter the complex, but it’s worth noting that you must remove your shoes and wash your feet before entering. The temple is open daily, with darshan (worship) times running from 4:15am to 5am, 7:15am to 1pm, and 4:15pm to 8:20pm.