Vrindavan: The holy town of Vrindavan should strive to become the world center for spiritual enlightenment, President Pranab Mukherjee said today after performing a special "puja" for the construction of the world tallest Shri Krishna temple here.
The "Chandrodaya Mandir", an architectural marvel seeking to restore the glory and the times of Lord Shri Krishna, is planned to be thrice the height of 72.5- metre 'Qutub Minar' in Delhi.
"I am glad to know that Government of India and the Government of Uttar Pradesh have taken various initiatives towards making Vrindavan a hub of religious tourism.
"The present project adds a new dimension to these initiatives and shall hopefully generate positive spin-offs both for local society and the economy," Mukherjee said.
He hoped that 'Vrindavan' strives to become a world renowned center for spiritual enlightenment, from where the message of divinity and peace resonates across all humanity.
Mukherjee said that a civilised society must follow ancient values of truthfulness and compassion.
"Srimad Bhagavatam describes the four pillars of spirituality-- truthfulness, compassion, austerity and purity. Civilized societies exist and operate within the framework of these values," he said.
Mukherjee said as the country is undergoing a transformative change from being a developing to a developed economy, there will be immense pressures on our socio-economic and moral fabric.
"It is, therefore, imperative that we reconnect to our spiritual dimensions. There can be no better way of doing this than spreading the Bhagvad Gita's message of universal love and humanity.
"I congratulate International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) for their efforts in highlighting and propagating the timeless teachings of Lord Krishna across the world," he said.
Mukherjee expressed happiness over the initiatives that are being contemplated for the upliftment of society under the aegis of 'Chandrodaya Mandir' project, including welfare programmes for the widows of Vrindavan and the restoration, upgradation and rejuvenation of the important sites of Braj.
The 'Akshaya Patra' program through which ISKCON is providing mid-day meals to nearly 1.4 lakh children in 2,160 schools in Mathura District for the last decade is a noble initiative indeed, he said.
"I am confident that ISKCON will continue to partner both the Central and the State Governments in their efforts aimed at social change and reformation," the President said.
The Rs 300 crore skyscraper temple project is expected to be completed in the next five years, organisers of the project said, adding, funds had been collected from various corporate houses and devotees of Lord Krishna for it.
The 'Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir', which is conceptualised by devotees of ISKCON, Bangalore, will have a height of about 210 metres.
Mukherjee was received by Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman, Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir upon his arrival.
He also performed 'Ananta Shesha Puja' (bowing to the idol of the deity). The idea of this ceremony is that the entire temple building will be resting on the hoods of 'Ananta Shesha' (snake), which is very auspicious.
The foundation stone for the temple was laid on March 16 this year.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Members of Parliament Hema Malini and Oscar Fernandes were present during the function.
The President also paid obeisance at the famous 'Banke Bihari' temple of Lord Krishna here.
The Bankey Bihari temple--Bankey means 'bent at three places' and Bihari means 'supreme enjoyer'-- is among the holiest and famous temples of Lord Krishna in the country.
The idol of Lord Krishna or 'Thakur Ji', as he is worshiped as among his devotees, is one among the much olders here. The temple was constructed in 1864.
Authorities have made special arrangements for the President's visit to the temple which is frequented by monkeys.
Hundreds of monkeys reside in the area around the famous temple and often snatch spectacles, purse, mobile phones etc from the visitors there.
The district administration had earlier planned to deploy a group of langurs to keep the monkeys at bay, a decision which drew flak from various quarters.
Keeping langurs in captivity is banned under the Wildlife Protection Act. Mukherjee travelled in a golf cart to the temple. Vrindavan is situated on Delhi-Agra national highway.
The temple is 12 km away from Mathura.