Isha Yoga Center
#5 of 35 Places to Visit in Coimbatore
Distance (From Coimbatore): 32 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): 4 Hours/Half Day
Transportation Options: Bus / Cab
Travel Tips: The accommodation tariff includes two vegetarian meals a day at the Biksha Hall. Visitors are not allowed to take cameras or mobile phones inside the main premises.
At a distance of 16 km from Siruvani Falls and 32 km from Coimbatore, Isha Yoga Center is an ashram situated at the foothills of Vellaiangiri on the outskirts of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India. It is the headquarters for the Isha Foundation and among the top places to visit near Coimbatore.
Isha Yoga Center was founded by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev two decades ago and is administered by the Isha Foundation. Sprawling over 150 acres of lush land, the ashram is dedicated to fostering inner transformation and creating an established state of wellbeing in individuals. The large tranquil residential complex houses an active international community of Brahmacharis who are full-time volunteers. It offers all four major paths of yoga - kriya (energy), gnana (knowledge), karma (action), and bhakti (devotion), drawing people from all over the world as part of Coimbatore tour packages.
Surrounded by thick forests and situated right next to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the center houses the architecturally distinctive Spanda Hall and garden, a 64,000 sq. ft meditation hall and program facility. The first thing that catches visitor's attention at the Center is the 112 feet high bust of the Hindu God Shiva, called Adiyogi. The Guinness Book of World Records has declared it to be the world's largest bust sculpture. The statue is named Adiyogi, which means 'the first yogi' because Shiva is known as the originator of yoga. The height of the statue, 112 feet, symbolizes the 112 ways to attain liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth that are mentioned in yogic culture. The number also represents the 112 energy points in the human body.
The ashram also has a Dhyanalinga, a unique and powerful energy-form sitting under a pillarless 250,000-brick dome structure as well as Theerthakund, a holy underground water body. Measuring 13 feet 9 inches, the Dhyanalinga is the largest mercury-based linga in the world. It is the venue for daily sessions of chanting. At the entrance to the Dhyanalinga is a tall pillar, the Sarva Dharma Stambha that bears the symbols of nine major religions in the world like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism and Shinto religions as a sign of welcome for one and all beyond the religious divide. In front of the temple, there is a statue Nandi - a large metal sculpture of a bull, reclining in a posture that is simultaneously relaxed and alert. This in a way represents the qualities needed to enjoy meditation. Every week, thousands of people converge at this unique meditation center to seek out inner peace and wellbeing.
Another highlight of the place is the temple of Linga Bhairavi Temple, an extremely powerful feminine energy form that is very responsive to people seeking prosperity and well-being. Every full moon night, an elaborate event unfolds at the Linga Bhairavi Temple. The event begins at 4 PM with the Pournami Abhishekam. Eleven elaborate offerings of butter, turmeric, sandal paste, vermilion, red cloth, lamps, flowers, food, betel nut leaves, betel nut, and coconut are made to Devi along with several Aartis. The Abhishekam is followed by the wonderful procession of the Linga Bhairavi Devi. The procession begins in front of the Devi temple and is led by a group of people who serve as a ceremonial guard and accompany the Utsava Moorthi form of the Devi while performing Kalaripayattu, an ancient form of martial arts who serve as a ceremonial guard to the Devi.
The Adi Yogi Alayam and Spanda Hall is the main hall where thousands of visitors gather to learn about the science of yoga and practice accordingly. The Vanaprastha accommodation on the premises was designed to give people with families the opportunity to come and be involved with the center. This place is not religion specific, and this is well-illustrated by the huge white edifice on the outside with symbols of all religions.
The Isha Yoga Center annually hosts Yaksha, a 3-day festival of music and dance. Each day is an exquisite blend of cultural and contemporary arts and showcases an array of vocalists from the Carnatic and Hindustani styles, instrumentalists including Flute, Tabla, and Sarod, exponents of classical dance such as Bharatanatyam as well as folk artists from all around the world. The festival culminates in the night-long celebration of the Mahashivarathri festival - one of the biggest and most significant among the sacred festival nights of India.
Timings: 6 AM - 8 PM for Dhyanlinga, 6. 30 AM - 1 PM & 4 PM - 8 PM for Linga Bhairavi Temple
Entry: Free, Rs. 600 - 1500 per Day for Nadhi Cottages & RS. 2000 - 7000 per Day for Nalanda Conference Center (recommended to book at least two weeks in advance)