Taos' Rarest Architecture Series: Hanuman Ashram

One of my favorite rare places in Taos is not just my favorite because it is somewhat rare to find a Hindu temple in New Mexico. Nor is it my favorite because I enjoy friendships with people at the ashram, or because I like going there from time to time to find peace. The Neem Karoli Baba ashram is special to me architecturally because it uses passive solar design, New Mexico traditionally-influenced architecture, and...

tierra blanca and sweet tile details in temple room

It is one of the only places left in New Mexico that features a uniquely local adaptation of the incredible micaceous plaster called Tierra Blanca that has been used in NM for hundreds of years. The plaster is found in the main temple room, a space designed to honor both the teacher Neem Karoli Baba - or Maharaj-ji, as his followers call him - and Hanuman, a monkey-faced god who is worshipped in India as a yogic guardian whose temples protect an area (and pathways and people, too) from evil.

Tierra Blanca is an interior plaster that has a high white clay content, and beautiful shards of mica encrusted in it. It is stunning, especially used in this sacred context. It is also very, very rare to find it being used in modern architecture. Especially public architecture. The clay earth used for the purpose is found just south of Taos.

detail of mica flakes in tierra blanca
If you'd like to see this rare earth plaster, the temple is open every day from 7-9, and all are welcome. (Click on links above for address)

Be sure to grab a cup of chai, enjoy the gardens, and find a moment to take few breaths and just settle in when you visit. This place is magical and healing, and you'll probably feel it.
Just don't take photos, especially of the altars, without permission. (which was obtained for this post)

And for those of you who might be interested in sustainability, the temple also has its own permaculture farm!