Self Realization Fellowship: An Oasis between major streets


Self Realization Fellowship Shrine

Pacific Palisades is full of unexpected treasures. A waterfall on top of a mountain, the Eames House, and a place to find peace hiding in plain sight. At times the barrier of finding peace in Los Angeles is locating it in the first place.

From the Pacific Coast Highway you can see the shining white dome of the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, but figuring out how to get to it is a challenge. It sits in a valley surrounded by chainlinked fences, an oasis between major streets. The parking lot sneaks up on you and before you know it, you are driving into the ocean with no place to turn back. Coming from PCH offers an advantage as it is the very first right after Los Liones.

It is a wonder this place is so quiet, the sound of traffic, car radios, and metro buses traveling up and down Sunset Blvd. Inside the valley it is like someone flipped the off switch. A void, a quiet space.

If you were to ever feel so overwhelmed while you are on the westside, The Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine offers places to sit and meditate surrounded by nature. There is so much to take notice of here. Turtles and fish swim in a milky blue lake and there are swans that make the lakeshore their home. During my visit I sat and watched the swans while they were building a nest, extending their necks to their full length looked oddly alien. Across a grassy knoll you will notice an open air temple, with an arch-like chamber at its center. Upon closer inspection you learn that this contains the ashes of Ghandi. (Click the link to learn how Ghandi’s ashes got to Los Angeles in the first place)

It was the hope of the Lake Shrine’s creator to have a place where all denominations could come and communicate with their higher power together whatever that may be. You will notice the symbols of other religions around the property, some optimistically close together.

The shrine, which is up a few steep flights of stairs from the lake offers a communal space to meditate.

Here is a photo series to pique your interest:


Lake Shrine


Fish and turtles in lake


Place to be quiet


Nesting Swans


When: Gardens and Lake-Tuesday to Saturday 9:00- 4:30, Sunday noon to 4:30 closed on Mondays or heavy rains. Check website for shrine hours and to learn more about the man who brought yoga to the United States.

Cost: Free

Ages: All

[Getting there: LA Metro 2/302]

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