A Visit to Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles

Set a world away from the bustling attractions of Los Angeles, the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine bestows on you peace and tranquility.

Last updated: April 24, 2024

Asian temples in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
A visit to the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine – A Hidden Gem in Los Angeles

Itineraries of first-time visitors of Los Angeles are pretty predictable: the Hollywood & Highland area with its world-famous Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, the Getty Center, and the Griffith Observatory, topped off with a mandatory picture of the Hollywood Sign. Not enough time and often the lack of information deprives these oblivious travelers of exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations in and near the city.

When it comes to the hidden gems near Malibu, a coastal city west of Los Angeles, my number one suggestion is the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine or simply Lake Shrine.

Located in Pacific Palisades, just a few blocks away from the Pacific Ocean, the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is one of the most stunning Asian temples Los Angeles has ever seen. A remarkable spirituality sanctuary infused with natural abundance, the place consists of the main temple and the Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens.

Self-Realization Fellowship Temple

The magnificent white temple sits on top of a hill, overlooking the lake and grassy knolls of Pacific Palisades. The temple has a spacious courtyard with a beautiful little fountain that serves as a place for social gathering.

Services and any celebrations take place in a large sanctuary and a hall for special events. Visitors that are interested in learning more about the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, its history and mission are welcome to visit the Bookroom. The place is open every Sunday at noon after the sermons are over. The stunning temple deserves at least a short visit, but my favorites are the Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens.

Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens

Entering the Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens, you immerse into an oasis of peacefulness, relaxation, and silence. Soothing flow of the water that drops from tiny shrines spread around the gardens sets the mood. Abundant flowers and trees conceal the lake from the outside world. Small, colorful benches, tucked in small alcoves created by the lush vegetation, invite you to sit down and meditate.

Many visitors of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine respond to these quiet calls and empty their minds and hearts even if it’s just for a few minutes. Normally, I find it a little bit awkward when people sit in lotus poses and meditate in public places. But in these enchanting gardens, everything and everybody blend in harmony.

Treasures of the Gardens

The gardens have a few remarkable features. One of the most important of them is the Golden Lotus Archway. Designed by the founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship Center, Paramahansa Yogananda, as a “wall-less temple”, the structure towers over the lake and is visible from everywhere in the garden.

Right behind the archway is the Gandhi World Peace Memorial, the world’s first monuments erected in honor of the Indian leader of peace and freedom. The memorial contains a portion of Gandhi’s ashes.

Continue walking down the narrow pathway that circles the lake until you reach a houseboat. Offering a full view of the lake, the sheltered space with benches inside is often used for small group meditations. The official meditation sessions take place inside an old Dutch windmill, converted into a Chapel for Silent Meditation and Contemplation.

Near the entrance to the gardens nestles Lake Shrine Gift Shop where the visitors can purchase pretty gifts imported from India. The second room of the store serves as a museum that tells the story of Paramahansa Yogananda and showcases some of his earthly possessions. The museum is free to visit Thursday through Sunday, from 12:00 pm to 4:40 pm

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Mini shrines in the Meditation Gardens

How to Visit the Self-Realization Fellowship Center in Los Angeles


17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Temple Hours

The temple is open every Sunday. No reservations are required. Parking is available in the Temple parking lot.

  • 9:00 am – First Inspirational Lecture Service
  • 11:00 am – Second Inspirations Lecture Service
  • 12:00 pm – Bookroom opens

Meditation Gardens Hours

Prior reservation is required. Reservations for the following week open Saturday morning at 10:00 am.

  • Open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Arrival times at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Asian sanctuary in Los Angeles

Lake Shrine Visitor Guidelines

  • The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles is a sanctuary of peace and meditation. So keep your voice down.
  • Don’t bring food or any beverages other than bottled water.
  • Dress appropriately. No beach attire (it may be tempting, though, since the ocean is just around the corner).
  • You can take only personal photos at the Lake Shrine in Los Angeles. No drones, tripods, or professional shoots, however.
  • And please leave your pets at home.
Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Hidden lake gardens in Los Angeles

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