Boise Hare Krishna Temple and Vedic Cultural Center

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 17 March 2016.

Phone: 208-344-4274
[flickr_set id="72157621939197454"] History In 1986, the first Hare Krishnas, Arun and Arruddha Gupta, arrived in Boise from India. After 15 years of worshipping in their home, the Gupta family, in 1999, bought the house next door. They built a facility that connected the two houses, a space that would become the Hare Krishna temple in Boise. In 2012, the Gupta’s son, Gopal, took over as temple president. Challenges and Discrimination The temple has faced some discrimination from Idaho’s principle newspaper, the Idaho Statesman. The Hare Krishna community recently became the only religious group in Boise not allowed to write for the weekly religious column, despite the popularity of their pieces in the past. Aside from this, the Hare Krishna community feels largely accepted by the people in Boise. The city’s mayor even declared a day in August to be the annual Hare Krishna Temple Day. Demographics The temple is made up of a diverse community. A little over half are Indian but there are also Caucasian and a small number of other ethnic groups. Over the years, the population of refugees attending has gone down while the percentage of local members has increased. Currently, about 40 percent of the members are converts. The temple welcomes all ages, from newborns to the elderly, but the majority are aged 30 to 40. In total, there are about 100 members, although during festivals may attract anywhere from 200 to 500 people. Membership has decreased slightly, a shift likely due to layoffs at Micron and Hewlett Packard. Activities and Schedule The Hare Krishna Temple has a weekly service on Sundays at 11am. Services begin with chanting, followed by a lesson or reading from the Bhagavad Gita, mantra meditation, musical chanting, and then announcements. Following the service is a community lunch, where traditional vegetarian Indian food is served. The temple also has daily services starting with Mangal Artik at 5:30am; The second service, Shringar Artik, is at 7:15am; Then, at 7:30am, Guru Puja. Every evening at 6:30pm there is another small program of worship. Bhagavad Gita classes take place every Friday evening at 7:00pm and are followed by dinner. In addition to the daily and weekly services and meditations, members of the temple visit nearby prisons monthly to do ministry work and correspond with inmates from prisons around the country via mail. Furthermore, members of the temple distribute free food as part of ISKCON’s worldwide “Food for Life” program. There are eight major holidays celebrated at the Hare Krishna Temple. They are: the birthday of Chaitanya, commemorating the inauguration of the Hare Krishna Movement; Rathayatra, a parade celebrating Krishna (usually in conjunction with the Boise 4th of July Parade); Janmastami, celebrating Krishna’s birthday; Govardhan Puja, celebrating Krishna’s protection of his devotees; Rama Navami, celebrating Rama’s birth; Diwali, celebrating Rama’s return to his capital city; Nrsimha Chaturdasi, the appearance day of Krishna in his incarnation of Nrsimhadeva; and Vyasa Puja, the birthday of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual teacher of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the Hare Krishna Movement. The Boise Hare Krishna Temple is one of over four hundred ISKCON centers around the world. The community participates in all interfaith events in Boise and representatives from the temple give lectures about Hinduism to classes at local schools and universities. Professors from various departments also bring their classes to the temple for the Sunday service. The temple is open for tours for students interested in studying religion. Description The Hare Krishna Temple is located in a building that adjoins two residential homes, which belong to members of the temple. The temple is a large hall with stained glass windows depicting Krishna in his youth and adulthood. There are frescos of Krishna on the ceiling and a teakwood altar in the front of the temple with statues of Hindu deities, incense, fresh flowers, and rich tapestries. In the back of the temple, directly opposite the altar, is a life-size statue of Srila Prabhupada. Shoes are not worn in the temple and members sit on individual rugs for prayers, chanting and meditation. In the front of the temple, near the altar, are a harmonium and mrdunga, as well as audio equipment to deliver the musical sound throughout the temple.