The Global Reach of ISKCON: Countries with a Significant Hare Krishna Presence

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement, has grown from its humble beginnings in New York City in 1966 to a global spiritual and cultural phenomenon. Founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ISKCON’s mission is to spread the teachings of Lord Krishna as described in the Bhagavad Gita and other ancient Vedic scriptures. Today, ISKCON has a significant presence in numerous countries, serving millions of devotees and attracting the interest of many more through its diverse activities. This blog post explores the countries where ISKCON has established a strong foothold and examines the impact of the Hare Krishna movement in these regions.

1. India

India, the birthplace of Lord Krishna and the spiritual homeland of the Hare Krishna movement, naturally has the most substantial presence of ISKCON temples and activities. Major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Kolkata host large and prominent ISKCON centers. The ISKCON temple in Mayapur, West Bengal, is a particularly important site, as it is considered the spiritual headquarters of the movement. Additionally, the Vrindavan ISKCON temple, located in the sacred city associated with Lord Krishna’s pastimes, attracts thousands of pilgrims annually.

2. United States

The United States is where ISKCON was founded, and it remains one of the movement’s strongest regions outside of India. New York City, with its historic 26 Second Avenue temple, holds a special place in ISKCON’s history. Other major centers include Los Angeles, which hosts the renowned New Dvaraka temple, and the New Vrindaban community in West Virginia, which serves as a rural retreat and spiritual hub for devotees. The annual Rathayatra festival in cities like San Francisco and New York draws large crowds and promotes the cultural richness of the movement.

3. United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, ISKCON has a significant presence, particularly in London. The Bhaktivedanta Manor in Watford, donated by George Harrison of The Beatles, is one of the most visited ISKCON temples in the world. The London Rathayatra festival, which parades through the heart of the city, is a major event that brings together devotees and curious onlookers alike. The UK’s diverse population and its interest in spirituality have made it a fertile ground for the Hare Krishna movement’s growth.

4. Russia

ISKCON has experienced remarkable growth in Russia despite initial resistance and challenges. The Moscow ISKCON community is vibrant and active, with regular festivals, kirtans, and educational programs. Russian devotees are known for their dedication and enthusiasm, and the movement has spread to other major cities like St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk. The translation of Vedic scriptures into Russian has helped ISKCON gain a solid foothold in the country.

5. Brazil

Brazil, with its rich cultural tapestry and openness to diverse spiritual traditions, has embraced ISKCON with enthusiasm. The movement has a substantial presence in major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where devotees organize vibrant festivals and street kirtans. The New Vrajadhama farm community in the countryside offers a retreat for spiritual seekers and a place to practice sustainable living in harmony with Krishna consciousness principles.

6. Australia

In Australia, ISKCON has established temples and communities in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The New Govardhana farm community in New South Wales is a significant center for spiritual retreats and education. Australian devotees are active in outreach programs, including food distribution initiatives like Food for Life, which align with ISKCON’s mission of serving humanity.

7. South Africa

South Africa’s multicultural society has provided a welcoming environment for ISKCON. Temples in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town are vibrant centers of worship and community activities. The annual Durban Festival of Chariots, one of the largest Rathayatra festivals outside of India, is a major event that showcases the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Hare Krishna movement to a diverse audience.

8. Germany

Germany has a significant ISKCON presence, with temples and centers in cities such as Berlin, Munich, and Cologne. The Schloss Rettershof retreat center near Frankfurt offers a serene environment for spiritual practice and education. German devotees are active in promoting the movement’s teachings through literature distribution and public kirtans.

9. Italy

In Italy, ISKCON has established itself in cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence. The Villa Vrindavana near Florence serves as a major center for retreats and spiritual gatherings. Italian devotees are known for their dedication to preserving and promoting the cultural aspects of Krishna consciousness, including traditional arts and music.

10. Canada

Canada’s multicultural cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver host vibrant ISKCON communities. The Toronto Rathayatra festival is a highlight of the year, attracting thousands of participants. Canadian devotees are active in educational programs and community outreach, promoting the principles of Krishna consciousness.


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has grown into a global spiritual movement with a significant presence in many countries around the world. From India to the United States, Russia to Brazil, and beyond, ISKCON’s teachings and practices have found resonance with people of diverse backgrounds. The movement’s emphasis on devotional service, community building, and cultural celebration continues to inspire millions, making ISKCON a vital part of the global spiritual landscape.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

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