Photo: Molly Beauchemin

A Camellia Tree Grows in Malibu

For camellia-lovers looking for a beautiful way to spend an afternoon in Malibu, Self-Realization Fellowship’s Lake Shrine is a great option– the peaceful, hidden lake is surround by gorgeous flowering camellia trees and several quiet, contemplative spaces where visitors can experience hidden nature in Pacific Palisades.

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a hidden gem of Los Angeles: the Temple, Shrine, and Meditation Garden offers guests from around the world a quiet oasis for meditation on a beautiful clifftop overlooking Malibu.

Photo: Molly Beauchemin

Dedicated to Parmanhansa Yogananda– one of the first gurus credited with bringing yoga to the West– the garden is the successor location to the Self-Realization Fellowship in Mt. Washington (a working monastery nestled in the San Rafael hills that’s filled with native Southern California plants, which Yogananda established after his arrival to Los Angeles in the 1920’s).

Photo: Molly Beauchemin

A pair of ginormous, rowdy swans and dozens of adorable turtles call the lake home, and when visitors aren’t walking around the shores in pursuit of botanical curiosities (there are mass plantings of naturalized flowers all over the grounds) they can also stop by for tea in the welcome center, or drop in on a meditation class in the temple overlooking the water.

Lake Shrine offers free non-denominational meditation classes in their on-site church, including Beginners’ Meditation, Guided Meditation, Kirtan, and Chanting. Complementary “Friendship Tea” is offered on Sundays at Noon– all the more reason to stop by and smell the camellias.

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For more information on SRF’s Lake Shrine, its meditation gardens, or meditation retreats, visit the organization’s website

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