Crestone, Colorado

"A Spritual Community Takes Root"

Buddhist Stupa

Location

Crestone, Colorado is a small former gold mining town in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains. Crestone is located south of the state capital, Denver. Crestone is a small mountain town that consists of about two city blocks with a single gas pump, post office, and general store. The population of Crestone is about 150 people, but an additional 1,500 people live in the surrounding area.

A Spiritual Community for Everyone

This small mountainous spiritual oasis is nothing more than a very friendly and tolerant town set in an extraordinarily scenic location. Within the community, dozens of religious faiths and beliefs are welcome and celebrated. Many groups have built temples, altars, chapels, and other religious structures on the land called the Baca, that was donated by a wealthy landowner in the 1970s. These include the Crestone Mountain Zen Center, the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram, the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center, and the Karma Thegsum Tashi Gomang Stupa and Retreat Center. There are spiritual healing centers, Native American organizations, non-denominational centers and spiritually oriented Bed & Breakfasts in the Baca. There are over 12 spiritual retreat centers, as well as convents, monestaries, and learning centers for several faiths.

The Crestone Ziggurat -built by Najeeb Halaby, father of Queen Noor of Jordan.

A Short History

In the late 1970s, a wealthy landowner donated 200,000 acres of land to the town of Crestone to help create a sanctuary for the world's religions. This sanctuary is called the Baca. Different religious groups have moved into the region. The first Tibetan monks arrived in the 1980s. Today, the region supports both the more traditional organized religions and other free- form spiritual groups. Crestone is now home to Tibetan lamas, Christian Carmelite nuns, Islamic Sufis, Jews, Hindus, Zen Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, and Native Americans.

Labyrinth at Temple of Consciousness

Who considers this place sacred?

Anyone and everyone can find spiritual guidance and commadery in Crestone. Crestone is uniquely tolerant and accepting of all faiths and beliefs. There are at least nineteen official groups located in Crestone. It is a great place to learn about new faiths as well since there are many religious scholars and masters living in Crestone. It is not unusual to see Tibetan lamas sharing Christmas mass with the Carmelite nuns, or to see Hindu nuns umpiring local baseball games wearing their saris. At a Native American medicine wheel ceremony during the summer, the offerings to the four directions were made by a Christian nun, a Shinto priest, a Hindu yogi, and a Buddhist nun.

Why is this place sacred to so many people?

According to Rabbi David Cooper, "Crestone is occurring in a strange next step in human spirituality: 'postreligion,' in which one can benefit from religion without being a believer/congregant." Crestone is a place where you can live a spiritual life of meanfulness, mindfulness, compassion, and tolerance without having to join or become a member of a religion. The community itself is very unique in the trust, community feel, and connection to the land and one another.