Lake Shrine Temple is located off of West Sunset Blvd in Pacific Palisades and it is the perfect place to get away from the traffic, noise, and chaos of LA. I’ve been to this peaceful place before and I love visiting for the day. The Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple really is a place for self-realization.
This place is free to the public and a great spot to reflect on things in your life. Formerly a setting for silent movies, Lake Shrine has many interesting spots to see. There is a temple dedicated to Gandhi and a small shrine where some of his ashes are buried. There is a windmill that used to serve as a home and is now a chapel. There is a waterfall, turtles and swans in the lake, and much more. The special thing about this place is that it is a center for all religions. Each point in the journey represents a different religion of the world: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Encompassing all these beliefs is the meditative practice of Paramahansa Yogananda, a Yogi to whom the place was dedicated. His story is pretty interesting because he believed that the unity of all religions is what is important. You can find out more about him here.
The serene landscape makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another world. If I had more time, I would love to sit on a bench and observe the area, listening to the sounds of creeks and birds, and relax. There are many people who choose to meditate here and I have also seen a lot of people bring their sketchbooks and notepads. I would love to one day bring a notepad and simply write my experiences down while there. The place seems to promote relaxation, tranquility and looking inward. The meditative gardens are so peaceful and a great place to find yourself.
My favorite feature would have to be the windmill. It was built as a replica of a 16th century Dutch windmill and initially served as a home and a movie set. Yogananda later converted in into a chapel where inside there is a place for worship and the faces of important religion figures at the altar. I loved the architecture of it and the small boat dock behind it. It looks like it would have been fun to live in!
Lake Shrine also has a really useful visitor center and a fun gift shop. They have lots of information to offer about the studies of meditation and yoga as well as fun trinkets that represent different religions. I bought a small paperweight with the Hindu om symbol this time around and last time I purchased a candle, bar of soap, and a postcard.
This is a beautiful and serene place to visit and it inspires a lot of creativity and self-reflection. You can find a lot of info on their website if you are curious.
Here is the piece I wrote based on this place. It is about a meditative, ethereal experience and a spiritual awakening, set to the backdrop of Lake Shrine.
Check out the photos below and as always, comments are welcome!