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Light of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), Yogaville
The unlikely setting for New Age Yogaville lies deep in rural Buckingham County. Founded by the late Swami Satchidananda of India, the one-thousand-acre ashram is a training center where followers learn to teach Integral Yoga and individuals come for conferences or to retreat and meditate. The conference center includes guesthouses, dormitories, and a library, as well as conference and meditation buildings. The focal point of Yogaville is the Light of Truth Universal Shrine, or LOTUS, designed by an architect from Florida. An axial processional way leads up to Yogaville's Lotus Temple, which is entered through a curvilinear gateway with a double archway flanking a smaller archway. On the sides of this entrance are a display hall and a reception center. Except for their glass facades, these two rectilinear buildings are hidden by earth berms. Beyond them, a landscaped double path flanks a reflecting pool and continues to walkways to the upper and lower levels of the shrine. A straight walkway leads to the shrine's lower level with its exhibits on various religious ideals. Ascending curved paths branch away and lead to the upper level of the domed lotus-shaped prayer and meditation shrine.
The large dome of the shrine appears to float on the waters of a sixteen-acre lake surrounding it. Italian glass tiles in shades of pink originally delineated the dome's articulated lotus petals but were removed because of water damage and shades of pink paint now take their place. Above these petals, a small gold bulbous dome, glazed and faceted, rests on the sky-blue upper portion of the dome. On the interior of the dimly lit shrine, a column of light streams upward in a tube and then branches downward into twelve neon rays touching altars that represent twelve faiths of the world, all celebrated at Yogaville, where "Truth is one, the paths are many."
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