Update, December 29th, 2002: Buddha Garden has relocated – please read A Return to Buddha Garden in Second Life for more.
Tucked into the north-west quadrant of a Full region using the private island LI bonus, lies Buddha Garden, a “paradise of pleasure” put together by Gian (GiaArt Clip) and Havih – and a place deserving of its description.
It sits as a quarter-region parcel very much of two parts. To the north and west sits a lowland area, separated from the rest of the land by two channels of water. It forms a broad, flat sandbar of a beach that offers the kind of activities and opportunities one might expect of a tropical beach resort: there’s a beach bar (serving as the parcel’s unenforced landing point), complete with a wooden path that winds its way to where a dance floor sits over the sand. Nearby a deck extends over the shallows, while boats are moored within wading distance of the golden sands. All of which is watched over by the patient form of Buddha sitting in meditation.
On the landward side of the beach, the water channels join at the mouth of a river that runs westwards from where it starts as a series of waterfalls that step their way down from the eastern heights. This river is braced on either side by high rocky plateaux that extend outwards from these eastern and the southern highlands.
These plateaux, together with the grassy lowlands that sit below the southern curtain of cliffs, present a very different atmosphere to the sense of fun, music and dance found on the sandbar beach. Reached via a pair of bridges, these lands are more peaceful and introspective in nature and offer hints of ancient places of worship, and for spiritual activities.
To the south, a further series of waterfalls drop down from the cliffs to reach pools below. Their passage down the rock is watched over by a series of carved seated figures of Buddha, where the pools at their feet are open to visitors. Steps lead up to both, and while one remains in its natural state (and includes a place to sit and meditate), the other has been built out into a place to bathe within the crystal waters falling from above which in turn provide shimmering curtains that front a couple of shallow cavern hideaways.
Between both pools, and tucked against the base of the cliffs sit both a little cuddle spot set beneath the blooms and boughs of a plum tree and – perhaps not so noticeable but worth discovering – a well-like teleport. The latter will carry those who find it up to a skybox gallery hosting Gian’s art, a mix of images and paintings from both the virtual and the physical worlds.
Back on the ground, the tops of the tall plateaux can be reached by winding path and / or stairs, one path marked by a Torii gate, the other leading past more of the secrets within the region – the entrances to tunnels and caverns that run and sit below one plateau and reach back behind the waterfalls that feed the river. I’ll leave you to explore these and what lies within them, and instead turn my attention to the plateaux tops.
Follow the path upwards marked by the Torii gate, and it will lead you by twist and turn up to where a second gate stands in greeting and the gardens continue with blossoming trees, a place of levitating meditation. Beyond it, steps climb upward to a place of refreshment together a small pagoda sitting over a koi pond and further places of meditation and relaxation, all of which sit beneath the blanket of a tropical rain shower.
To the west, beyond the waterfalls and their short river, the lower plateau sits as the home to a further retreat located on its grassy top. Complete with pools of calming water indoors and out, places to meditate or to sit and cuddle – and even a hot tub in which to relax, it makes for a peaceful retreat as it overlooks the beach.
Should the plateaux prove a little too giddy to climb, visitors can take the stepping stones that run up the middle of the river from the beach. They end in another round flagstone offering a levitating experience, whilst on the southern bank of the river a further sanctuary sits, with an outdoor tub and shower and refreshments waiting to be shared within.
Finished with a rich ambient soundscape and with birds and wildlife also awaiting discovery (as well as cats and dogs!), Buddha Garden offers a lot to see and appreciate, complete with secrets and touches to keep a visit entertaining. My thanks to Shawn for the LM and pointer!
- Buddha Garden (Hanging Gardens, rated Moderate)