Home to the Lotus Parnasala, a 90 foot lotus shaped white-marble monument, Santhigiri Ashram is one of Kerala's most visited spiritual havens. This summer, the abode of the white lotus again takes centre stage as the world-renowned centre of trans-religious spiritualityplays host toSanthigiri Fest 2012 a 50 day culturalextravaganza and shopping pageant.
'Through the Fest, the Ashram hopes to build an atmosphere of cooperation and brotherhood beyond the borders of caste and religion, and bring together representatives of all religious and political affiliations under a common platform', says Santhigiri Ashram Organising Secretary Swami Gururethnam Jnana Thapaswi.
The event will also be a platform for promoting regionaltrade and commerce, promoting local entrepreneurship, dissemination ofinformation, supporting initiatives with a social cause, encouraging sustainable development and environment friendly innovations and for preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of our country.
Inaugurated on the 12th of April by Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Sri Mahadeo Singh Khandela, the Santhigiri Fest 2012, hosted in a sprawling campus spread over 50 acre land adjacent to the ashram's Lotus Paranasala, opens up new avenues of fun, shopping and insight to the visitors. In addition to the hundreds of commercial stalls and exhibition galleries by State and Central Government Agencies, the Indian Armed Forces etc., there are cultural festivals, book fairs, agricultural exhibitions, food fests andeducation exhibitionswhich are among the highlights of the event. The fest is being organised as part of the 13th Nava OliJyothirdinam functions commemorating the merger of the Ashram's founder Guru, NavajyothisreeKarunkara Guru, in the Primordial Consciousness.
Santhigiri Fest village, already a popular destination, has somethingprobably no other fest of its kind can boast of - an artificial lake spread across two and a half acres right in the middle of it. With swaying coconut palms, a seventy-foot lighthouse and a life-sized ship by the picturesque lake, the surroundings of the once-abandoned rock quarry has now been transformed into postcard scenery. With the Lotus Parnasala at a distance in the background, it looks almost like a serene pond from which the enormous white lotus has bloomed. The erstwhile rock quarry with steep, menacing rock-faces, has been barricaded with a metal fence and the sides braced up with stone masonry to convert it into a model rain water harvesting project.