Grand opening of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple to draw international devotees

The Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple of Devotion and Understanding in Seberang Jaya.

The Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple of Devotion and Understanding in Seberang Jaya.

BUTTERWORTH: HARE Krishna devotees from all over the world are expected to converge at Seberang Jaya's 'Streets of Harmony' Friday for the opening of the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple of Devotion and Understanding.

Ceremonies will begin at 6am with 15 teachers and students from the International School of Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) headquarters from Mayapur, West Bengal, India, performing rituals at the three-storey octagonal-shaped temple.

ISKCON national general-secretary Simheswara Dasa said fire sacrifices and prayers would go on for three hours, to be followed by the bathing ceremony of Lord Krishna and the sanctifying of the three chakras.

"The opening of the building, touted as the grandest Krishna temple in the country, is an auspicious event and we have ISKCON members from all over the world coming to witness the ceremony and take part in the festivities," said Simheswara to newsmen during a tour of the temple at Seberang Jaya.

Devotees from India, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina are expected for the opening of the RM7mil temple.

Work on building the temple started in 2009.

"His Divine Grace AC Bhaktive-ndanta Swami Prabhupada's vision over 40 years ago to have the temple built here has finally become a reality," said Simheswara.

"What makes this temple special is the 16 ornate pavilions with three main Puti style towers and two glass skylight pyramidal domes in the centre of the temple roof," he said.

There are other buildings on the temple grounds. One is the Bhaktivendanta Cultural Centre that organises Food-For-Life distribution programmes and a variety of community, welfare and religious services.

Another is the Bhaktivedanta Multi-Purpose and Cultural Hall, which is a four-storey building with a 5,000 sq ft hall and performance stage with a viewing gallery at the mezzanine floor.

Workers and volunteers are busy with last-minute details for the preparatory prayer ceremony which begins today.

Suntharam working on his mural.

Volunteer, Suntharam Muniandy, 34, a teacher in a private centre, was seen putting the finishing touches on a '3D' mural that he has been working on the last three months.

"It's called the 'Dancing of Prabhupada' depicting Prabhupada with devotees chanting and dancing. I hope to finish this by today," Suntharam said.

Describing himself as a street artist, Suntharam said he has never done any murals in Malaysia and this would be the first one and said he was honoured to be part of the celebration.

More than 15,000 devotees and tourists are expected for the opening, which would end at 1pm followed by a vegetarian lunch.