Wednesday, April 8, 2015
I have a cell phone with no GPS, so when I get lost I must ask real people for directions. Today I was on Route 208 in Walden and couldn't find my street so I turned into Shanti Mandir and went in the reception building. I definitely got more than just directions.
Shanti Mandir has roots in Hinduism. There are three ashrams- in Magod and Kankhal in India, and this one in Walden. The property covers almost 300 acres and offers yoga classes, workshops, teacher training, concerts, and more.
Followers have a charitable focus including a women-empowerment program, a mobile medical clinic with free services for those near the temple in Magod, and eye camps to restore sight to those blinded by cataracts.
I got a tour from a resident, also named Shanti, who took me through the ashram and to the garden set on a portion of the property. The garden lies alongside the Walden-Wallkill rail trail, a popular attraction for walkers and bicyclists. Just in time for spring, an old barn on the property is currently being renovated into living space for guests.
You don't have to be Hindu to visit or participate at Shanti Mandir. All are welcome and there's plenty to see and learn. "With great respect and love, a heartfelt welcome to everyone." -Baba Muktananda
Shanti Mandir Temple of Peace: www.shantimandir.com
Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail: www.traillink.com/trail/shawangunk-walden-and-wallkill-rail-trail.aspx