The current incarnation of Radha Krishna Temple was founded in 1977 after the purchase of the former Cresheim Arms Hotel at 41 West Allens Lane. It was the fourth and final location of the temple, which was originally brought to Philadelphia following the instruction of Srilla Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1969. In 1975 it had been formally incorporated with ISKCON, however, the growing congregation had required larger space to accommodate new worshippers.
According to its philosophy, the temple has an open door policy that many people are said to take a part of. Ceremonies and other worship related activities are held all day from 4:30 a.m. until the doors close at 8 p.m. Sundays are the most popular day of worship and often draw a large crowd, where food is prepared for upwards of 200 people. Although located in Mt. Airy, a large amount of the congregation comes from other parts of the Greater Philadelphia area.
The temple estimates it congregation amounts to some 600 families, and is one of only two in Philadelphia. The second location is on the 1400 block of South Street. It also offers social groups and other activities to adults and Sunday school for children.
Radha Krishna is a Hindu deity, considered to be the most powerful of several that are worshipped at the temple. The temple’s practices, along with that of worshippers involved in the Krishna tradition, revolves around several Vedic scriptures deemed to be the most important, namely Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana, both of which are estimated to date back 5,000 years.
Chanting mantras is the most recognizable and important aspects of Radha Krishna. All money collected by ISKCON is considered communal and used to spread awareness of the movement. Serving food to anyone wanting is also a major tenant of ISKCON practiced around the world.