Adiyogi Shiva Statue in Tamil Nadu

Adiyogi Shiva Statue | What It Is And What To Expect

In southern India, nestled in the foothills of the Velliangiri mountains in the state of Tamil Nadu, is Adiyogi Shiva Statue, an immense statue of the God Shiva depicted as Adiyogi – the first yogi, from whose divinity yoga took birth. The statue and surrounding facilities are designed to inspire people towards well-being through yoga. And although Shiva is the highest force in Hindu religion, known as the Supreme Lord who creates, protects, and transforms the universe, Adiyogi does not represent any one religion, culture, or race. According to Sadhguru (the founder of Adiyogi), “This is not a deity, this is not a temple of some kind, this is an iconic inspiration for people.” It’s a space for transformation and empowerment with all spiritual seekers are welcome. This post covers Adiyogi Shiva Statue, the Isha Yoga Center, what to expect when visiting, and where to stay.

Adiyogi Shiva Statue in Tamil Nadu
Adiyogi Shiva Statue

Adiyogi Shiva Statue

Who Is Adiyogi?

Adiyogi, represented in the monumental, matte-black, steel sculpture, means “first yogi”, with adi meaning “first”. In yogic lore, the God Shiva is considered the first Guru of yoga. When you see the statue in real life, you are immediately drawn to it, sitting serenely in front of the mountainous landscape, and you immediately want to know more.

The story is that over 15,000 years ago, Adiyogi attained full enlightenment, abandoning himself to an intense ecstatic dance in the Himalayas. When his state of enlightenment peaked, he became beyond movement; he became utterly still.

Many people, awed by his achievement, wanted to know how he did this. After many years, he eventually shared his wisdom with “seven sages” or Saptarishis. These Saptarishis then traveled and shared the knowledge of yoga and its benefits around the world.

Who Built Adiyogi? And Why?

Adiyogi, built by the founder of the Isha Foundation, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, was developed as force towards self-transformation and inner well-being. The site in Tamil Nadu was inaugurated in 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The complex, the stories behind everything that is here, and the intensity and passion that has been invested in them move you into inner reflection.

I watched an interesting video on Sadhguru where he said, “So, the idea is to create as many consecrated spaces as possible, …because ultimately that is the most impactful way of transforming human life on the planet that you let it seep into people, not as a teaching, not as a philosophy, but just a very air that they breathe is transformative in nature…” I think he has been successful as you feel this when you visit. It’s a place that lingers in your mind for a long time to come. Ultimately, however, it is up to you what you do with these feelings and thoughts, and what you learn here.

Sadhguru is considered a spiritual master, a yogi, and a visionary. He has been teaching yoga since the 1980’s and is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide To Joy and Karma: A Yogi’s Guide To Crafting Your Destiny. He also wrote Adiyogi – The Source of Yoga.

The complex at Adiyogi contains many consecrated spaces, each designed around detailed stories and practices. It’s the first of several planned statues and complexes, including Mumbai, Delhi, and Varanasi. There are also programs of yoga and inner engineering offered here, as well as around the world.

If you want to participate in a program with Sadhguru, see his schedule at

What To Expect At Adiyogi

Adiyogi Shiva Statue

Upon arrival, you’ll see lush coconut groves and palm tree farms at the base of the Velliangiri mountains of the Western Ghats.

From the parking lot, it’s a short walk to the impressive Adiyogi Shiva statue. Built of steel, and noted as the largest bust in the world by Guinness World Records, the statue stands at 112’. Its height symbolizes the 112 ways a human being can reach their full potential, achieve liberation, or moksha, and the 112 chakras, or points of focus in the body used for meditation. The message is “In” is the only way Out.” – Sadhguru.

His necklace, a Rudraksha Mala (the largest in the world), contains over 100,008 rudraksha beads. Rudraksha means “Tears of Shiva”. These beads are replaced annually and consecrated. The previously consecrated rudraksha beads, which allows one to receive the grace of Adiyogi, are often gifted as blessings to devotees.

The crescent moon on Adiyogi’s head represents his control over all celestial objects, while the snake coiled at his neck represents the divine energy present in all living creatures. It also shows that Shiva has overcome all his desires and is in full control of Maya (illusion) and it’s various machinations. He is called “Mahakaal” the one who is above and beyond kaal (time).

The small shelter in front of Adiyogi contains sculptures representing the seven Saptarishis and the Yogeshwar Linga. The name Yogeshwar means “Lord Krishna; Lord Shiva”.

Yogeshwar Linga, just one of several lingas consecrated by Sadhguru at Adiyogi, was consecrated as a manifestation of five of the major chakras of the human system. Devotees can make offerings of water and neem leaves to the linga.

According to Sadhguru, the consecration ceremony, called prana pratishtha, made Adiyogi a living entity. This video helps explain what a consecration ceremony is about.

Consecration Ceremony

Isha Yoga Center

Many visit Adiyogi to see the iconic and serene statue, yet, Adiyogi is so much more. It’s a complex full of powerful and moving spaces. This is also the site of the Isha Yoga Center, headquarters for the Isha Foundation. The word isha means “the formless divine”.

This non-profit foundation operates an ashram and yoga centre for educational and spiritual purposes.

The center is a short walk from the statue of Adiyogi, with Dhyanalinga (see below), a powerful meditation space, as one of its highlights. This space welcomes all religions, races, and cultures, as the entire site of Adiyogi does.

The gate to enter the center is unique, featuring a giant twisting snake, as in yoga, a coiled snake symbolizes kundalini.

After entry into the gate, turn to your right. You’ll pass shops on your left and eventually come to a place where you watch a short video on the Isha Yoga center (and check your shoes). The video is available in both Tamil and English.

Note that you can not bring mobile phones or cameras past the gate. You will be shown where to safely check them for your visit.

Dhyanalinga Temple

One of the main focal points of the Isha Yoga Center is Dhyanalinga, a powerful meditation shrine with the world’s largest mercury-based linga at its center. This linga was consecrated by Sadhguru in June, 1999 after three years of intense prana pratishtha. It contains the seven chakras, or energy centers, which represent the seven dimensions of life, each raised to their highest peak. According to Sadhguru, you do not need to know how to meditate to feel its power and enter a meditative state.

While all chakras are available every day of the week, there are certain days where each chakra is dominant. The Isha Foundation provides more details on this cyclical system in this link at

The dome of the Dhyanalinga shrine is 76’ in diameter and 33’ tall, made of 250,000 bricks without cement, mortar, or a single pillar of support. Water drips from the gold-plated copper dome hanging over the linga which enables the meditator to more easily receive energies from the linga.

As you walk down the aisle leading to Dhayanalinga, note the walls to the left and right. On your left is the statue of Patanjali, the father of modern Yoga. On the right is the Vanashree shrine, the feminine deity of the Dhyanalinga and a counterpoint to the Patanjali.

The Theertakunds, or Energizing Pools

Prior to entering the Dhyanalinga for meditation, there are two Theertakunds, or subterranean tanks with solidified mercury lingas immersed in the water. Submersing yourself in these pools, with the rasalingas consecrated by Sadhguru, enhance your spiritual receptivity before entering Dhyanalinga. They are designed to correct pranic imbalances, improve physical and mental well-being, and melt away karmic blocks.

There is an energizing pool for women, Chandrakund, and for men, Suryakund. Both energizing pools are calm and quiet spaces, suitable for meditation.


Chandrakund, the energizing pool for women, is submerged 30’ below ground. There are 32 steps leading down to it. One rasalinga, consecrated with more feminine energy, sits in the center of the pool.

Above the pool is a brilliant mural depicting Mahakumbha Mela, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage and celebration that includes bathing in a sacred river.


Suryakund, the energizing pool for men, is larger, with three rasalingas. These rasalingas are consecrated with more masculine energy. Suryakund, submerged 20’ below ground level, has many steps down to it. Above the pool is a brass and copper sculpture of the sun.

Preparing for The Theertakunds

To prep for the pools, you are given a cloth to change into. After donning the cloth, you shower (while wearing it). You are then a walked to the energy pool. Everyone’s experience here is different, but many silently congregate around the rosalinga(s).

After spending time in the energy pool, you change back to your regular clothing and walk over towards the Dhyanalinga. You may need to wait before entering the Dhyanalinga, depending on your timing, as you enter in groups. At least we did.

Linga Bhairavi

The Bhairvari Linga expresses the Divine Feminine, the ultimate manifestation of the Mother Goddess. The energy from this Linga, also consecrated by Sadhguru, gives it the energy to strengthen three basic Chakra’s in the human system, stabilizing the body, mind, and energy system.

Linga Bhairavi |

There are rituals to assist with every step in life, from birth to death.

Nandi Statue

A statue of Nandi, the black bull, sits near the Dhyanalinga. Also called Sri Nandeshwara, Nandi is Shiva’s animal form, his means of transportation, and his most ardent worshiper.

Trimurti Panel

The Trimurti Panel, located by the Dhyanalinga, represents the three fundamental dimensions of human consciousness in the form of three large faces: Rudra, Hara and Sadashiva.

Rudra is an intense state of existence, Hara is the quality of meditativeness, and Sadashiva is a happy, loving state of being.

Meals And Snacks

There is a restaurant just outside the Isha Yoga center, Moodraam Pirai Eatery, with a variety of dishes, snacks, teas, and coffee. There is also a shop nearby with fresh coconut water. Both perfect for a snack after meditation.

Yoga Sessions

There are also free yoga sessions daily at Adiyogi. Please visit the Isha Foundation for more details on events, times. When I visited, Upa-Yoga and Isha Kriya was offered from 9:30 onwards in Sadhana Hall 1. Aumkar Meditation was offered from 12:30 to 1:15.

Adiyogi Divya Darshanam

At night, the Adiyogi Statue turns into a 3D laser light and sound show explaining who Adiyogi is and his contribution to humanity. This 15-minute show is enlightening and beautiful. If you do not know much about the history of Shiva and Adiyogi, I highly recommend it.

The images above portray the aspect of Shiva called ardhanarishwara, where he is part man and part woman, as each human bears the potentiality of both male and female attributes.

Hours And Admission

The Adiyogi Shiva Statue is open 6 AM to 8 PM, although hours may vary on holidays and at special events. Make sure to check the website for details.

Admission is free, although there is a small fee to enter the Suryakund and Chandrakund energizing pools. Admission may vary for special events and festivals. There is also a small fee for parking.

To get the entire experience, expect to stay at Adiyogi for 2-3 hours. Longer if you also want to experience the evening laser light show, which starts at 7 PM.

Rooms are available at the Ashram for those enrolled in yoga meditation training as well as for volunteers, which there are many of at Adiyogi. Check the Isha Foundation website for more details.

Best Time To Visit Adiyogi

The best time temperature-wise to visit is winter, December to March, when temperature maximums are 59-68 F (15-20 C). Summer, March through the end of May, can be quite warm and is usually sunny. Monsoon season, June to September, provides lots of rain and humidity. October to November also has a lot of rain.

Special Events And Festivals

There are many special events and celebrations at Adiyogi. Below is just a highlight of a few. Please check the Isha Foundation for details on dates and times as well as a list of all the events.


MahaShivaRathi, an annual celebration of the marriage of a Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, is one of the biggest and most popular festivals. This even lasts all night, with 12 hours of mediations, discussions, performances, and dance. Thousands attend this event live, so if this is in your plans, make sure to get your ticket well in advance. A video of the 2022 event is below.

Yaksha, an event of several days, directly precedes MahaShivRatri, including music and dance performances.


Amavasya And Purnima Days

Amavasya and Purnima days are monthly events. The date of the new moon is Amavasya and the date of the full moon is Purnima. On these days, one can personally make an offering of ksheera (milk) or jala(water) upon the Dhyanalinga.

Dhyanalinga Consecration Anniversary

Annually, on June 24, there is an event to celebrate the anniversary of the consecration of Dhyanalinga. Since one cannot take photos inside the Dhyanalinga, I added this video from the Isha Foundation.

Dhyanalinga Consecration Anniversary

Staying At The Isha Yoga Center

You can stay at the Isha Yoga Center, although this must be booked in advance. These rooms are only available for married couples, families, and single people. 

Contact them via email at after you make your travel plans. Then they will send you a form to fill out. If space is available, they will let you know.

How To Get to Adiyogi


The closest airport is in Coimbatore, where flights arrive regularly from Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. From the airport, you can drive or take a taxi. The drive, or taxi will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

If you fly into Kochi airport (COK), which is an International airport, the drive to Adiyogi Shiva Statue is 3 to 3 and a half hours.


Local buses frequently transit the route from the Gandhipuram bus stop, in Combiatore, to the Adiyogi complex and back. The ride is about 1 hour and 30 minutes, however, delays are possible with buses in India. The bus schedule is here.


I highly recommend a visit to see the Adiyogi Shiva Statue, the evening laser light show and experience the Theertakunds and Dhyanalinga. Especially if you are in the vacinity. The complex is enlightening, offering a persective and reflection on life that all faiths can appreciate.

To learn more about their many programs and volunteer opportunities of the Isha Foundation, see or contact In addition to the programs here in Tamil Nadu, there are also programs around the world.

Palm Farms near Adiyogi Shiva Statue
Palm Farm Near Adiyogi

Want To Read More About India?

India has so many incredible destinations!

As I came to India for a wedding in Palakkad, I spent some time afterwards visiting the sites in the State of Kerala, which is the state west of Tamil Nadu and Adiyogi. Called “God’s own country”, there are some spectacular places to visit.

Kochi, called the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is an excellent place to spend a day to two. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive west of Adiyogi Shiva Statue. This multicultural city in India is the first city that Europeans stepped foot in, full of old-world colonial architecture, its renowned Chinese fishing nets, and fascinating history.

Palakkad, northeast of Kochi, is full of lush green rice fields, rolling, misty mountains, large reservoirs and dams, and historical monuments. Here are also many great day trips from Palakkad, that are also options for day trips form Adiyogi.

If you have time, the Kerala backwaters are a great retreat into nature. This is a vast network of lakes, lagoons, and canals lined with palm trees stretching from Kochi, all the way down to Kollam.

Munnar is another top destination in Kerala, and one of my favorite, with stunning, brilliant green tea plantations on rolling hills leading up to the incredible views at its hill stations and mountain peaks. The views are so beautiful, this area is called the Kashmir of South India.

Jaipur, I’m the state of Rajasthan is amazing. Its sumptuous palaces, fascinating forts, and incredible royal history is riveting. It’s a city that you will always remember.

And, of course, the Taj Mahal, in Agra, is something you just can’t miss when in India. See my Top Tips for Visiting the Taj Mahal and the Top 10 Things to Do In Agra.

Safe Travels!


Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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