Temple where Muslims artisans worked to be opened in Patna on May 3
The sprawling temple of Lord Krishna in Patna, where around 200 Muslim artisans from Rajasthan worked day and night for almost five years to give it the finishing touch, will be thrown open to the public on May 3, said Devki Nandan Das, the zonal secretary of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on Tuesday.
PATNA: The sprawling temple of Lord Krishna in Patna, where around 200 Muslim artisans from Rajasthan worked day and night for almost five years to give it the finishing touch, will be thrown open to the public on May 3, said Devki Nandan Das, the zonal secretary of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on Tuesday.
The uniqueness of the temple is the fine carving on stone by the Muslim artisans, who belong to the same clan, which worked at Agra’s Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders in the world. Also, the marble at the temple is from Rajasthan’s Makrana, used to build the Taj Mahal, said Das.
Calcitic in nature, Makrana marble is regarded as the oldest and of the finest quality and requires specialised craftsmanship.
“The Muslim artisans engaged in the construction were involved in cutting, carving, designing, and pasting of marble and sandstone at our temple,” said Nand Gopal Das, the local spokesperson of the ISKCON temple.
“In perfect religious harmony, the Muslim sculptors would offer namaaz at our temple during their stay of almost five years, while they worked on the stones. Contractor Raju Khan’s team has now moved to work on a temple project in Dubai,” added Das.
Almost 40% of the total cost of construction was used in its finishing, which included payment to the Muslim artisans for their craftsmanship, said Srikrishna Kripa Das, president of ISKCON, Patna Chapter.
The 108-feet tall earthquake-resistant temple has 84 pillars, five metres apart, like the ones at Dwarka and Gokul. “The 84 pillars symbolise the 84 lakh creatures,” said Das.
It has taken almost 15 years for the completion of the project after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar attended the sod-turning ceremony in July 2007.
The inflation in the last 15 years and more recently the Covid pandemic delayed the project, said Kripa Das.
“From an initial budget of ₹51 crores, it led to almost 100% cost escalation, and we ran short of funds, delaying the execution of the project. It was due to the tireless efforts of the LN Poddar, the chairman of our temple construction committee, we could mobilise around ₹100 crore, generated through public donation for the construction of the temple,” said Das.
The three-storied temple has as many multi-purpose halls on each floor, including an auditorium, where at least 1,000 devotees can partake ‘prasad’ (God’s offering), besides the sanctum sanctorum, which can accommodate 5,000 people; a restaurant where “Karma-free food” (dishes prepared without onion and garlic) will be served, and a 70-room guest house in the backyard for ISKCON life members.
Spread over almost 3 acres (1,30,680 sq ft), this is the first such temple in Bihar and Jharkhand. The ISKCON, with international footprints, has around 100 temples in India.
“The temple in Patna will be among the top 10 in ISKCON’s chain of temples in India. The upcoming temple in Mayapur (West Bengal), which will be the world’s biggest on 700-acre land of which 50-acre is for the temple, is expected to be complete in 2024,” said the zonal secretary.