Published on September 12th, 2021 | by Madhudvisa dasa

Durban “Temple of Understanding” Opening — Sri Sri Radhanatha — ISKCON South Africa — 1080p HD

Enjoy the grand opening festival of Durban, South Africa’s fabulous “Temple of Understanding”. Now digitally remastered in 1080p HD video!

Sri Sri Radhanatha Temple of Understanding was opened in the 1980s. It was constructed by the South African ISKCON devotees on the desire of Srila Prabhupada that a temple be constructed there.

The Durban municipal authorities were very impressed with ISKCON’s submission and plans for the “Temple of Understanding” so they offered the devotees the best piece of land available in a very prominent position.

The temple was constructed and the grand opening ceremony was a very joyous and festive occasion centered around the theme of unity and peace.

The dignitaries included leaders of the African nation and the whole program was very inclusive, positive and hopeful.

A key speaker was Bhakti Tirtha Swami, a black American ISKCON sanyasi, who, in his earlier life, was a part of the black revolutionary movement in the USA.

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The Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple of Understanding (Hare Krishna Temple) places the bustling suburb of Chatsworth on the map as a tourist destination. Situated approximately 20km south of the Durban City Centre, its three domes of white and gold rises above a dazzling octagonal roof. The temple has been acclaimed as an architectural masterpiece – a spiritual wonderland.

Although, designed and constructed in the 1980’s, the Temple of Understanding’s design is a combination of the traditional, contemporary and futuristic; and simultaneously a fusion of concepts showcasing “east meets west”.

The ancient “vastu purusha mandala” formula is imbibed in the Temple of Understanding’s geometrical lay-out with shapes such as circles, triangles, squares and octagons, holding great spiritual symbolism and philosophical meaning enhanced by its unique setting in the midst of a moat of water and water features, surrounded by a sprawling luscious lotus shaped garden.

In 1975 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), on his only visit to South Africa, instructed his disciples to build a temple. Taking Srila Prabhupada’s instruction seriously, a dedicated team of devotees worked tirelessly and in the face of many formidable challenges, including the reigning government’s apartheid policies.

With a deep desire to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s order, the devotees persevered and sought out the best materials for use in the construction.

Marble tiles where shipped in from Portugal and oak wood from Japan.

Devotees formed their own construction company and used their talents and expertise to make the design a reality, engaging in every aspect of construction – from excavation, brick-laying, plastering, tiling, painting to mirror work, intricate carvings and gold-leafing. A team of devotees crossed the length and breadth of South Africa to collect funds for the construction. Finally, the resilient team were successful when the doors of the Hare Krishna Temple were officially opened to the public on the weekend of 18-20 October 1985.

This temple has earned the reputation of being the most beautiful on the African continent. The Sri Sri Radhanatha Temple remains a spiritual oasis, a retreat for those wanting to understand their purpose in life, a sanctuary from material chaos and a haven to society. Since its opening over 2.5 million guests have passed through its doors. It has also become renowned for the sumptuous vegetarian meals served at the ground floor, Govinda’s restaurant and take-away.

The Temple worship commences at 4.30am every morning and ends at 8.45pm nightly. There are six arati ceremonies and offerings presented to the presiding deities, Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Radhanath, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Giriraj Govardhan each day. Every Sunday afternoon, commencing at 4pm a special programme is held consisting of arati, guru-puja, a discourse from Bhagavad-gita As It Is, questions and answers, cultural entertainment followed by a traditional ISKCON love feast. Entrance is open to all and admission is free to the temple and all festivals.

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

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