New temple in works for Naperville Hare Krishna congregation

With a growing group of followers and an expanded outreach program, a Naperville Hare Krishna congregation will break ground this spring on a new temple.

The city approved plans for the temple last July and ISKCON Naperville, or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, will hold its groundbreaking ceremony at 9 a.m. May 21 at its current location at 1505 McDowell Road.

"We have been here for seven years and our current temple was an old Baptist church building, but we have outgrown that," says temple President Premananda Dasi. "We are growing and we are involved in so many activities, seminars, workshops and children's education and camps, to name just some, that we need additional space."

On the highest of holy celebrations, up to 5,000 people gather at the temple. The Naperville site is only the second in the region, which includes one in Chicago. Several smaller centers and study groups are in eight other suburbs.

Hare Krishna devotees believe in one God, Krishna, who is capable of many forms. Their worship focuses on the soul's relationship with the divine.

Dasi said this makes the faith accessible to all, while making the temple and its service to the community an asset to Naperville.

"The philosophy we share is that we are all spiritual souls," Dasi said. "The physical body is only a covering on the soul, which has an eternal relationship with God. Thus, on the platform of the soul, everyone has a relationship with God. It's such a unifying message."

The new temple will not only host religious ceremonies that celebrate this belief, complete with a deity altar created in India, but allow many current programs to expand thanks to a new multipurpose hall, classrooms and yoga studio.

Other features in the environmentally-friendly building will include a snack bar, gift shop and commercial kitchen.

The kitchen is especially critical, Dasi says, because it will allow the society's Food for Life program to grow. This global food relief program is vegetarian - in line with the Hare Krishna belief that all animals have souls with a developed sense of consciousness - and Dasi compares the Naperville temple's local program to the mission of Meals on Wheels.

The Naperville temple also hosts a communal, vegetarian holy meal each Sunday that is first offered to Krishna, then shared with the congregation.

Dasi says construction of the temple will occur in three phases, but Naperville residents can expect to see a new building in place by January 2018 that will include the kitchen and community hall.

Additional portions of the building and external embellishments will follow.

The society is conducting a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $2 million in two years. So far, it has raised $500,000 in pledges and $250,000 in donations.

Much effort has gone into planning the temple, Dasi said, and now is the time to make it a reality.

"Everything came together by Krishna's arrangement," she said.

For details on the temple project, visit

This rendering shows the altar at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Naperville that is being created in India. Courtesy of ISKCON Naperville
The multipurpose hall at the new Hare Krishna temple in Naperville will be large enough to host weddings, graduations and other special events. Courtesy of ISKCON Naperville
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