Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hastinapur, the city of wisdom, in Argentina

Hastinapur has a total area of twelve acres. Its population consists of a dozen Indian gods and an equal number of Argentine human beings. Some of the Indian gods reside in authentic temples filled with the scent of Indian agarbatties while others stay outdoor enjoying the fragrance of the flowers from the garden. Some are sitting or standing on the pedestals and others hang on the sides of walls and pillars. The gods who have their own temples include Ganesh, Krishna, Surya, Narayana and Siva. Since it is Hastinapur there is a temple for Pandavas too. Hastinapur is clearly a place fit for the gods ...who should be pleased with the cleanliness of the place, the serene surroundings and the green garden with Rosewood trees. The only noise comes from the hundreds of birds nesting in the trees. Then there is the soft music of the devotees who sing Bhajans. It is indeed a divine place which inspires sacred thoughts and holy spirit.
Ganesh is standing out in white against the greenery of the garden in the picture below.
The dozen Argentines who live there look after the gods and the place. During weekend, the human population increases to over one hundred. The Argentines do not go there seeking favours as many Indians do in Tirupathi. They go there for wisdom. This is why Hastinapur is called as the City of Wisdom (ciudad de la sabiduria). Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning blesses the students through the sculptures all around the compound. The Argentines learn philosophy, read in the library, practise yoga and meditation and sing Bhajans.
On the other side of the fence, there are cows grazing and occasionally staring at the Indian gods. The cows are relaxed and free from fear because they know that they will not become food at the dining table in Hastinapur, which is a vegetarian place. The inmates cook vegetarian food and share it with the children from poor families in the neighbourhood.
Hastinapur does not have any godmen seeking fame and fortune and flaunting wealthy followers. It is an instituition to pursue pure wisdom, peace and divinity. Neither in the city nor in the website names of those who run the place are given. The founders and directors of the Hastinapura Foundation do not seek publicity. They are humble but devoted people. They have their professions as company managers, engineers or professors. They volunteer their time and talents for the foundation.
Nor is Hastinapur the work of some overenthusiastic drum-beating Hare Krishna types or faith-lead Saibaba followers. Hastinapur respects all the religions and beliefs. Their ten temples include one for Buddha, one for Virgin Mary, one for the Greek god Demeter and another one called as the the Temple of All Faiths. Their library has books of all religions and schools of thought. Hastinapur seeks true wisdom, going beyond the boundaries of established religions. The City of Wisdom is not the ultimate destination. It does not prescribe wisdom doses. It simply helps people to seek, find and pursue their own path to wisdom. They give classes in yoga, meditation, philosophy, devotional singing and sacred drama. They organise workshops, seminars and retreats. They also provide community service. They celebrate festivals such as Ganesh Chathurthi and Baishaki. Their next project is to broadcast through radio.
Hastinapur temples do not have priests or other middlemen between the gods and worshippers. There is no money collection, like in Tirupathi. Worshippers pray, recite mantras and sing devotional songs individually or in groups.
Meditation Hall
Hastinapur has a post graduate course in yoga which takes three years to complete. The classes are held in the weekends only. There are 2500 students studying yoga and philosophy in the Hastinapur centres. The students are being taught by 100 teachers on philosophy and 120 teachers on yoga.

Many Argentines go to Hastinapur as a retreat from the hectic city of Buenos Aires which is just fifty kilometres away. They practise meditation in the quiet natural environment. They do yoga, read books from the library, discuss philosophy and join the singing of bhajans. Hastinapur is an authentic Ashram.

Hastinapur Foundation has published a number of books on Indian philosophy and translated Bhagwat Gita, Bhakti Sutras, Upanishads,Srimad Bhagwatam and Yoga Sutras. Their latest publication is Mahabharatha in Spanish. They have so far published three volumes and plan to do a total of twelve volumes in the coming years. Each volume is over 500 pages. The founder Alda Albrecht and other members of the Foundation have also written a number of books.

main entrance to the Hastinapur city
Hastinapura Foundation was established by Ada Albrecht in 1981. She introduced Indian philosophy and became a Guru for the Argentines seeking wisdom. She wrote a number of books such as ¨The Saints and teachings of India¨ and ¨The teachings of the monks from Himalayas¨.
Gustavo Canzobre was one of her students, who is now the Director of the Hastinapur college of professors. He was seventeen years old when he became interested in Indian wisdom. During the Third Festival of India organised by the embassy in Buenos Aires in November 2010, he gave a talk on the temple architecture of South India. He has agreed to give a talk on Indian philosophy in the forthcoming Fourth Festival of India in December 2011. He is a manager in a local company for living and dedicates rest of his time to Hastinapura Foundation. He is knowledgeable about Indian vedas and upanishads and is going to India on his second visit in August this year.
Gustavo Canzobre in the picture below:
The architectural and scuplting work of the Hastinapur complex has been done entirely by Argentines. The architects and sculptors have studied Indian temples and have done their work professionally and aesthetically. Even now they are constructing some more buildings with Indian sculptures and statues.

Pillars of the entrance to Ganesh temple below:

The pond in front of the temple has fresh water and fish:
A small outdoor Ganesh temple in the garden
Hastinapura Foundation has sixteen centres in Buenos Aires and three more in the rest of Argentina. They have also established centres in Uruguay, Bolivia and Colombia. Information on the Foundation and its activities can be seen at their website

Lord Siva is sitting majestically in the large garden guarded by Ganesh on the four sides:
Latin Americans are, of course, known for fun and fiesta. At the same time, there are thousands of Latin Americans who take Mahabharatha and Meditation more seriously than many Indians....

59 comments:

Kamlesh said...

Amazing, would never ever have expected this in Argentina.

dsampath said...

this is very interesting..thanks

pm shah said...

Amazing. I will certainly visit Hustinapur on my trip to ARGENTINA

Ramasubramanian said...

Very interesting information. Glad to know about the keen interest of the Argentenians in Indian culture.

pramod said...

Wow...Indian Hindu culture taking shape in Argentina is something to be proud off. One day I will visit this charming place.

Bhaskaran K G Pillai said...

This is an eye opener to all Hindus and religous minded persons. While religion has become a booming business in India, here is a place so far away from India practicing pure form of Hindu religion while giving a place for other religions too.

Hats off to the administrators.

GOD bless you/Bhaskaran K G Pillai

Hema R Patel said...

amazing. very informative.I was impressed to see canyons in Arizona,USA, named under our Hindu Gods.But in Argentina this architecture creation is simply respect to Hindu culture

Premnath.T.Murkoth said...

Really thrilled to read this article. Knowledge is respected every where always

mentor mohan said...

Very commendable commitment....wish our temples in India also emulate this Argentina's Hastinapur...craving to visit this place.
M.G.Mohan

anuprabha v said...

Happy Hindu Gods are globe trotting. Hats off to the Argentines for having sublime interest in Indian culure shown in such a supreme manner.The Almighty will surely bless the Argentines.

Samyuktha said...

Wonderful! I am ver4y thrilled to read about Hastinapura. I would love to visit it!

Mukhtyar & Vidya Tomar said...

We have been to Argentina (with main stay in Buenos Aires), six times and spent a total of 15 months there but unfortunately, never heard of this Hastinapur. We are looking forward to visit this place during our next trip. We congratulate the management of Argentinian Hastinapur.

Majoe Camoens said...

It's great to hear of the interest in Indian spirituality and thought even in Argentina. The founders and those who maintain Hastinapur deserve our appreciation and encouragement. Great work.

sekhar chakraborty said...

Religion is not rituals. It is the way how one lives. Plants, animals ,insects et all have religions of their own.Human beings needlessly mess up with it. Hastinapur shows every one as to how to live. Loving and living always go together in such places. May the number of such places grow.

shanker alankar said...

Fortunate are those who visited and enjoyed the beauty of serene atmosphere, saw statues of Indian Gods,and places of Yoga teaching and other activities. This reveals how much respect Argentines have got towards all religions. Hats off to them.
Dr.Shanker Alankar.

Nanda said...

God! u really have a place of your own. Wish I can visit once in my lifetime.

N.S.Raghavan said...

So nice to learn that there are always some people, even in far off locations in Latin America too, who seek after what India CAN teach!

Thank you.

N.S.Raghavan
8.00 pm November3, 2011.

P R RAMAMURTHY said...

Simply marvelous!The architectural beauty of the temples and the serenity of the place make Hastinapur city an ideal place for recharging
one's spiritual batteries. thanks for sharing the photos. Many of us cannot dream of visiting the place in our life time

Surinder $ Bonnie Khanna said...

Thank you for sharing this with us.
I wish we had known of Hustinapur when we visted Argintina some six years ago. Who knows, maybe one day we will visit again!
A remarkable place for all to rejoice.

hema755@gmail.com said...

Fantastic. I am elated at the humaneness of humanity at large--at last, some sane voices---highly appreciable.
it is heartening to find nobility today when we are submerged by
voices of autocracy, fundamentalism and intolerance.
Kudos to the Argentinians--my parents would love this as for three years they were in Buenos Aires--from 1978 to 1981.
They have fond memories of the country and I am going to tell them about this

Anonymous said...

We just got back visiting Costa Rica for a week. Wish we would have known this wounderfull and amazing place. It is an eye opener !!! Would not have thought such place existing this far away from India. Special thanks to the founder and way the place, Hustinapura is operating. my hats off for great work and congratulation to people who managing such excellent place.

maneklal said...

Hats off at Ada Albrecht and Gustavo Canzobre who must been Argentinian incarnation of great sages of India who are so selflessly spreading the knowledge and wisdom of Ancient India with their own art and culture.

The desctription of the article is very impressive one would love to visit the place whenever an opportunity should be available.

manek M sangoi

Anonymous said...

Wow. Amazing. This a place worth visiting.

Chandana said...

Thanks you for sharing this info, it would be a great place to visit. I knew there are a significant number of followers of Sri Sri in Brazil and Argentina, but never knew about this town.

Bhaskar K said...

Wonderful work. Good there are places where wisdom has no boundaries. This is how one lives harmoniously. I remember most of the places where buddha gave sermons belonged to Jains, who encouraged others with their phylosophy. That is open mind. Thanks for an eyeopener. Kudos to administrators to keep it going.
Bhaskar

KRISHNAPRASAD said...

Very great & marvelous.It is an eye opener to many Indians who are going away from Indian philosophy & customs.I wish I visit this place at least once.

hasmukh patel said...

Very interesting place. Once in a life time to visit the place. I could not believe that there is so beautiful place existed n place like Argentina. Hats off to the people who manage the place.
From Hasmukh Patel
UK

Anonymous said...

Well written article. Simply transported to Hastinapur and its surrounding !!!

B.N. Dhawan said...

Wonderful news! Never knew that a second and better Hastinapur exists outside India. Grateful thanks for this enlightment.
B.N. Dhawan

ilavarasu said...

I cannot believe there is such a place for Hindu gods as for as in Argentina. Love to visit here soon.
Ilavarasu

Anonymous said...

It's really an eye opener for those Indians who don't care about their own culture.

Anjan Chaki said...

It's really amazing to note that such an institution/ place of worship/ learning on Indian philosophy, yoga and gods could be developed in as a far off place from India in mordern times. Salutes to the builders and organisers.

Capt.S.M.Mehra said...

When a child is born,he has no name,religion or other attachments.It is we who proclaim him to our selfish way of life.God created this earth as a peaceful place to live to-gather and admire the great creativity.we have the oldest culture which others gave recognition but alas,we remain ignorant.I sincerely thank the person who has brought this to our notice

K.C.S.Sinha said...

Whenever I visit a temple, I always think of a peaceful place where one could find PEACE (of mind) a peaceful place, not over-run by beggars, or by Priests pressing you to give alms. After all at a place of worship one wants to be by himself (or herself)and do your own thing. This Hastinapur in South America appears to be the answer. EXCEPT that it is too far and out of reach. But it is a great development and we in India need to emulate....

K.C.S.Sinha said...

Every time one visits a Temple or Place of Worship in India, one is overwhelmed by two very distinct features:
*Beggars: Begging desperately , to the point of causing more than disturbance to the worshippers.
*Priests: Demanding alms quite aggressively.
One cannot blame them too much because, life is rather hard for them, and they also got to live.
What a refreshing feeling I got looking at the peaceful place HASTINAPUR near Buenos Aires . South America. Sounds out of this world. Though I must admit it is too far away to visit, but just the thought about what sort of a peaceful place it is gives the heart a surge of energy. Take Care of yourselves and the beautiful India you have created there.

shyamal kumar bid,midnapur,wb,india said...

as being a hindu i respect all the argentinian to create such a beautiful hastinapur,thanks brothers to maintain hinduism in such a creative way

Anonymous said...

I am very proud of people who hv made this.I do'nt know if I will ever visit Argentina,but I right now I feel as if I am there.
Thanx

M V RAMANARAO said...

Nice to see our Gods in A green and lively environment! A new concept of how to find peace in the presence of God! Better than our usual concept of paying a fee in search of God's Idol that can be reached only after hours of waiting and pushing crowds of people to have just a glimpse of God sitting somewhere inside the temple guarded by armed policemen!The only question is how and when can everyone have a chance to go and see that God's Abode and more so those sacred dozen people doing wonders from there!

Madathil Parameswaran said...

I salute the Argentinians for such noble acts. This will certainly help the future generations to know part of the Indian culture which is disappearing in India.
Madathil Parameswaran

Neema said...

Amazing! My soul feels satisfied and I am longing to go see it. This is what haven - God's abode would be like, peace, serenity, beauty, tolerance and understanding! How can we duplicate this elsewhere?

Thank you so much. I'm proud of you!

D.K. Kaushal said...

Wonderful. I would love to stay there for a few months.Would that Indian religious leaders could draw some lesson from here!I would like to thank and congratulate the founders, the administrators and the people of Argentina. Thank God.

Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash said...

I have taken the liberty of reproducing a part - with due credit - and reproduced in www.jalvayuvihar.wordpress.com . Hope it is ok.
-Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash

Kamalesh Arasarkon said...

Thanks for sharing !

Nilesh Joshi said...

I wish our Indian temples and middlemen understand and adopt this philosophy of Hastinapur of Argentina!!!
Very very commendable. I must visit Hastinapur before I die.

Mike Smith said...

I am amazed with this discovery. I was watching Mahabharat. And just for no reason, I searched "Hastinapur" and discovered this website.

Rakesh Maharaj said...

Can anyone let me know how to get to Hastinapur from Buenos Aires? Is there a tour group or agency that can assist?

Rakesh Maharaj said...

Can someone let me know how I would get to Hastinapur from Buenos Aires? I will be there next week and would love to visit, but cannot find the location on a map or any other details. Thanks!

yogi2g said...

Natural for the believers in sanatan dharam/liberal spiritual values to feel proud, as I do. The pity is that the misconceptions of 'polytheistic idol-worshipping faith' will sustain the sceptics/cynics and ill-informed others!Hope such places help in dispelling that.

vsrall said...

It is really great to know that Argentina has a wisdom Place to educate about Hindu Religion and Hindustan culture . I have to appreciate Mr. Viswanathan for high lighting the Wisdom Place to the world through the blog. However, I am very unhappy with comparing WITH TRIRUPATHI and singling out. Moreover, number of worshipers visiting to Thirupathi is way high and incomparable. As well there is a cost involved to Maintain temple, Pujaris, employees, Anna Dhanam, etc. Instead of comparing sarcastically, we need good things from here and see if it is possible to implement.

Unknown said...

I would like to donate about $100
in purchase of New Mahabharat serial for the residents of Hastinapur, when the serial is completed and available for sale in the hope and wish that the present day Hastinapur became as glorious as original and contribute in restoring the original to its divine city status.

tavarageri said...

Like the fragrance of flowers, the essence of our culture and heritage have found new frontiers. Amazing development.

Anuradha Goyal said...

I would have never imagined this in Argentina...thanks for sharing this incredible information.

Vidyanand Shetty said...

excited to know any such places in India. but glad that far away they remember Hastinapur..

yuvraj said...

Thank you for the information

Ramesh Vyas said...

IT IS AMAZING. NEVER THOUGHT SUCH THINGS ARE IN ARENTINA

Chalapathi Rao mudigonda said...

It is not incorrect to say that at present Peace and Dharma have gone out of India. They are in countries like Argentina, Canada,etc where we find them. Hindu culture & Gods are respected there. In India we are ridden with caste, community,religion hypocrisy & fanaticism. Amazingly, I find during my visits to foreign countries, the immigrants of Indian origin still loook to India with reverence & respect. I am afraid that if they visit India and see it's pathetic state, they meet with utter disappointment. We pray God to save India....Chalapathi Rao Mudigonda

Bhupendra Dalal said...

Wonderful. Highly impressed by reading such nice article about Hindu Religen @ Hindu Temples at
Hastnipur, Argentina.
Thanks,
Bhupendra Dalaln

H S Rao said...

It is really an interesting news , which I read at my 77th year. Very exciting news to hear such a historically existing situation

Jony Bonik said...

it's really very amazing and interested too. a great history took place behind the Argentina. Good to know the history, thanks a ton. And i wish to travel Hastinapur in Argentina.