TEM­PLE

The Columbus Dispatch - - Faith&val­ues - Dk­ing@dis­patch.com @DanaeKing

Univer­sity’s Wexner Med­i­cal Cen­ter since the 1980s, pur­chased the more than 50 acres of land in March 2016, and plans to start build­ing on it soon.

The land is just one sign of the vi­brant, grow­ing Kr­ishna com­mu­nity in Colum­bus.

An­other can be ob­served at 11 a.m. on Sun­days at 379 W. 8th Ave. on the North Side. The house doesn’t look like it could fit sev­eral dozen peo­ple, many of them danc­ing as they wor­ship stat­ues of Kr­ishna along the back wall.

But al­most all of the tem­ple’s 400 mem­bers cram into the house to eat, dance and pray to­gether.

As mem­bers come in, they can ex­am­ine a build­ing model sit­ting on a table in the en­try­way, cov­ered in glass.

Once the tem­ple mem­bers raise about half the es­ti­mated $10 mil­lion cost of the tem­ple, con­struc­tion can start, Gupta said. It has raised $1.5 mil­lion thus far, and plans to break ground in 2019 and open the tem­ple in 2020.

The mem­bers have elab­o­rate plans for their new space, in­clud­ing a large tem­ple room, more liv­ing space for monks, a din­ing hall, art gallery, or­ganic farm, farm-to-table café, three kitchens, a yoga stu­dio, a lounge, class­rooms, a gar­den, an or­chard, a cow pas­ture out­side, a cow sanc­tu­ary, and, even­tu­ally, a school for chil­dren, sports fields and cook­ing classes.

The plan for the build­ing is for it to be LEED, or Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign, cer­ti­fied.

“We’re try­ing to re­spect the nat­u­ral land­scape of the site,” said Tim Lai, the ar­chi­tect of the build­ing. “It’s very close to Big Darby Creek, which is a very eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive wa­ter­shed. ... We have to work care­fully to man­age it.”

The en­vi­ron­men­tal as­pect is very im­por­tant to Hare Kr­ish­nas. They want to make sure the land is used for only or­ganic farm­ing and is sus­tain­able, with many trees planted on the grounds.

The look of the build­ing will also ap­pre­ci­ate na­ture, with a lot of nat­u­ral light and sky­lights, Lai said.

“We have a dream to ex­press our­selves through ar­chi­tec­ture, for cer­tain peo­ple have built beau­ti­ful build­ings ... as a means of pre­serv­ing cul­ture and ex­press­ing one’s con­scious­ness,” Gupta said. “We want to ex­press Kr­ishna con­scious­ness through the modem of ar­chi­tec­ture, mu­sic, art, his­tory. ... Put it all to­gether to cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence for any­body who would come and wit­ness us tell a story.”

Though the tem­ple is mov­ing, it isn’t aban­don­ing its roots near Ohio State. The cam­pus house will re­main, con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide a “safe haven” for Ohio State stu­dents, Gupta said, as it did for him when he was a stu­dent.

As for the new tem­ple, Gupta hopes the peo­ple of Colum­bus will help build it, both by do­nat­ing money and ac­tu­ally work­ing on the con­struc­tion.

“We are de­pend­ing on di­vine providence,” he said. “We are de­pend­ing on the good­will of peo­ple.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on ISKCON Colum­bus, visit https://www. iskcon­colum­bus.com/.

[AN­DREA NOALL/DIS­PATCH]

Dr. Piyush Gupta, cen­ter, dances dur­ing a wor­ship ser­vice at the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety for Kr­ishna Con­scious­ness in Colum­bus ear­lier this month.

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