One of the many marvelous abodes of Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama, the Iskcon of Houston is a popular destination among Krishna devotees. Also referred to as the “Hare Krishna Dham, ” the temple was incorporated in 1972 and has since operated as a non-profit organization propagating spiritual knowledge and aiding believers in living a spiritually awake life.
While Iskcon is open to all, a few things must be considered before entering the premises. This guide will cover all those details, so stay tuned until the end.
Iskcon of Houston is located at the Hare Krishna Temple & Cultural Center, 1320 West 34th Street, Houston, TX, United States. The area is well-connected by roadways, railways, ys, and airways, including trams that travel regularly and connect to nearby cities.
Unlike common belief, the Iskcon temple of Houston sometimes had the current grandeur or the popularity it has today. Initially started by a small community of Lord Krishna devotees in a Montrose area home in 1972, the non-profit organization has seen many ups and downs.
image source: founderacharya.com
Dedicated to Founder-Acarya A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the former Iskcon temple was moved to a more prominent location on Rosalie Street, Downtown, in 1974 before finally being relocated to its current location. The temple now stands on the grounds of an old church, renovated and made accessible to the public in 1986.
1996 a cultural center and gathering facility (Gauranga Hall) was built. It has a holding capacity of 1000 members and is generally used for arranging more prominent festivals and functions.
Other Facilities within the Premises
- Govinda Prasad
Individuals visiting the temple can dine within the Govinda’s, an initiative by the Houston Iskcon’s members. Known for its pure veg servings, the restaurant is kept open all seven days a week and has a particular Sunday and Wednesday all-vegan option.
- Goswami Academy and Hare Krishna Sunday School
Moreover, to promote spiritual awakening, the temple houses an academy primarily designed for kids (pre-grades to Grade 4) and a Hare Krishna Sunday School for children aged 3-14. Both the academy and the Sunday school’s main motive is to impart religious teachings and cultural heritage of India through various channels.
- Gift Shop
Finally, you can also visit the in-house gift shop, which has a large collection of religious items, such as scriptures, chanting beads, incense, deity pictures, and much more.
Opening Hours and Other Rituals
image source: iskconhouston.org
You can visit Iskcon of Houston from 4:30 AM to 12:30 PM. However, seeing the premises from 5 PM to 7:30 PM is best advised if you want to witness the temple in its full glory. The setting sun on the horizon, the ambiance, the lighting, and the holy chants make it a sight never to be missed.
Also, the temple is open daily, with regular chants and spiritual practice arrangements, allowing people visiting from afar to indulge in the activities. Here is a detailed timing schedule of the daily offerings held in Iskcon of Houston:
Mangala Aarti- 4:30 AM
Shringara-Darshan/ Guru Puja- 7:00 AM
Morning Aarti- 8:30 AM
Raj-Bhoga Aarti- 12:00 PM
Afternoon Aarti- 4:30 PM
Gaura Aarti- 7:00 PM
Shayana Aarti- 9:00 PM
Note- The opening hours and ritual timings may vary during festivals or other significant events. For more information, visit www.iskconhouston.org.
How to Visit the Temple?
As discussed above, the Iskcon of Houston is conveniently connected to all transportation facilities.
If you plan to visit Houston’s Iskcon temple, the nearest airport is George Bush International Airport (IAH). Anyone traveling to and from Houston can book their flights here, as the airport connects to almost all major cities and nations worldwide.
The airport is 23 miles North of Houston, so you will need to ride a tram (700) that will take you directly to the airport. You may also book private taxis as they can be easily found nearby.
For travel through railways, the Houston Amtrak station is your best choice. These trains run through New Orleans, Los Angeles, and others, making them perfect for locals or inter-city residents. Once you reach the station,
you can opt for a bus via Downtown Houston or a ride through Uber Rent directly to the Iskcon temple.
The nearest bus station connecting Iskcon of Houston to other places is the Houston Bus Station (Greyhound). There are also a few luxury and private bus services with their stations that you may avail of. Some examples include the METRO, RedCoach, B & J Bus Services, and more.
Nearby Local Stays
While devotees and travelers bearing the Life Patron Membership Programme Card can stay within the Iskcon temple for three days each year, others may have to look for accommodations nearby.
Some of the nearest choices include:
- Sheraton Houston Brookhollow Hotel- 1.8 miles from Hare Krishna Temple and Cultural Center (ISKCON Houston)
- CourtyardHouston Brookhollow- 1.4 miles from Iskcon of Houston
- Hampton Inn & Suites Houston Heights I-10- 2.8 miles away
- SpringHill Suites- 1.6 miles away
- Haven Inn & Suites- 2.6 miles far from the Iskcon temple
These are top-rated accommodation alternatives for individuals who stay near the Iskcon Houston.
Nearby Vegetarian Restaurants
Apart from Govinda’s (an initiative of the Iskcon community), other places where you can expect full-course vegetarian meals are:
- Cascabel- 1415 Murray Bay St, Houston, TX 77080
- Local Foods Upper Kirby- 2555 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77019
- Bella Green- 2305 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77098
- Soul Food Vegan- 2901 Emancipation Ave, Houston, TX 77004
- green seed vegan- 4320 Almeda Rd, Houston, TX 77004
Other Popular Attractions
Once you have visited the Hare Krishna Temple and Culture Center of Houston, next up is the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which you must go to. Located at a close distance, you may also visit The Museum of Fine Arts, Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, The Menil Collection, the Art Car Museum, Hermann Park, and the Miller Outdoor Theater.
Therefore, these attractions have much to offer and must be remembered if you are a first-timer here.
What to keep in Mind?
Although Iskcon temples worldwide permit individuals of every caste, color, and creed to visit and participate in their spiritual journey, there are a few points to consider before visiting.
- Attire decency should be maintained while visiting the Iskcon of Houston, even though no strict rule exists. Unnecessary skin showing is not suggested when visiting spiritual destinations.
- Individuals should refrain from entering the temple while intoxicated.
- Basic safety protocols should be followed, such as wearing masks, keeping a safe distance, frequently using sanitizers, etc.
- Women going through menstruation are prohibited from physical or deity worship. However, they can participate in Sankirtana, visit the temple, and chant the Holy name of God.
- Be respectful of their surroundings, other devotees, and members.
How do you contact or join the Iskcon Houston Community?
To contact Houston’s Iskcon, call (713) 686-4482 or fill out a contact form on their official website. Afterward, you can request a callback from the Iskcon community, and you will be redirected shortly.
However, to join Iskcon as a formal member, one must follow a few basic guidelines before directly connecting with one of the spiritual masters within Iskcon. These include learning about Iskcon, adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, reading the Bhagavad Gita, and practicing Bhakti Yoga.
Once you have completed these steps, your spiritual mentor will impart the teachings of the Iskcon community in the form of Diksha. Later, you may be asked to make a patronship payment based on your choice to join the community.
How to donate?
Finally, the Iskcon community has several schemes and programs that support various non-profit ideas and dreams. If you want to donate, you can visit the official website of Iskcon Houston and follow the steps mentioned.
We are completing our detailed traveling guide for the Houston Iskcon. If you want us to cover other details or places, comment.