If you are visiting the eastern Costa del Sol, you might not anticipate that there is a beautiful Buddhist Stupa within easy reach of the Mediterranean coast.
The first Buddhist Kalachakra stupa built in the western hemisphere can be visited about 40 kilometres east of Málaga, north of the town of Vélez-Málaga, near to the Karma Guen Buddhist meditation centre.
The stupa is not easily seen from the surrounding countryside, so where is it?
About a forty minute drive east of the city of Málaga along the A7-E15 Autovía del Mediterraneo to km 272, take the exit signposted A 356 towards Vélez-Málaga, Viñuela, Colmenar and Zafarraya. Stay on the A356, bypassing the town of Vélez-Málaga and, after about 7 kilometres, turn left at the junction signed towards El Trapiche. Approximately one kilometre further, (opposite the Jardines del Trapiche) there is a small sign on the right for the Karma Guen Buddhist centre. Take this concrete and tarmac road for two kilometres, and then the unmade track up the hill for another two kilometres.
Park and walk through the avenue of pine trees and, all of a sudden, there it is!
Within Buddhism, the Stupa is a symbol of universal peace and unity. It is claimed that they have protective powers and bring about compassion, love and happiness, as well as social, physical and spiritual well-being.
The Kalachakra is the rarest type of stupa. At the present time, there are only five Kalachakra stupas in the world and this one, near to Vélez-Málaga, was the first to be built in the West. It was hoped that building this stupa would help to protect Europe against negative energies.
Just like the famous Boudhanath stupa in Kathmandu, this Kalachakra stupa has eyes painted on it, which is a Nepalese custom.
The journey to see the Kalachakra stupa at Karma Guen is a relatively easy one (bearing in mind the mountain roads) but the views on arrival both towards the mountains and the sea are magnificent.
I often take visitors to see the Stupa because it´s an unusual and memorable place to visit.
Where do you take your visitors that surprises them?
This peaceful post is my contribution to this week´s Travel Theme: White and to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace.
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Ah – thanks for that, Melanie 🙂 I DO try hard to write as though I’m chatting to someone – to make it down to earth, so to speak. I also try to answer questions and respond to comments, but as you clearly appreciate it does take time and effort. It’s worth it though – I love my blog. Thanks for taking the time to get in touch – it’s that kind of appreciation that makes it all worthwhile 🙂 🙂
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Thanks for this. I would probably never have heard of it otherwise. When we make it down to Malaga, it’s definitely on our list!
You’re welcome – hope you enjoy yourselves 🙂
I went to the Stupa yesterday and found it to be absolutely stunning. Did a walking meditation and also managed to take in the impressive view. Thanks for your blog on this.
How lovely! I’m glad you went to the Stupa, Roy, the views are pretty amazing,aren’t they? You had such a perfect day for it, too!
Thanks for letting me know 🙂
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That info on the Buddhist Stupa is amazing, what a beautiful peaceful place. I didn’t know about it on my last visit to the region but it will certainly be top of the list on my next visit. Thanks for posting this.
I´m so glad you enjoyed the post, Roy. I can absolutely recommend a visit to the Stupa. I have visited it on three occasions when we have had visitors staying with us, and on each occasion we were the only people there at the time. There are notice boards to one side explaining the origins of Stupas and their meanings, which makes for interesting reading.
This Stupa is not really visible from the road, so I´m sure lots of people don´t know it´s there – making it all the more special to visit. 🙂
We went to the Stupa in Benalmedina when we were last over, even attended the guided meditation , which we didn’t understand a word of but it was still a great experience . Thanks Marianne for an excellent blog.
Ah yes, I’ve seen the one at Benalmadena from the motorway, as we have driven past on the way to Gibraltar, but never had the chance to get down to it.
Thanks for your kind words – very much appreciate you saying so.
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This is wonderful!
Yes, it is a lovely place to discover – and often comes as a bit of a surprise 🙂
Lovely photos and congrats on Blogger of the Month 🙂
Thank you very much, it was a lovely surprise.
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Great to be featured as BLOGGER OF THE MONTH for September 2012. Welcome to the AUTHENTIC Costa del Sol 🙂
Lovely photos! I was here for a meditation retrait a few years ago, but didn’t take any photos 🙂 Nice to see it again
Oh that´s great! How was the retreat? Would you recommend it?
It was during a visit of the Karmapa of Tibet. I spend two full days of meditating with him and a couple of thousand of other followers of Diamondway Buddhism.
The experience was very interesting. The meditation for hours on end was tough, but the energy of all those people there was tangible.
What a wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing that 🙂
You’re welcome 🙂
OK, I have a weakness for anything Buddhist, but this is very well done – I like the way you introduce and guide us to the subject, then through it.
Beautiful, isn´t it?
Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate your input as it helps me to write better posts 🙂
…and I really love the prayer flag close-up.
Me too 🙂
Such a beautiful spot for shrine! I wish I’d known of this when I visited the Costa del Sol. It would have been well worth a brief detour to see this stupa. Thanks, Marianne, for taking me there.
Many locals don´t even know about this Stupa, John, so it´s not surprising you missed it. Ah well, there´s always next time! 🙂
It does look so unique! And stupa? Whattaword! Hehe. 😀
Visitors and locals of East of Malaga are so blessed with your blog. You’ve given them fruitful of information and tips.
Thanks Rommel for your very kind comments 🙂
How lovely! 🙂
Thanks very much.
looks beautiful and peaceful 🙂
It really is, Joshi. Very calm, quiet and inspiring.
Truly wonderful … I am quite ‘jealous’ really -:))!! However, I have nominated you for The Liebster blogging award! If you choose to participate the rules can be found here: http://wp.me/p2v1s2-zj
Daniela of the Lantern Post!
Thanks for your comment, Daniela.
I am honoured that you have chosen to nominate me for the award, which is now proudly displayed on my “Recognition” page.
Your continuing support for my blog is greatly appreciated 🙂
Maybe Marianne, this could be our meeting point 🙂 x
Nice blog and digital pictures. Thanks for sharing.
You´re welcome 🙂
Can’t wait to see your next blog!
I never knew this existed, I have to tell my mum about it, she´d absoultely love to visit it! Might do it the next time she visits me in Córdoba! Great post, the photos are fantastic! Giana 🙂
Oh yes, do tell her – it´s a fantastic place to visit. So peaceful 🙂
Have always wanted to track it down and now I can!
You can have a look when you visit Lake Viñuela 😉
Beautiful images. Wonderful that the Stupa it is so hidden but so stunning whe you come across it. It certainly looks like it has the power to protect against negative energies.
It´s all the more special because of being hidden.
Thanks for your comment, EllaDee, and for your continued support for my blog. 🙂
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“Unusual” indeed is the word I would also use to describe the stupa. I was quite taken aback by the shot of the stupa with the eyes, but I love how you described each photo. Learning about other cultures through photos is always an eye opener. Thanks for sharing Marianne! =)
I agree Fats – no matter how eloquently the description – the photographs truly tell the story 🙂 That´s mostly how my blog rolls – you´ve nailed it!
Thanks for your comment and for your continued support of my blog. Much appreciated.
All glorious photographs. The stupa with the sea in the background is my favourite. And the prayer flag with the swift accomplishment of wishes. The serenity of the environment shines through your photographs. Thanks for sharing this beautiful part of the world.
Thanks – that is one of my favourite photos too, with the sea in the background. I´ve been to the stupa three or four times and each time we have been the only people there. It´s always so quiet and private. I don´t think many people know it´s there, because it´s difficult to see from nearby roads. All the better to visit 🙂
Your photographs are, as always, beautiful, a lovely distraction, a momentary holiday in my every day. And how surprising to find a Buddhist stupa in your neck of the woods!
Thanks Sally, you are too kind 🙂
It was a surprise when I first found out there was a Stupa so near to where we live. There is another one, even bigger, on the other side of Málaga in a place called Benalmadena – but ours was there first 😉
Gorgeous photos! Perfect for the Peace Day!
The International Day of Peace proved to be the perfect way to show off the Buddhist Stupa. thanks Amy 🙂
I just love those painted eyes Marianne…really love them
Yes, they are quite special, aren´t they?
I had never heard of a stupa. Thank you for enlightening me.
You are most welcome 🙂
Lovely. Now I know where to find my *peace* related White Theme photos. Buddha really oozes peace and so do the stupas. Great concept, greater pics.
What a lovely compliment, thank you 🙂
I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.
a serene stupa
Certainly is! Thanks 🙂
Fabulous photos, what an amazing place!
Yes, it really is a special place, Gilly 🙂
wonderful post marianne, a powerful stupa for these times of change, thank you 🙂
Thanks for your comments Christine, and I hope your European holiday is proving to be everything you hoped it would be.
yes it certainly is! thanks marianne 🙂
wonderful post marianne, a powerful stupa for these times of change, thank you for sharing this 🙂
Stunning images for the peace theme, Marianne. 🙂
Thanks AD – I had to share these, today 🙂
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So beautiful shots… 😉
Glad you enjoyed them 🙂
Looks so beautiful and so peaceful.
It is. I love the contrast of the white against the stunning blue sky 🙂
That contrast always works so well! Maybe it’s that pure white goes so well with any other colour? Do you think your hairy caterpilars haunt the pine tress there as well, or are the sort of behaved and on their best behaviour around the Stupa?
Yes, I think you´re right – pure white does go so well with any other colour.
I would think the processionary caterpillars would have a field-day here (or would that be a pine-tree day?), without the slightest respect for where they are!
I regularly visit the Stupa in Benalmadena which is a wonderful place to reflect and renew, but I didn’t know about this one in Velez, thank you, its now on my “must go see” list!
It´s well worth a trip, Lindsay, and on each occasion I have visited, we have been the only people there. It´s very peaceful with the most spectacular views 🙂
I´ve seen the one in Benalmadena from a distance – one of these days I´ll get to visit it close-up.
Very cool! I love Buddhist stupas, temples, everything Buddhist!
So do I – they seem to emit waves of calm and peace 🙂
Beautiful photos and so appropriate for this weeks white and peace theme
Thank you for your kind comment – much appreciated. It´s a lovely theme this week, isn´t it? I´m looking forward to seeing how people interpret it.
So am I, I’m still searching for my photo of white
Beautiful, Marianne, especially against that deep deep blue of the sky! A perfect contribution to the peace theme 🙂
Thanks Meredith – I couldn´t resist this one 🙂