ISKCON Temple, Jaipur: A Psychedelic Window To The Spiritual World.

Lord Krishna playing flute stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

O adorable Krishna!
let my longing eyes behold thy form.
let my ears hear thy flute.
O healer of all sorrows,
show me Thyself!
~ Unknown.

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I have been a regular visitor to the ISKCON Temple in Jaipur, Rajasthan for almost an entire past decade. Rajasthan being my ancestral state, we make it a point to travel here once at least every year. To say then, that I have a personal affinity for this state, and the Jaipur ISKCON temple wouldn’t be an exaggeration… from being a simple small house many years back, it has been a joy to see the temple gradually evolve to a relatively bigger premise and stand in line along with some of its more famous contemporaries like the ISKCON Temple in Delhi.

During its development, the temple has undergone many a changes as well, the more prominent among them being the coming up of a full fledged guest house for the visiting devotees who wish to stay inside the campus, and the in house Govindas restaurant which serves pure vegetarian fare – and of course, the grand Sri Sri Giridhari Dauji Mandir made entirely from pink stone and decorated with stained glass work celebrating the various avatars of Lord Krishna which opened up earlier this year.

ISKCON Temple, Jaipur, Rajasthan

The temple has taken many years to be built… there was a time when I’d see a part of premises as perpetually ‘under construction’ or so I wondered – what exactly was taking the building of the main temple so long?

Little did I know back then, I would be getting my answer in a few years from now, in 2019 and how!

I recall this incidence from around 3 years back… there was an office right below the “under construction” temple site where one could see a foreigner, often alone, deeply immersed with little pieces of colorful glass scattered all around him. Whenever I passed through his office cum workshop, the room intrigued me, beckoned me. How could it not?! It was an artist’s workshop after all!

Alas, I could never quite give wings to my intrigue by going any nearer or striking a conversation with the person inside but just catching a little glimpse from afar did give me enough to afford this colorful piece of memory today to cherish as my own.

Come January 2019 – and I was in for a beautiful surprise.

The land that I had seen as under construction for so many years long was no longer under construction anymore. What stood on it instead was a magnificent structure resplendent in the glorious art that the Pink city is known for.

After freshening up at the guesthouse just opposite the main temple, I headed to pay my respects and to see the temple, first thing first in the evening and then again the early next morning.

Window to the spiritual world stained glass vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

But it was the morning youthful sun that left me enamored. Ascending slowly beyond the horizon, its peeping light sprinkled a sweet golden glow to the structure.

A burst of colors waited inside as I stood and admired agape at the beauty that stared back at me – large windows about 11 feet high and four feet wide with striking stained glass murals integrated within them. A characteristic more commonly observed in churches and cathedrals, this was the first time I was witnessing glass art of this stature in a temple.

ISKCON temple Srila Prabhupada stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

Shafts of sunlight shone through the stained-glass windows, scattering coloured light all over the chequered floor. The windows were a gleaming brilliance against the early morning sun as against the muted tones of the previous evening. As I made my way around the masterpieces, I gave a silent clap to the Master Artist Mr. Colin Greenwood whose dedication and devotion for many long years was so clearly visible in his exceptional creation in Stained Glass which he had created for the pleasure of His own Master Srila Prabhupada. What was even more laudable was to see the merger of a vision, a vision of bhakti that Srila Prabhupada once dreamt for all of consciousness, with an art form thereby inspiring people towards not just blindly following but actually understanding the beauty of Vedic culture through the paintings.


Door man Vijaya stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, RajasthanDwarpal Jaya stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, RajasthanJust upon entering the gate, are the Two Doorkeepers of Vaikuntha, Jaya and Vijay followed by the Dasa Avatars of Lord Vishnu. It was fascinating to know that the glass, lead and other specialized materials used were sourced from Australia and all the work was carried out by locally trained artists under the supervision of Mr. Greenwood.


Govardhan lila stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

Each window consists of over three thousand pieces of individually cut glass and when seen through the light of the sun, morning as well as evening, literally double up as windows to the Spiritual World!

Narsingh avatar - stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

Walking slowly through the periphery of the temple, I paused at several points, dazzled by the huge colorful windows that soared high towards the distant ceiling. The illustrations took me back to a myriad of stories narrated to me by my grandpa and the lovely memories I treasure in my heart about the times spent listening to them.

Krishna makhan chor stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan
Varah avatar stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur Rajasthan
Vrindavan Forest stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan
Krishna Balram stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan
Shri Ram Chandra avatar stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan
Shri Parsuram Avatar stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan
Kalki avatar stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan
Kaliya Lila stained glass window vedic art - ISKCON Jaipur Rajasthan

I spent a longer time pausing and admiring the Kaliya Lila window,  but it wasn’t the story that had caught my eye, it was the light… light fell here like a high poised sphere creating a mélange of colors that bounced off the window onto the silhouetted floor to paint a muddled reflection.

Beautiful stained glass window reflections vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

It was a beautiful sight, this moment, how to describe it? Everything seemed to be in perfect balance, harmony and unison: The colorful window shrouded in light suffusing the dark floor in life!

Everything around me seemed to stop for those few moments and turn into something entirely different. The silent space suddenly filled with meaning, and the million colorful beams dissolved into a little bubble of wisdom. Just me and those multi-hooded dark serpents, the serpents that create mayhem within, had just been blessed with the dancing footprint of the Lord Himself.

Soon, I moved to the center of the hall and spent a few quiet moments kneeling down before the altar, beneath the deep domed ceiling.

Deities - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

After offering my prayers, as I was walking out of the temple, my eyes fell on the beautiful image of Radha Krishna sitting together on a swing. A beautiful painting dipped in the hues of red, here was love, unadulterated, pure and whole. I thought of the aura when the light illuminates this part of the gallery: Does it make their love come alive? Would it breathe life in their play?

Radha Krishna love stained glass window vedic art gallery - ISKCON Jaipur, Rajasthan

There was no way to know that just about now, maybe someday.

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Comments

  1. I the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great posts.

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  2. Arti, Great to read. Beautiful post.
    Loved all pics.

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  3. Very well written post 👍 Arti. The beautiful photos captured by you shows the hardwork and efforts taken by Mr. Colin Greenwood in building this structure. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. A very special memory that you saw some of this glass being created, Arti. I have never seen so much stained glass art in one place. It shines forth like a miracle in both light and darkness. Surely worth the wait!

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  5. Thanks for posting this, Arti. I have been hearing a lot about the temple but I have still not visited it partly because this temple is a bit far away from the city centre. I have to check out two newly constructed Krishna temples and this is one of them.

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  6. Truly remarkable stained glass works and very dedicated artists to make over these magnificent and beholding depiction and designing of lords. Loved your capture on the embellished temple of stained glass windows and light passing through to reflect some spectacle!

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  7. Wow..... three thousand pieces in one window.
    It sure is colourful.

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  8. Definiteⅼy, what a splendid bⅼog and illuminating articles, I surely will bookmark your site.All the Best!

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  9. It's so amazing

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  10. Admirіng thе persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you offer.
    Іt's nice to come aсross a blog every once inn a while that isn't the same unwanted rehashed materiɑl.
    Excellent read! I've bookmarked your sitye and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Googⅼе account.

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  11. This is incredible!

    Stained glass telling stories in a temple looks just GREAT. And they are huge, no? I can imagine what it must be like to see the magic created by the light coming in through all that coloured glass.

    I'm already looking forward to the next post from there. When is your next visit? I hope you get to see the the Radha-Krishna-on-a-swing window all lit (because that means we get to see it too. ;) )

    Thank you for showing me this all this stained glass art, Arti. Love this post!

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  12. It's quite amazing how the Universe works. I am just heading over to Jaipur tomorrow, wondering which places I would love to visit and here I found your blog through IndiBlogger and stumbled on this one. Your post has reached me exactly when I needed this. Now I hope to visit the ISKCON temple in Jaipur. The images you shared are beautiful.

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  13. Mesmerizing is the word, not only for the paintings but also for your captures and the detailed write-up.

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  14. The photos are vivid and colorful.

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