Morning Retreat at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery


This image I took was the first to capture Lord Shanmuga’s multi-colored appearance which became evident upon the pruning of the banyan tree which surrounds him.

One could say that visiting Kauai is a spiritual experience. Just being on the island really is a breath of fresh air for the mind, body and spirit. Among Kauai’s abundant hidden gems is a (very) quietly tucked away Hindu Monastery and for me, no Kauai trip is complete without a morning there. While it’s not a touristy place, all visitors are welcome to benefit from the peaceful and spiritual settings whether for reflection, appreciation or meditation.

Kauai_Hindu_Monastery-entrance 2

Kauai’s Hindu monks aspire to live with compassion, understanding, and love, and to transform the world with goodness.

On the banks of Kauai’s Wailuā River this incredibly lush property covers nearly 382 acres of gardens, buildings and sculptures which are an excellent example of a harmonious marriage between man and nature. The 20 monks from 6 nations which reside here are entirely self-sufficient and grow their own food including the Hawaiian noni fruit which has numerous health benefits. They are also quite tech-savvy given that this is the headquarters for the Himalayan Academy, the worldwide publication Hinduism Today Magazine, and their modern website and blog.

In a recent interview for the magazine FLUX Hawaii, a monk known as Paramacharya Sadasivanatha Palaniswami said, “Once you’ve embraced, with both arms, the life we have on this island, and the life we have in serving our faith and exploring the depths of our own humanity and our own consciousness, you realize it’s a pretty good trade-off. You couldn’t invent a life that is more perfect.”

While they have a small temple for prayer and meditation, a much larger structure known as the Iraivan Temple has been under construction since 1990. It is being made entirely of hand-carved white granite and will eventually house the monastery’s very rare 700-pound quartz crystal. Please take a moment to enjoy this brief video captured by drone which shows the landscapes surrounding the Iraivan Temple, courtesy of the monastery:


Just when you are feeling nestled among the lush flora, you peek out beyond the gardens and enjoy a vista of the Wailua River, a small waterfall and pond. The untamed jungle and waterfall are truly breathtaking.


These gardens include some 250 cultivars of ti plants, 5-600 kinds of palms and many plants from India that are important to the tradition.


Standing amidst a giant banyan tree is a granite sculpture of the six-faced Deity, Lord Shanmuga.


Meet designed and care for the small cactus gardens

Meet Paramacharya Sadasivanatha Palaniswami, who shared a moment with me and revealed that he designed and cares for the beautiful cactus gardens.



As always, thank you for visiting.

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Meet Suzette
suzetteHoly crap, you found me. That’s fantastic. I’m Suzette and I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve built a successful career as a travel photographer where I have the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, and run this blog where I share inspiration for YOUR travel photography. This website is specifically for those of us who love to wander with our cameras. We take it slow. We are curious. We love nature and the outdoors. Most of all, we love taking great photographs.

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