A hidden Los Angeles sanctuary

Lake Shrine Temple and Retreat, Los Angeles
Lake Shrine Temple and Retreat, Los Angeles

The serene Self-Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, dedicated by the famous Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, is a beautiful 10-acre property landscaped with trees and flowers from around the world. You can't see the property from Sunset Boulevard, as it's hidden by thick foliage, but it's worth seeking out -- it's a great spot for tourists to experience a different side of LA. Visitors can take one of the daily tours to learn about the site's rich history; meditate in one of the shrines; or visit the portion of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes at the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial, which sits on a gorgeous lake with swans, ducks and koi fish.

The 4,000-square-foot temple is located on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and is decorated with hand-crafted stained glass, wood and ceramic tile. Though the temple was built in 1996, the lake and structures surrounding it are close to 100 years old. Besides the temple, visitors will see a house boat, a Dutch windmill, and more.

Other highlights include the gift shop, where you can purchase arts and crafts from India; a Court of Religions, honoring the five principle religions of the world; a museum exhibiting Yogananda's work; and regularly scheduled classes for group meditation, religious studies, and yoga. Parking is free, and the lot is large.

Lake Shrine Temple; 17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272; 310-454-4114

-Lesley Bracker

[Photo Credit: jenlund70/Flickr]

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