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Gazing At The Adiyogi Statue

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The Isha Yoga Centre is nestled in the beautiful hills of Coimbatore, India. The crowning jewel of the property is the Adiyogi Shiva Statue, a grand bust of one of the most revered Hindu God. We were visiting family in the city, so we decided to do a little outing to visit the center, which was only about 15kms from our residence.

How To Get There: While there are direct public buses to the spot, we booked an out-station cab for four hours and it cost us Rs 699, although the driver demanded Rs 200 more, so we ended up paying Rs 900 in total, which is about 12 USD. We picked a week-day (Wednesday) to visit, hoping there wouldn’t be too many people, considering the covid19 pandemic is still lurking around, even though we are all completely vaccinated. Luckily for us, the crowd was thin for a tourist spot and most people were wearing masks.

As far as the Adiyogi Statue is concerned, it’s definitely a sight worth beholding for a while. Smiling against a blue sky, with clouds floating over the hills behind, the bust looks surreal and peaceful. It was raining, we had umbrellas, and the statue glistened under the drops, looking even better.

There is no entry fee to visit the center. Visitors are given paper tokens to go beyond the statue and visit a temple, but there is no fee for the tokens either. The temple is in a separate enclosure, along with a meditation center, so there’s another entrance for them and people cannot take their mobile-phones along. I chose to sit at the benches outside the enclosure, but most of the family went to see the temple and meditated a bit too. “It was very peaceful, we could experience positive vibes” was the general consensus. So it’s probably a great place for those who are spiritual and do yoga. A friend who lived in Coimbatore for a few years had recommended that we take a dip in the water pools at the center, but none of us were interested in wading into a public bathing place, so nobody saw the pools.

Some locals feel that some of the area’s former peace has been robbed off due to the statue’s fame with tourists. Regardless, it’s remains a beautiful property, with hills on three sides. And the clouds feel like they are within your reach. Those interested to stay at the property need to make prior bookings via email or through their help-desk (ishastay@ishafoundation.org – email)

What came as a surprise to us was the fact that the canteen was closed and so was the Pepperwine cafe that’s listed on their website. A handful of small shops were open, but there wasn’t any dine-in place where we could all sit and have lunch. There was a tempting ice-cream shop with interesting flavors on offer, but seeing a visitor feed most of their cup to a stray dog didn’t inspire confidence. Either they love animals or hated the dessert. Who’s to say? So we didn’t eat or drink anything during our visit. Instead we had lunch at a small place that was one kilometer away.

The Adiyogi Statue holds a Guiness book of World records for being the world’s “largest bust sculpture”. And while that makes it a bit of a marvel, I feel like it’s a place worth visiting only for people who already live in Coimbatore or around. Or if you have a long south-India trip planned, and Coimbatore happens to be on the way, then you could make a small pit-stop. Avoid summer months.

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