A Peaceful Spot Away from the Hustle and Bustle
Seems like everyone is looking to take some time off and get away these days, and who can blame them? The world is moving at such a fast pace, not to mention our lives with work, kids, and general responsibilities.
It’s good to know that even if you can’t escape to a beach for two weeks, there’s a place right in our backyard that can rejuvenate your mind (and soul if you swing that way) in only a few hours. It’s called the Self-Realization Fellowship and it’s zen at its best.
The Self-Realization Fellowship is a worldwide spiritual organization founded by Paramahansa Yogananda to preserve and distribute his work toward peace. The Fellowship actually has more than 500 temples, centers, and ashrams worldwide with seven temples located in California, but according to many travel sites, the Encinitas temple is one of the most beautiful.
Located just two blocks off the Coast Highway, the Self-Realization Fellowship Center in Encinitas is a relaxing retreat perched on ocean cliffs overlooking Swami’s Beach (so named for the Fellowship’s ashram center resting above it).
A fixture in the town since 1937 when the Paramahansa Yogananda established the ashram center, the Self-Realization Center now includes the temple, hermitage (religious retreat), meditation gardens and a book/gift store.
The lush gardens overlooking the sea attract the most visitors and are dotted with benches and other resting areas perfect for quiet reflection. The koi pond, waterfalls, and gorgeous tropical scenery add to the general sense of tranquility people say they feel when they walk the gardens.
Once you spot the center’s two golden domes, park and walk through the gate and up with stairs. Soon you’ll enter the gardens and achieve tranquility (one can hope). If the other buildings are open, you may also visit the hermitage (depending on hours), where Paramahansa Yogananda wrote the spiritual classic, “Autobiography of a Yogi” and then make your way to the main temple.
Finally, stop into the Books and Gifts Store to browse all the Self-Realization publications and shop for arts and crafts pieces from India.
The Self-Realization Fellowship Center continues to host retreats, meditations and lectures on its grounds and remains a spiritual sanctuary for many who come to walk its grounds and absorb its founders’ teachings.
If you’re visiting Encinitas or live here and haven’t yet walked the gardens, don’t miss this special place.
Hermitage and Meditation Gardens
215 W. K Street, Encinitas, CA
939 Second Street
Sundays 2:00 – 4:00PM
Tuesday-Saturday 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Sunday 11:00AM to 5:00PM
Check the temple’s website for retreats and other events.
Photo Credit: Andy Cheng Photography * andychengphotography@[email protected]