In 1965, at the age of 69, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada boarded the steamship ‘Jaladuta’ from Mumbai on his way to United States. At an age when most people think of retiring Srila Prabhupada undertook this arduous journey to fulfill the mission of Lord Chaitanya and follow the instruction of his spiritual master Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur to carry the message of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam to Western world.
After arriving in New York City in September 1965, Srila Prabhupada struggled alone for the first year to establish his Krishna conscious movement. He lived simply, lectured whenever and wherever he got the opportunity and gradually began to attract some small interest in his teaching. In July of 1966, while still working from an obscure storefront on New York City’s Lower East Side, Srila Prabhupada nonetheless founded a spiritual society intended for worldwide participation. He called it International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON for short and thus began the Hare Krishna movement in America.
At the time of incorporation, Srila Prabhupada had not attracted even one committed follower. Undeterred, he enlisted volunteers from among the small group of regular attendees at his evening lectures to act as ISKCON’s first trustees. That was then. Today, ISKCON comprises of more than 400 temples worldwide, 40 rural communities and over 100 vegetarian restaurants. It also conducts special projects throughout the world, such as “Food for Life”, the only free vegetarian relief program in the world.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness [ISKCON], Srirangam branch was started some time during 1994-95 and since then has been actively involved in spreading the Holy Name of the Supreme Personality Godhead Lord Sri Krishna through house programs, congregational development, school programs for the children, Nagar sankirtan periodically at different parts of Trichy and adjoining villages. Spiritual festivals like Janmastami, Radhastami, BalaramJayanthi, NarasimhaJayanthi and GauraPurnima festivals are organized in a grand manner to enable participation by the public and devotees in large number.
Thousands of plates of sumptuous Krishna prasadam are also distributed on those special occasions. On every Sunday, a special “Sunday Feast” program is organized in the evening where more than 100 people participate regularly. This program schedule includes Kirtan, Arathi, Pravachan and sumptuous prasadam for the visitors. During Karthik month, special programs are arranged in all schools located in and around Trichy to facilitate the children and teachers offer Ghee lamps to Lord Dhamodara thereby gain immeasurable spiritual benefit. Number of BhakthiVriksha programs is conducted at various locations in Trichy and surrounding areas to train and empower the interested members in Krishna Conscious philosophy through teaching Bhagavat Gita and guiding them in sadhanaBhakthi. There are hundreds of devotees practicing Krishna Consciousness, leading a saintly life while taking care of their family by nicely executing their responsibilities. There is enormous scope for further expanding our activities for the spiritual and material benefit of the people in this area and ISKCON Srirangam is at it.
The presiding deities of ISKCON Srirangam, Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladev and Goddess Subhadra Devi are presently residing in a temporary building constructed on a land donated by one benevolent devotee from Madurai.
Srirangam, being famous for Lord Ranganatha, is a big pilgrimage center visited by thousands of people every day. Large number of ISKCON devotees and life members also come to take dharsan of Lord Ranganatha and then they all come to ISKCON Srirangam to take dharsan of Lord Jagannath. Presently ISKCON Srirangam is unable to provide accommodation and prasadam to these devotees due to constraints.