Srila Prabhupada first placed his lotus feet on Fiji soil in 1974 as he was passing through on his way to Hawaii. Srila Prabhupada was in transit at Nadi Airport and Vasudev Prabhu, then known as Deoji Punja, had arranged to meet with him in the transit lounge at the airport. Vasudev Prabhu, during one of his visits to Sydney, had seen ISKCON Australian devotees chanting and dancing in the streets and being very impressed with them wanted to find out who was this great personality who had brought about such positive radical changes in the lives of these Australians. Having established that this great soul was known by his disciples as Srila Prabhupada, Vasudev Prabhu had this intense desire to meet him. Vasudev Prabhu on his return to Fiji found out that Srila Prabhupada was scheduled to pass through Fiji and will spend some time in the transit lounge at the Nadi Airport. Accompanied by his good wife, he met Srila Prabhupada for a short while at the airport transit lounge. Srila Prabhupada asked if there was a Radha Krishna temple in Fiji and when told there was none, he requested him to build and his own words Vasudev Prabhu had once disclosed to me that when Srila Prabhupada placed his hands on Vasudev Prabhu’s head to bless him, he shivered and felt that all sins had been washed away. The rest is history. Vasudev Prabhu worked tirelessly to build this temple and Sri Sri Krishna Kaliya temple in Lautoka was established and officially opened in 1977. Vasudev Prabhu was residing in Lautoka at that time.
Thereafter the preaching activities escalated in Fiji, and Vasudev Prabhu arranged with Srila Prabhupada to send one of his front liners, Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj to come to Fiji to preach on a regular basis. By the strong and effective preaching of Goswami Maharaj, many souls joined and took up Krishna Consciousness seriously but the society was making inroads mainly in Lautoka as a result of the temple. It was then that Goswami Maharaj suggested to Vasudev Prabhu that he should move to capital city Suva and expand the society in Suva with the objective on building an even larger temple to cater for the bigger population. He took Goswami Maharaj’s request to heart and moved to Suva with his family in 1979 leaving behind the comforts of one of the nicest homes in Lautoka. Living very humbly, he got down to the task of spreading Krishna Consciousness in Suva. The fire of Krishna Consciousness started to spread in Suva but to develop funds were required. Being a successful businessman before taking up Krishna Consciousness on a full time basis, he decided to do business on behalf of the Society to accumulate funds to further the objectives of the Society in Suva. He began with a small takeaway outlet that sold sanctified vegetarian food. The trend got on as the food was tasty and soon a full fledged vegetarian restaurant was established. Hare Krishna natural ice creams followed and became extremely popular and the rest is history. As time passed by the devotee congregation also grew to a point where we needed a temple. Land was purchased in 1997 in Brewster Street and plans were drawn up for the construction of a temple complex in late 2001. Construction began in May 2002 and after almost two and half years we have achieved completion of this project which has cost the society over $3 million.
[Extracted from the message by HG Parsuram Das, chairman ISKCON Fiji on the opening of the temple]
Temple Facts and Figures
Sri Radhagolokabihari Temple complex comprises three building and a 60 vehicle car park, built at a cost of three million (Fijian) dollars.
The main Building – The temple has a capacity for 700 people. 2 magnificent chandeliers adorn the all white shiny ceiling. The beautiful marble deities carved in India are of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada, the presiding deities Sri Sri Radhagolokabihari, Lalita and Vishaka sakhis and Sri Sri Sita Rama, Lakshman and Bhakta Hanumanji. In addition to the temple Hall the complex boats two administration offices, a gift shop, and courtyard and deity kitchen.
Beside the temple building is the KKM Trust Multi Purpose Hall with a sitting capacity of 450 people. The Hall will be used for dining, weddings, dramas, stage competitions etc. With the multi purpose Hall there is a dressing room, a storage room and a big Sunday feast kitchen.
At the far end is the double storey accommodation Block for the resident devotees. It has 12 apartment complete with hot water and washing facilities. There is a small plot serving as space for sporting activities such as Volleyball, badminton and Tennis.