Andhra Pradesh

ISKCON project caught in a bind

Sri Vennamuddha Krishnaswamy temple in Chengiskhanpet village of Yadlapadu mandal in Guntur district near which ISKCON is planning to build a Rs. 100-crore golden temple .- PHOTO: T. Vijaya Kumar

Sri Vennamuddha Krishnaswamy temple in Chengiskhanpet village of Yadlapadu mandal in Guntur district near which ISKCON is planning to build a Rs. 100-crore golden temple .- PHOTO: T. Vijaya Kumar

ith just weeks to go for the bhoomi pooja for the lavish Krishna temple proposed to be built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) near the Kondaveedu fort in Guntur, there appears to be confusion over its exact location. ISKCON is planning to build a Rs 100 crore golden temple as part of the Kondaveedu Spiritual Heritage Project near the 14th century Kondaveedu fort, once the bastion of Reddy kings. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to be present for the bhoomi pooja on October 22. While representatives of ISKCON have urged the local administration to allot land adjacent to the 18th century Sri Vennamuddha Krishnaswamy Temple in Chengiskhanpet village, all that it has got are bits of land in different survey numbers around the village.

The Endowment Department allotted ISKCON 16.88 acres in survey number 279, 4.05 acres in survey number 353, 22.95 acres in survey number 107 in Kondaveedu village, 18.40 acres in survey number 145 in Kondaveedu village and 18.68 acres in survey number 158.

There is 18.50 acres of land adjacent to the temple in survey number 346 but it has been encroached, and some of it is caught in legal wrangles. Local land owners say they are ready to relocate provided the government gives them alternative house sites. “We have been living here for 100 years. We do not have any objection to moving, but where will we go without proper houses,’’ said a local man, Suda Parvatheswara Rao.

It was in 2007 that ISKCON scouted the area for its grand temple. They approached the then endowments minister Gade Venkat Minister in 2009, seeking 150 acres. The Revenue Department identified 56 acres adjacent to the temple but with most of the land caught in legal wrangles, ISKCON was given bits and pieces of land around the village.

“We had plans to develop the existing temple and the surrounding area into a beautiful temple as part of the Kondaveedu Spiritual Heritage Project for which we prepared an estimate of about Rs.100 crore. But now we have been given bits of land in five survey numbers,’’ Satya Gopinath Das, ISKCON’s director of the project, told The Hindu on Tuesday.

With the land of its choice caught up in a legal logjam, ISKCON is considering the prospect of shifting the idol of Sri Vennamuddha Krishnaswamy to the proposed temple, which is likely to be built in survey number 279.

We have been living here for 100 years. We do not have any objection to moving, but where will we go without proper houses

- Suda Parvatheswara Rao,a resident of Chengiskhanpet


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2022 4:41:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/iskcon-project-caught-in-a-bind/article7703966.ece