June 1, India - Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, arrived by helicopter at the groundbreaking ceremony for ISKCON’s Sri Sri Radha Gopinath temple in Ludhiana, Punjab’s largest city. GBC Gopal Krishna Goswami, ISKCON Ludhiana temple president Rajasuya Dasa, and other ISKCON leaders gave Badal and his cabinet ministers a warm welcome.
The Chief Minister took his seat on stage in the large colorful tent the devotees had erected. Deities of Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra presided over the occasion, with a fire sacrifice overseen by ISKCON pandits adding to the auspicious atmosphere.
Addressing the congregation, Chief Minister Badal called upon the people of Punjab to follow the philosophy delivered by great saints through the holy scriptures. We must serve the suffering humanity, and strengthen the bonds of love and brotherhood in society, he said.
Badal appreciated ISKCON’s mission to systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large, thus checking the imbalance of values in life and achieving real unity and peace. He added that the construction of such temples and cultural centres would further inspire people to adopt healthy practices of service to humanity and mutual brotherhood among the different communities.
Following his speech, the Chief Minister laid the foundation stone for ISKCON’s Glory of Punjab Vedic Sanskrit Center, on the four acre plot next to the temple.
He then announced a grant of Rs 10 Lakhs for the construction of the Sanskrit Center’s library, and assured his cooperation in building the temple. The project, he said, was leading the way for his government’s attempt to develop the state as an attractive center for tourism, with a view to promoting rich Punjabi culture and heritage throughout the world.
The Ludhiana Radha Gopinath temple itself is expected to be completed within five years, and will cost Rs 30 Crores.