Timeline

1970
June 16

1970

American and European Hare Krishna devotees stopped over in the early 1970s to introduce Krishna consciousness in Singapore.
1971
June 16

1971

the Founder-Acharya for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He landed at the airport but was unfortunately not allowed into the country by the Singapore government. This was the only country he was not allowed in.
1975
June 16

1975

Sriman Sundar Gopal Das, then Govindasamy Sundar and who was later largely responsible for the establishment of the Hare Krishna movement in Singapore, and his brother get introduced to Krishna consciousness through the books of Srila Prabhupada. A home-run temple was started by two Australian devotees.
1977
June 16

1977

Sriman Sundar Gopal Das gets formally initiated by Srila Prabhupada.
1978
June 16

1978

A full-fledged temple is being run by a small team of full-time devotees headed by Sundar Gopal Das.
1979
June 16

1979

Submitted application for the registration of International Society of Krishna Consciousness. It was rejected and we were told “ISKCON is banned in Singapore” for no fault of ours. But the spread of Krishna consciousness continued by the mercy of Lord Krishna.
1982
June 16

1982

The complete sets of the Srimad Bhagavatam were printed by our temple in small size and black cover which later became the trend all over in ISKCON worldwide.
1985
June 16

1985

In his absence, there was a 3-year lull in the missionary activities in Singapore since 1982. Sriman Sundar Gopal Das returned to Singapore after spending an year and a half in India and an year and a half in the US. We participated for the first time in the International Book Fair and sold many books of Srila Prabhupada.
1986
June 16

1986

A shopfront called Govinda’s Gifts was opened at Serangoon Plaza for distributing the Vedic knowledge through the books of Srila Prabhupada. Distribution of books on the streets also kicked off. The devotees participated for the first time in the annual Deepavali Trade Fair. Many of our books were sold there.
1987
June 16

1987

The necessity of opening a society was greatly felt because without being a registered charitable organization, donations could not be accepted for the missionary activities. As we were not given a society, we acquired a defunct society Shiv Mandir. Later this year, the temple moved to Bencoolen Street. The shop Govinda’s Gifts was closed in this year.
1988
June 16

1988

Through these 4 years since 1984, we hosted grand annual cultural festivals on the occasion of Janmastami at the World Trade Centre Building. The spread of Krishna consciousness happened mainly through cultural events like these.
1989
June 16

1989

The biggest sensation of the year happened on the New Year’s Day itself. The devotees came together at Orchard Road and performed a grand Hare Krishna kirtana that attracted the attention of thousands who were present there for the New Year countdown. In fact, a photograph of it was featured in the national newspaper The Straits Times. Many devotees joined up as full-time brahmacaris in this year. There was the spectacular burning of the effigy of Ravana for the Dusshera festival which although is a common festival in India has most unfortunately met with public censure and we were not allowed to perform it again.
1991
June 16

1991

The temple moved to Mountbatten property for only 3 months but then, surprisingly offered to us for purchase.
1992
June 16

1992

Early this year, we bought the Mountbatten property for $1.9 million that was raised from pious Indian supporters. The property included a nice bungalow and a nice courtyard garden, perfect for festivals. Another important incident took place in this year — the installation of Sri Sri Radha Madanamohana Deities along with the Jagannatha and the Gaura-Nitai Deities. Many festivals were conducted in this nice open courtyard. Many well-to-do Indians were frequenting the temple. The number of full-time devotees also increased in this year.
1993
June 16

1993

The first public Jagannatha Palaki Yatra was conducted in Pasir Panjang wholesale market. We also opened the Govinda’s Restaurant for selling Krishna Prasadam at Cuppage Plaza. Sriman Raghupati Das was heading its operations.
1994
June 16

1994

During this year, we moved the annual Jagannatha Palaki Yatra to a dairy farm in Lim Chu Kang.
1995
June 16

1995

This year we had to unfortunately move out of the Mountbatten property owing to zoning difficulties. We moved to Balestier Rd. From this year through 1998 were the most trying times in the temple history.
1996
June 16

1996

Our intention was to develop the Mountbatten land and use the funds to build a new temple. But the property prices crashed so badly that very heavy losses were incurred. The property was sold at very low price. Instead of earning about $12 million, we lost $4 million. We fell into a big debt that was later liquidated in 2004 by paying just $100,000 that was asked by the bank. ?r?la Prabhup?da Centennial celebrations were also held in this year at Labour Foundation Building auditorium in Thomson Road.
1997
June 16

1997

The Singapore government finally granted a society to us with a name of our choice (ISKCON was not allowed and nor were we allowed to have any affiliation with any ISKCON body outside). We agreed to those terms and conditions and then chose the name ‘Sri Krishna Mandir’ for our society. The earlier society Shiv Mandir was closed down. This marked a new beginning in the temple history. Another significant development was that Srila Prabhupada’s important documents regarding initiations in ISKCON surfaced and Sriman Sundar Gopal Das completely agreed with those instructions which meant that all future disciples in the Hare Krishna movement shall be disciples directly of Srila Prabhupada and not of any self-professed guru in ISKCON. We then became the first temple in the world to announce that we would follow this system. Sriman Sundar Gopal Das was then officially ostracized from the international ISKCON community as they did not want to obey the instruction of Srila Prabhupada. In fact they kept these important documents hidden from the worldwide devotee community. Some of the local devotees who understood these instructions of Srila Prabhupada stayed back in Sri Krishna Mandir. Many others walked out and started their own groups.?
1998
June 16

1998

Conventions on Rtvik-ISKCON debates in Vrndavana, Malaysia, Alachua (US) in this year.
2000
June 16

2000

We had to again move out of Balestier Rd and relocate to Geylang. Our address then was 23 Lorong 29 Geylang. Another milestone occurred. The Housing & Development Board (HDB) of Singapore had tendered for a land in Bedok North Avenue 4. We actually won the tender but immediately after that the tender was canceled without reasons. We asked them if our bid was too low. They said that they had other plans for the land.
2002
June 16

2002

After spending just a year in Geylang, we moved to Little India. We took up a building at 9 Norris Road on rent. It attracted a lot of visitors as it was located in a prime Indian area. On an average weekend, we would get about 500 people coming. We added dramas as a part of the mainstream Sunday Love Feast program. Many people were attracted by this. We started our famous free food distribution program here. It was named ‘Food For Life’. We registered a sister charitable organization called Sri Krishna Mandir Welfare Society that was meant for the Prasadam distribution.
2003
June 16

2003

A major development concerning Jagannatha Ratha Yatra festival was made during this year. We built a single chariot with rubber wheels for Their Lordships Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. We moved the operations at Govinda’s Restaurant from Cuppage Plaza to Serangoon Road.
2004
June 16

2004

The chariot for Ratha Yatra broke down. So we had three separate chariots built for Ratha Yatra during this year. A Chinese gentleman Mr. Lee donated the chariots for the pleasure of Lord Jagannatha. We closed the restaurant completely. We participated in Buddha Tooth Relic Exhibition and distributed many books on Krishna consciousness to Chinese people and raised considerable funds. The temple made its first entry into the cyber space in this year. We started our first blog.
2005
June 16

2005

The Ratha Yatra goes for the first time into the open in Singapore. It was conducted on an open field at Farrer Park. We conducted our first boat festival at Jalan Besar Swimming Pool. A beautiful swan boat was donated by a Chinese gentleman. We also lost a very significant devotee in this year, Srimati Chandrs Devi Dasi, wife of Sundar Gopal Das passed away on the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada in the month of November amidst the kirtana of the holy names of the Lord, Hare Krishna.
2006
June 16

2006

The Police did not like us doing the Ratha Yatra in the open field in 2005. So after much negotiation, they allowed us to freely perform the festival in any stadium of our choice. We then had it in Toa Payoh Stadium. We had a crowd of only about 500 in this first edition. Nevertheless, this was another significant development in the growth of the temple. As we shall see later, this concept of Ratha Yatra in a stadium was a huge success as it attracted lots of people in the years to follow. We made our first ventures beyond the borders of Singapore in this year. We purchased a farmland of 4 acres in area in Kota Tinggi very near to the beautiful Kota Tinggi waterfalls. We also opened a centre in Taman Daya, Johor Bahru. Sriman Sacisuta Das, a Malaysian devotee took the reigns of this temple. Another significantly notable step was that we began the Rtvik initiations this year. That means a new disciple takes his vow and becomes a disciple of Srila Prabhupada although Srila Prabhupada was physically not around. This ceremony was done by an officiating priest called ‘Rtvik’ in the sanskrit language and hence the name.
June 16

2006 continued

Srila Prabhupada wanted this system. Although we accepted this theoretically way back in 1997, we have not put it into practice as we were expecting the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the worldwide ISKCON to correct their mistakes and take up the instruction of Srila Prabhupada seriously. So we wanted to do it in unison with all temples in the world. When we saw it was not happening, the Temple Presidents of Singapore and Malaysia agreed that to further the movement in this region, they would appoint Sriman Sundar Gopal Das as the Rtvik representative of Srila Prabhupada in the matter of conducting initiations. Since then, many initiations happened over the years. We again participated in Buddha Tooth Relic Exhibition in this year and distributed books to Chinese.
2007
June 16

2007

Although we were thinking of buying this property, the owners had other plans and the lease term expired. We were then forced to move out of Little India. We managed to arrive in Geylang after a brief stay in Ubi for 4 months. We got ourselves stationed at 9 Geylang Lorong 29, #03-02 (S) 388065.
2008
June 16

2008

We started our first full-fledged website and shut down our blog. We located early in the year, a piece of land in Tampines for a temple. We found out that it was a privately owned land and was zoned for religious use. After communicating with the legal adviser of the owner, we learned that he wanted to sell the land for $5 million. We got the approval from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on the 17th of November of this year.
2009
June 16

2009

Next overseas venture occurs this year in India. The Puducherry branch was opened by one Sivananda Sena Das who was trained in Singapore and Malaysia earlier. During this year, a full-time brahmacari devotee Mahaprabhu Das, the son of the Temple President Sundar Gopal Das, was given corporal punishment for his adherence to basic religious vows during his time in National Service. The 5 days from July 9th to 13th were the most intense.?
2011
June 16

2011

For the first time in the Singapore Hare K???a history, we managed to announce the Ratha Y?tr? festival on public media. We advertised the event on a single public transport bus.??We made more advances on the overseas front in this year. About 8 Hare K???a devotees from a single temple in New Zealand made a trip to India and on their way back to New Zealand, they made a stopover at Singapore for about a week. That marked the beginning of a new chapter of cooperation.??One devotee named ?r?m?n Prahl?d Bhakta D?s, who was working here in Singapore in the IT field and was being trained at our temple since the year 2008, gave up his job and returned to India to take the reins of the Puducherry temple. Real development of the temple took place only after this.
2012
June 16

2012

During this year, the Ratha Yatra became a major festival. We advertised in 120 bus stops for a full month which brought more than 5,000 people to the event at Toa Payoh stadium. Prominent South Indian film industry figures Mr. Suresh Krishna and Mr. Delhi Ganesh graced the event as Guests of Honor. The Ratha Yatra has become the official highlight of our calendar year. We made numerous appeals to the Singapore government for the land in Bedok. But it all fell on deaf ears. We made inroads into another new country in this year – China. After two trips to China, one in May and one in December, a solid bond of cooperation for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada was made with the devotees there and we established a temple in the city of Guangzhou. Around fifty devotees who were not led by proper direction for many years have gladly joined their hands in support for the new temple. An elderly American devotee Sriman Radha Vallabha Das, who had been spending his time in the holy town of Udupi, made contact with Sriman Sundar Gopal Das and on his suggestion, moved to China and has been leading the temple there.
2013
June 16

2013

The Ratha Yatra in Singapore climbs to monumental proportions with close to 10,000 people in attendance. For the first time, devotees from New Zealand, China, India and Malaysia came to attend the festival. Ratha Yatra in Kota Tinggi took off. The Tamil New Year was chosen as an annual date for the Ratha Yatra. A momentous breakthrough was made in China. We hosted the first ever Ratha Yatra in the land of the Communist China. To couple this incredible feat, we also performed the first ever public Harinam Sankirtana on The Great Wall of China in the month of November. We hosted a 5-day Bhakti Yoga Seminar in Beijing that attracted about 100 Chinese people. Our Temple President Sriman Sundar Gopal Das presented a copy of ‘Bhagavad-gita As It Is’ to Singapore President Tony Tan when the latter arrived at Lorong 29 Geylang for some Lantern Festival in August. For the overseas portion, regular trips were being made to New Zealand, China and India. Another new country unfolded – Philippines. One couple Sriman Varuna Das and Srimati Gunamala Devi Dasi who have been devotees for many years have surrendered their lives and gave up their work to run the temple. One Indian brahmacari devotee trained in Singapore, Vraja Kisora Das was sent there to develop the missionary activities.
2014
June 16

2014

In February, a brahmacari from the New Zealand temple, Sankarasana Das, joined the Philippines temple to help out in the missionary activities which includes Prasadam distribution to poor street children apart from spreading Krishna consciousness. The Singapore Ratha Yatra festival grew by leaps and bounds. It was announced in 250 bus stops, and on huge digital screens in prime locations like Bugis, Orchard Road, J-Cube shopping mall, etc. More than 12,000 people attended the festivities at Toa Payoh Stadium. We have been appealing to the government over the Bedok land which has been lying vacant for 14 years. When all amicable methods proved a failure, we took them to court in the month of January. The case lasted 6 months but was ruled against our favor for the single reason that it was 14 years old and therefore too old to take it up.
June 16

2014 Continued

So on the 9th of July, the case ended against our favor. Only if Krishna wills can we have a permanent temple premises here in Singapore. But we shall not relent in our attempts either. We have to do our bit for Krishna. As for overseas, the devotees in China have set up a permanent location for the temple in Zhongshan and also opened a shop front for selling books and Prasadam. They also hosted their second edition of the Ratha Yatra festival. All this is huge progress considering it is China. The Sri Krishna Mandir in Philippines has become more stabilized and have moved to a large bungalow in an area that hosts quite a few universities. The students therein have been very open-minded towards the devotees and they like the Prasadam, the chanting of the holy name and also the books. Apart from that the street children were being fed sumptuous Prasadam at least thrice a week. We have participated in a few new trade fairs prior to Deepavali where we sold many thousands of our books to people along with calendars and other paraphernalia.