The holy Vaikunta Ekadashi day on 8th January 2017 was a memorable one for me. I happened to visit the magnificent ISKCON temple in Bengaluru and felt I was literally going through the Vaikunt dwar. This holy day is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu. The Vaikunt dwar or the special north side entrance of the temple is opened on just this particular day in a year. The belief is that anyone who goes through this entrance reaches the abode of Vishnu. Being a special day, the temple was crowded but I enjoyed being in the midst of so much spiritual vibration.
The ISKCON temple which is on top of a hill in the heart of the city was opened in 1997 and there are so many deities as we ascend the steps of the temple. You can also have a wonderful view of the city from atop the hill. There is a shrine for Lord Balaji. It is so beautiful that I was transported to Tirupati straightaway. There is another shrine dedicated to Nitai and Gauranga. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known as Gauranga because of the beautiful golden complexion he had. He is believed to have been an avatar of Lord Krishna himself. The Kirtan tradition began with Chaitanya and this became an important hallmark of the Bhakti movement in India. Nitai is Nityananda Prabhu who appeared at the same time as Gauranga and it is believed that he is an incarnation of Balarama. Together these two great men helped in the spread of Vaishnava Sampradaya in this country.
And of course, as in all ISKCON temples, there is the main shrine with Radharani and Krishnachandra decked in all finery as befits the lord of the universe and his consort. Then there are idols of Krishna and Balarama and this reminded me of their childhood days in Brindavan. A shrine dedicated to Prahlada and Narasimha is also there in the temple. Lord Vishnu took this ferocious avatar to save his child devotee Prahlad. You can read in detail about these legends in my website www.indianscriptures.com
After worshipping at the altar of Hanuman and Garuda, I completed my visit to this holy shrine and returned full of memories.