Kauaʻi's Hindu Monastery

Top choice in Wailua

Serious pilgrims and curious sightseers are welcome at this Hindu monastery, set on 70 acres and surrounded by verdant forest above the Wailua River. The property was an old inn, until the monks bought it in 1966. Now it's a blend of organic and botanical gardens, cascading streams, and sacred temples and shrines devoted to Ganesha, Nandi and Shiva.

While visitors can access a limited area on their own, more detailed guided tours are offered for free once a week – call or check the website for details. Modest dress required: no shorts, T-shirts, tank tops or short dresses. If you're not dressed properly, you can borrow sarongs at the entrance.

The Kadavul Temple (which visitors may not enter, except to attend a 9am daily worship service) contains a rare single-pointed quartz crystal, a 50-million-year-old, six-sided shivalingam (representation of the god Shiva) that weighs 700lb and stands over 3ft tall. Monks have performed a puja (prayer ritual) here every three hours around the clock since the temple was established in 1973.

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