Trip Date 08/22/2017
Posted On 05/26/2018 00:06:07
Destinations | Walking | Hawaii | Kauai | Tour | Hindu Monastery | Temple | Rudraksha Forest
It is great to have a well planned vacation, however there is also something to be said about being flexible. While being held captive under the cabana near Kalalau Trail during yesterday's downpour, we learned of a local monastery. A visit to the temple came highly recommended by several of our new friends trying to wait out the rain, and since our itinerary was very loosely planned, we were easily able to work in a visit.
Read on for an "off the beaten path" location where you can spend an hour or two in the late morning - either on your own, or on a guided tour if you plan ahead. Admission is free for either tour, however donations are appreciated.
A Little History on the Hindu MonasteryFounded in 1970 as a place for meditation, worship and training of monks by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami ("Gurudeva"), the Hindu Monastery (located at 107 Kaholalele Road; Kapaa, Hawaii) also serves as a religious resource for the world of Hindu. His chosen successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, has served as the spiritual leader since late 2001. Sitting at the foot of an extinct volcano, the forests, gardens, groves, paths, ponds and waterways comprising the sanctuary cover more than 382 acres.
Tours of the Hindu MonasteryA free, two hour guided tour of the private monastery is offered weekly, however since we were late to the game, the only openings for the Wednesday tour were for guests arriving without a car due to parking constraints. As we only had two days left on Kauai, we dressed in our most conservative clothing and drove the short distance for a self-guided tour.
We started our walk through the monastery at Pua Kenikeni Mandapam, the entrance gazebo, where sarongs were available for cover-up to anyone wearing shorts, a tank top or a short dress. It was in this six-sided pavilion where visitors could write down and then burn their problems. Just a short distance further, I rang the bell announcing our arrival at the shrine of Nepalese Ganesha ("Remover of Obstacles" and "God of Good Timing").
A short winding path led us past six meditation platforms to the Indian Banyan Tree where Lord Shanmuga stood with his six faces and twelve arms.
Across the main walkway, we spent some time admiring the statues and reading the many displays in Banyan Mandapam. It was here where we got a brief introduction to the monastery and to Hinduism, and also gained some insight into the Iraivan Temple, currently under construction.
Worshippers may walk through the "Entry Wall and Gate" to attend the 9:00 AM to 10:45 AM daily Siva puja in the Kaduval Temple. Beginning at 10:45 AM, the gate is open until 12:00 NOON to all visitors wishing to explore the grounds.
While wearing shoes was acceptable on the pathway leading toward the Temple Tank (sacred pool with "Om" painted on the bottom), they must be removed when around the Nandi (the 16-ton bull carved from a single granite block), or in front of the Kadavul Temple, which should be entered only for meditation or worship.
The aquamarine colored Andara Stone, on display in the outer sanctum of the Kadavul Temple, was a gift to the monastery in 2006.
Views of the Wailua River, waterfall, Mount Waialeale and the under construction Iraivan Temple could be seen from the Viewing Lookout. I would love to return to the Hindu Monastery on a future visit to Kauai, as the guided tour includes a visit to the distant temple.
Rudraksha ForestDirections to the sacred forest were available at the Minimela Library & Visitor Center, the final stop on the self- guided tour. Before leaving the area, we took the short drive to the Rudraksha Forest, the only grove in the western world. Today's fifty foot tall trees started out as 108 trees planted in 1984 by the hands of the temple's founder.
The trees are nicknamed Blue Marble trees because of the cobalt blue colored fruit produced by the trees. At the time of our visit, the fruits were all a dark gray or black color signifying that the fruits had matured. The matured fruits are soaked in water, and after removal of the cover, the inside beads are used to make jewelry.
Tips for Visiting the Hindu MonasteryHere are a few tips to help you make the most of a tour of the Hindu Monastery:
- If you are interested in a free guided tour, make your reservations (888-735-1619) before heading to the islands. The once per week tours tend to book up early due primarily to the limited parking availability. Booking early will also allow you to better plan around the tour date(s) being offered during your visit. (If you plan to be dropped off at the monastery, it will likely be easier to join a tour at the last minute - as long as one is offered on the day of your visit.)
- For self-guided tours, you still need to plan ahead as the monastery is only open from 10:45 AM to 12:00 NOON.
- Although sarongs are available to use as a cover-up, it is best to pack some conservative clothing for your visit - no shorts, short dresses, t-shirts or tank tops are allowed at the monastery.
- As the tour is a walking tour, wear comfortable and easy to remove walking shoes. As you near the temple, all shoes must be removed.
- Pick up a brochure describing the various points of interest before leaving the entrance gazebo - it will add to your visit, and help to ensure that you don't miss any of the near hidden points.
- If you are interested in seeing the Rudraksha Forest, be sure to pick up a map at the Visitor Center for driving directions.
A Kauai Sugar PlantationIf you enjoy guided tours, check out our post titled, "A Glimpse into Life on a Sugar Plantation" for an overview of the two hour tour that we joined during our week in Kauai.
QuestionWhen given the option of self-guided or tour guide led tours, which do you prefer, and why?
Total Health App steps today: 6,832
Other Recent Posts