SRF MEDITATION GARDEN, Encinitas, CA: A Quiet Haven at the Edge of the Sea

View of the Pacific Ocean from the SRF Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA
Perched on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is a beautifully landscaped garden retreat. Its paths wander through shaded passageways, past a running stream and series of koi ponds, a variety of flower beds and open patios, to spectacular vistas of the ocean and beach below. Throughout there are benches where one can sit and just enjoy the quiet beauty.
Internationally renowned gardens offer a diversity of colorful plants, meditation nooks, koi ponds, and spectacular ocean vistas
The garden is part of the Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple, in Encinitas, California, a coastal community just north of San Diego. In 1938 the Golden Lotus Temple was built by Paramahansa Yogananda on a point of land at the top of the cliffs that is now part of the garden. During the next four years, thousands attended the Thursday and Sunday services conducted by the Guru at this site. However, in 1942 the instability of the cliff required that the Temple be removed. A plaque now documents its location.
Site of the first Golden Lotus Temple
Since 1977 Temple services have been held in the Temple building a short distance from the entrance to the garden. The garden remains as a place where people can enjoy a “a unique inspirational setting where one can pray, study, meditate, or just sit quietly enjoying the expression of God’s beauty in nature.”
Protea flower
I visited the garden last week for the first time with my brother who was visiting San Diego from his home in New York. It was a warm, sunny day and quite a few other people were there as well, but it didn’t seem crowded. We entered through the gate at the bottom of the hill and made our way up the path to the koi ponds.
One of several koi ponds in the garden
We then followed the path parallel to the cliff top, stopping to explore side paths to enclosed patios, an empty swimming pool fronted by a beautiful tiled wall, and the site of the original Golden Lotus Temple, ending in a patio planted with a variety of cacti and plants appropriate to the Southern California climate. Birds were singing and as we gazed at the ocean below we could see dozens of surfers waiting for the next big wave. It was a perfect way to spend the day together.
Garden Entrance
Entry to the garden is free and near the entrance are restrooms and information about the Self Realization Fellowship.
For more about the Self-Realization Fellowship and Paraamahansa Yogananda, often referred to as the “Father of Yoga in the West”, go to the SRF website.
The Meditation Gardens are located at 215 W. K Street (between 2nd and 3rd Streets)
Open Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Monday

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