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Temple Tour Part 8: The Surfing Temple at Swami Point

Self-realization Fellowship: Encinitas

Koz Mraz



The terrazzo steps are still intact, perched at cliff’s edge like a gateway to the vast expanse of ocean and sky beyond. However, the majestic Golden Lotus Temple once attached to the steps surfed down the cliff at Swamis Point only five years after its construction.

The beautiful Golden Lotus Temple which was a landmark at Encinitas slipped away from its foundations in 1942.  Subterranean earth movement due to seepage of a lake of water under the temple was the culprit.  Before the temple fell, Paramahansa Yogananda was tempted to hold a last Sunday Service there, but refrained from doing so, realizing that the weight of the congregation may cause a major disaster.


Paramahansa and a few other students removed all the valuable statues and gold drapes, carpets, altar pieces, chairs, furniture and gold lamps. Commending the temple to God, Paramahansa left Encinitas. Building movers were scheduled the very next day and he told them they could not be late. The building movers came a day late and watched the temple fall in front of them. 


Despite the absence of a temple, and the passing of Paramahansa Yogananda, the Indian spiritual leader who once meditated there, people from around the world still flock to the scenic grounds of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas. Here they sit quietly by a koi pond, or assume the lotus position by Yogananda’s palm-shaded pool, gazing over the ocean while seeking a greater state of consciousness.


“We don’t keep water in the pool,” said Brother Ramananda, a reverend who has resided at the grounds since 1991. “Engineers have told us it’s too much weight on the bluff and we’ve had some erosion.” 


Below the grounds are two man-made caves with a partition where Yogananda would meditate. Local surfers, spotting Swami Yogananda atop the bluff, with his long, flowing hair and orange robe, gradually changed the name from Noonan’s Point to Swami’s Point.


Self-realization Fellowship (SRF) was founded by Paramhansa Yogananda (1893 to 1952) who came to the US from India to help spread universal spiritual teachings, including the scientific methods of yoga and meditation.  In 1936, Paramahansa Yogananda took up residence at the SRF hermitage in Encinitas.  The red-roofed building on top of the point is the hermitage where Yogananda wrote "Autobiography of a Yogi". This property now includes an ashram and a retreat center. A main temple and an overflow temple are nearby on Second St.  You can’t miss the golden Lotus from South Coast Highway or the passing Amtrak trains.


SRF has over 500 temples, retreats, ashrams and centers around the world and seven temples in California alone.  Mount Washington is the Los Angeles SRF headquarters, the beautiful scenic gardens of Lake Shrine; Temple Tour Part …   Paramahansa Yogananda has a crypt in Forest Lawn in Glendale.


When in Encinitas, lunch right across the street at the original Swami’s Café location. Owner Jaime Osuna together with one chef watched as a street side juice bar mushroomed into a series of restaurants offering varied menu items from the tasty, nutritious Acai Bowl to the mouth-watering Lobster Benedict. Now with nine locations they bring fresh quality foods to all of San Diego.

Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas, California http://www.swamiscafe.com/index.html


1 to 10 Harley Krishna Scale of Kool

Overall: 5 Harley Krishna’s

Location: It gets 5 Harley Krishna’s. Although a beautiful location on the coast, every location on the coast is beautiful.

Magnificence: Again, 5 Harley Krishna’s.  The golden dome archway is punchy from a distance but its all show. The grounds are limited.

Amenities: The bookstore is cool but that’s it.

The Service: Did not attend.

2016 Harley-Davidson Emerald Green Road King: 10 Harley Krishna's



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