San Marga Sanctuary
The straight path to God
Reception Center by the Rudraksha Forest
The Sanctuary will begin with a reception complex on its far north side, reached by a two-lane country highway, only a 22-minute drive from Kauai's Lihue Airport. Between the highway and the planned stone-gated entrance to the Sanctuary path is a majestic grove of sacred rudraksha trees, native to the Himalayan foothills. This is the first rudraksha grove in the Western Hemisphere, a prime example of the Sanctuary's diverse botanical resources. In season, the iridescent blue fruits cover the forest floor. Inside each fruit is a beautiful bead. These are sacred to Saivite Hindus all around the world, cleaned and worn around the neck or used in garlands for japa, meditative repitition of mantras.
Next to the rudraksha forest, which visitors can enjoy today, the master plan for the northern entrance envisions a large multi-purpose building with computer-based teaching tools, as well as solar and wind power generators and other green technologies. Thus, the reception center itself exemplifies the melding of science and spirit, the Indian principle of ahimsa, or nonharming, combined with leading-edge design and technology. It will be nestled into exotic palms, Indian shade trees, tropical garden spaces and open lawns, some with umbrellaed picnic tables. A split-level, finely landscaped parking lot will accommodate cars and buses.
The reception building is designed in a large, semi-Balinese bungalow style, combining carved and timber wood, sheet stone from India, a vaulted entrance gable, wall-size viewing windows and a large verandah facing west toward gardens, water ponds and a climactic view of the highlands and distant mountains. Its interior will be open and airy, with large, decorative columns and wall work in exotic hardwoods and stone. A spacious meeting pavilion, recessed into the main floor, will dominate the right side of the building. A book and gift shop will be integrated into the left reception area, with sofas and chairs for visitors to browse and read books on Hinduism published by the monastery. The reception hall will be staffed by monastics and volunteer hosts to orient visitors, answer questions, provide free literature and Sanctuary maps and offer suggestions based on each one's interests or needs. The building will provide a wide array of educational resources, including book displays, exhibitions, interactive touchscreen kiosks, videos and more.
Special attention will be given to elderly or disabled visitors, making sure they are comfortable and appropriate arrangements made for their journey through the Sanctuary. Small "people-mover" vehicles will be provided for those having difficulty walking, and the various buildings, including the white granite Siva temple at the south end of the Sanctuary, will accommodate wheelchairs.
Changing rooms will be provided for visitors wishing to freshen up and dress in traditional Hindu attire before going to the temple.