Thursday, August 8, 2013

ISKCON Temple in Kannur, Kerala

Tucked away in a narrow by lane of Moopanpara, Chirakkal in Kannur is ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), a cradle of calm and peace. Finding your way to the temple can be a tricky affair with absence of any signage that could lead you towards it: no devotees, no meditating bhaktas or no boards announcing, ‘Yes, this is the way to the ISKCON Temple’. It is only after a firm assurance by a locally resident lady, an ISKCON devotee herself, whom we luckily encounter on our way and who kindly agrees to guide us till the temple’s gate that we finally conclude: We are finally at the ISKCON temple in Kannur, Kerala.

ISKCON temple, Kannur in Kerala
Welcome to the ISKCON Temple, Kannur

Quietly snuggled in the thick vegetation of the coconut grooves, the temple complex bears a deserted look; a complete contrast to the many ISKCON’s that I have been to till date yet blending beautifully with the tranquil image of Kerala that I have come to form over the past few days of my stay here.

Hare Rama Hare Krishna ISKCON temple in Kannur, Kerala
The ISKCON Temple

A pot of Tulsi stands guard soon after entering the gates. Adorned at the sidewalls are an array of pictures, all depicting Lord Krishna in His various forms and avatars: one in the battlefield with his student-warrior, Arjuna, another with His beloved, Radha and a bigger one that features Him alone. And then, there are more, all expressively transporting me to a bygone era glorious with His love for cows and mischievous past times.

Tulsi plantation in ISKCON temple in Kannur, Kerala
The plant of Tulsi

Lord Krishna paintings on the walls in ISKCON temple in Kannur, Kerala
Lord Krishna posters on the sidewall

In the center of the complex, the main temple stands humbly, simple in its make and devoid of any kind of ostentation. Apart from the Krishna posters and the Tulsi pot, the complex hardly boasts of any things that would make it stand out as a temple and hence, to a passer by, can easily pass off as any other house in the corner of the lane. Even the temple bell is nowhere to be seen. Such is its simplicity and I am awed.

The door to the main temple is closed. The Lord is asleep, enjoying His mid-noon siesta. There are rooms on one side of the temple for resident ISKCON bhaktas (devotees) to stay. Yet, there is no indication of life or any kind of movement except us roaming in the precincts. Even the trees stand transfixed as if exhibiting care to not perform any kind of activity that could disturb the Lord in His sleep. As the Lord, so His bhaktas. A bit disappointed at having missed an opportunity of meeting Him, I decide to take a leave when I hear someone call.

Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple in Kannur, Kerala
The closed door to the sanctum: It's sleep time for the Lord

Namaste, it is a lady bhakta and we strike a conversation. She tells me that the temple witnesses a lot of crowd and festivities on festive days and other special occasions. She further informs me that the temple land is on rent right now and hence is housed in a small space. Small in space it might as well be, but soon enough I find it very large in kindheartedness when I am invited for the prasadam, the temple meal. Perhaps, it is the Lord’s call and I gleefully accept it as a blessing. The thought that Lord did not want me to leave like that, empty handed and empty stomach makes me feel special. I am delighted.

The food is served on a banana leaf, the only one I have on a leaf in our entire Kannur trip, with a lot of love. Rice, dal, ladyfinger, cabbage and finally, a banana; everything comes in order, one after the other, everything is rhythmic. Needless to say, the meal is wholesome, fulfilling, nourishing and tastes absolutely divine, leaving me yearning for more. With utmost humility, mataji apologizes for us having missed out on the darshan and I appreciate her gesture of serving us the prasadam, the food of the Lord.

Temple meal or prasadam at ISKCON temple in Kannur, Kerala
My prasadam banana leaf

Finally, it is time to leave. She bids us goodbye with a wishful request – Agli baar jaldi Kerala aana, bhagwan ki ichcha hogi toh phir mulaqat hogi (Do plan a visit to Kerala soon, God willing we will meet again). She says this while standing at the temple steps, right in front of the sanctum sanctorum, right in front of the Lord. Nodding, I make a move from the oasis of peace but carry something along... her voice in the form of an echo in the quiet of the environs. Her aura glowing in devotional fervor, her lovely smile, her humble voice; that I had carefully treasured with me that day continue to linger in my memories, even today... instilling faith that, her wish will come true soon, some day.

Address and contact number of the ISKCON Temple in Kannur:

MoopanPara, Highway Junction, Chirakkal, P.O. Kannur, Kerala, India.
Phone number: +91 (497) 2775299.


Travellers Tip: Guest house facility is not available in the temple.



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52 comments:

  1. Goodness, I have not seen you ever invited to eat at a Temple, this is so special!!! One thing I have been eying is that unusual gate made into squares with the gold in the middle, really different and pretty.

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  2. Another wonderful post from your Kerala yatra.Beautiful ISKCON Temple. Beautiful photos:) Thanks for sharing.

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  3. That Prasad looks really delicious and you have given a nice account of the lady devotee in the temple. Such meetings withe locals add to the flavor of the Yatra.....

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  4. ISKON temples are so serene and peaceful, and that make them so special. This temple also has a beautiful ambiance. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pics, Arti.
    The prasadam looks so tempting,they are extremely tasty, I know. Guru's prasadam plays a vital role in the Vaisnava traditions.
    Thanks for this post.

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  5. wonderful...i never knew they had there temple here...am a fan of ISKCON temple in bangalore...i appreciate the way the maintain and do pooja...but what upsets me is the food court behind..well nothing wrong but i see more people turning the temple to a small food court..

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  6. Colorful buildings, as always interesting history and travel information. And that food! Oh my gosh it looks so good.

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  7. A small one, compared to others i have seen in cities. Nice tour.

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  8. As always as interesting as it was informative, I came away having learnt so much. Fascinated by The plant of Tulsi, I really enjoyed this post.

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  9. This is a colorful temple and looks pleasant. Those posters are beautiful and I found "My Yatra Diary" among them. The food on the banana leaf is a good idea,I think.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Ah, yes Sarah. I inserted the 'My Yatra Diary' as a watermark in those posters, love to play and fiddle with little things around. Glad you noticed and pointed it out :)

      The food served on a banana leaf is a traditional way of having food in most of the southern regions of India. It increases the nutrient quotient in the food besides being truly authentic to the local traditions. South India remains close to 'Nature' in more ways than one.

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  10. Absolutely looks like a traditional Kerala house, which could easily skipped away from the route. So peaceful environment and location between palms... Beautiful narrative! The temple prasadams are always feast :) Glad you enjoyed

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  11. Kerala is one place I long to visit...and have been wanting to plan a trip every now and then.
    Thanks for the lovely travel account! :)

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  12. Nice Temple but there is another Temple maintained by ISKON in Banglore, Karnataka. I saw that before few month ago. It is very beautiful and nice. I think this is smaller than that temple which is situated in Banglore. Any way nice post and this is my first comments on your post.

    Chandan G
    Billing Enginee,
    NH-33 Project, Ranchi.

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    1. This one is way smaller than the Bangalore one, Chandan but it's beautiful and serene nevertheless. Definitely worth a visit if you love visiting ISKCON Temples in general.

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  13. It is certainly different from all the other ISKCON temple and also smaller. But looks nice and peaceful.

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  14. God is love!

    Catholic blogwalking

    http://emmanuel959180.blogspot.in/

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  15. It's a beautiful place and story. :D

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  16. I have not seen many ISKCON temples... but, whenever I have seen one they have been magnanimous in structure. this one is small and proves the phrase 'Small is Beautiful'. It is not important, how high or big the structure is. It is important as to how the people run it. And from what you have written, this temple is full of that. The photos are good as always.

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    1. Well phrased, Karthick and so true. It's the people who make a place and this one, by my experience, is certainly very well made.

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  17. Beautiful..I remember staying at the ISKCON at Pandharpur.. where they serve some delicious prasadham

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  18. hey.. you visited my home state... :) hope you loved your visit...

    and I didn't know of this temple.. it is so unlike an ISKCON temple actually that we see in other places which are typically huge....

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    1. Oh yes, Hemal. I absolutely enjoyed my visit, it was beautiful in so many ways and it has only seen me come back wanting for more. :) Missed out on a lot of things too since it was a short visit so definitely have to go back one day.

      About the temple, even the locals there are unaware of the temple, it's kind of located on an offbeat track. And it's certainly one of the smallest (in size) of the many ISKCON temples I have visited so far.

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    2. Surprised that even locals do not know much about this place.. But hey, you missing out things means you are going there again, which is a good idea.

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  19. Hi Arti,

    I enjoyed reading about your visit to this temple and seeing your photos. Great that you were able to partake of some food and have a conversation with the Lady bhakta.

    Enjoy the weekend
    Carolyn

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  20. Arti, in case u are travelling to guruvayur from Thrissur...stop by sobha city :)

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    1. Thank you very much, Ashok :) Now back but will keep in mind in case I happen to be there someday.

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  21. Hi there - this really is a different part of the world to Australia - I spent some time in India many years ago, and I think I would like to come back.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  22. Lovely temple, looks so quiet and peaceful..

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  23. A primeira foto revela a natureza e o templo envolto em paz e tranquilidade.
    O almoço parece muito delicioso, servido em folha de bananeira, é muito original.

    Bom domingo!
    Ótimo semana!
    ✿·.¸.• Beijinhos do Brasil
    ♪✿°•.¸

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  24. Enjoyed reading the post. Makes me feel good for some reason I am not able to fathom.

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  25. hi! Nice captures. This temple is very different from temples in our country. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. What a beautiful temple, Arti! Looks very tranquil through your wonderful photos!

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  27. A calm and lovely post, Arti, about the small, peaceful temple. The welcome you were given will stay in your heart.

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  28. The food in that banana leaf looks so yummy even now after I have eaten my fill at dinner time. I also have to say that one of the most intriguing things about visiting Asia or India is exploring the paths that leads to the actual places. You would be surprised to find a grand hotel such as the Centara in Phuket behind some forest or fields -such as this temple you've written about here.

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  29. colorful yet so peaceful, and that food served on banana leaf looks so divine indeed, so very inviting.

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  30. beautiful templae i love your information,Thanks for post such a nice article

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  31. quaint yet so such a loving ode to god, this temple is!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  32. So colorful! Thank you Arti. xo

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  33. God is god's own country!
    very beautiful temple with natural sceniries and appreciate your information.

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  34. Now announce your new domain on your blog girl.. :)

    Congratulations..

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  35. Lovely temple. But somehow don't like isckon temples . But since food is served a visit is must.

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  36. I was reading your post and my eyes suddenly saw food! Am so missing Kerala.. It'll be Onam next month.. With all the festivities that happen, I am going to miss.. :)

    Arti, congrats on the new domain.. Rest assured, I am going to disturb you endlessly till I also buy a domain :P

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  37. as always it was like visiting the place myself with your beautiful description..the food on banana leaf makes me hungry here! :)

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  38. Incredible temple!!! I lives in Himachal and never visited Kerala. But I really want to visit this amazing temple. Thanks Arti for sharing this.

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  39. Peaceful & beautiful temple....love the pics you post

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  40. congratulations on the .com, arti. :)

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  41. Somehow this post was missed ! ISKON temples are just beautiful and have seen quite a few but not the one in Kannur! Hope I can visit it some day, Arti:)

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  42. Jai Sri Krishna!

    Great location- A cradle of calm and peace charged with a lot of positive energies of love, devotion.

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  43. There! I learnt something else from this blog today. I seriously didn't know there was an ISKCON temple in Kannur. Gosh! that place must have been so very peaceful. Darshan -- next time. Don't worry. :)

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  44. Temples have such delicious food. Our human loves eating temple food! Purrs!

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  45. This is beautiful. Specially the last picture. Nothing could taste like Prasadam.
    Between I have been to ISKCON temple in Delhi. This one in Kannur is comparatively very small. Though size doesn't matter, but the devotion and love. Hare Rama, Hare Krishna.

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