Sacred Temple Gardens

It is traditional for Hindu temples to cultivate beautiful garden grounds, resplendent with flowers to be offered in holy ceremony, as well as fruits and even medicinal resources. Kauai’s Hindu Monastery has exceeded such aspirations. Over the decades, this oasis four miles from the sea has been transformed from an overgrown jungle to a tropical paradise. It all started with Gurudeva’s 1975 vision of Lord Siva blessing pilgrims amid beautiful groves and gardens. The monks have been working hard ever since to manifest that vision. As the construction of Iraivan Temple progresses, the surrounding groves, gardens and ponds are maturing, with hundreds of blossoming trees, exotic tropical flowers exploding with color and majestic bamboos soaring to 100 feet. Pilgrims may sit and meditate by the 180-foot-wide natural-rock river pond or wander through many discrete mini-environments—the Straight Path to God, Rishi Valley, Bali Hai Falls and the West’s only Rudraksha forest. Walking the Path of the Saiva Satgurus, they encounter eight larger-than-life granite statues of our spiritual preceptors. The gardens are a wonderland of scented plumeria, konrai groves, hibiscus fields, fruit orchids, palm groves, tree ferns, breadfruit, taro, fragrant vines, luscious lilikoi, native species, mosses and ferns, waterfalls, massive banyans and redwood pavilions. Sacred and ayurvedic plants from India and Sri Lanka—bilva, neem, amla, curry leaf, rudraksha, betel, champaka and areca nut—have been brought to the island, along with other important specimens from our culture such as palmyra, sandalwood, durian, mangosteen, chiku, lichee, mango, plantain and jackfruit. The Narmada Stream meanders through the monastery, creating beautiful ponds, falls and secluded marshes, providing refuge for birds and a playground for pastel water lilies and sacred lotuses. Tropical flowers here include 300 varieties of heliconia and ginger, 250 kinds of ti plants, hundreds of exotic palms, a copious collection of aroids and bromeliads—and even, not far from the wettest spot on earth, an arid garden with cacti, agaves and desert succulents. View the Gardens

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