As soon as you enter Crystal Hermitage Gardens, the first small shrine is to the right, tucked behind a welcoming boutique. This holy place is the Ananda Village Reliquary, a small museum and shrine housing many relics from several Indian saints. Built in 1994, the Shrine of the Masters was designed by Nakula Cryer and built by the Ananda Builders Guild. With its little turret and Mediterranean design, the building reflects the Italian look of Crystal Hermitage. 

Two village residents, Lisa and Bajrang Powers, former antique dealers, created the displays of relics that include the Harmonium (Indian musical instrument) that was given to Swami Kriyananda by his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda. Another display holds a wool asan, a shawl, a cane, and a harmonium that belonged to Yogananda. Sacred relics belonging to Yogananda’s mother Gyan Prabha Ghosh include a white marble lidded water pot, earrings, a sari, and an embroidered shawl. There are even two cookie molds that Yogananda’s saintly mother carved. The museum was gifted a pair of shoes, sari, and other items worn by the well-known Indian woman saint Anandamoyi Ma. A sacred bronze water pot belonging to Lahiri Mahasaya, the Indian saint revered by householder yogis, is on display, as well as Lahiri’s college diploma and one of the two original photographic prints of the great yogavatar that were gifted to the museum by his family.

Residents and guests alike have had moving experiences inside this reliquary. Each experience is different, yet a visit and quiet meditation with relics belonging to saints in the Shrine of the Masters can offer a rare encounter on the pilgrim’s journey.

The Village hosts an early morning three-hour meditation every Saturday, and the monks often lead meditation in this sacred space. The reliquary can be visited by the public during Springtime at Ananda and during posted hours when the Shrine of the Masters boutique is open.