Ommmm – Fore! Golf Course Planned at Vedic City

By: Jeff Shelley

Golfers frequently attest that golf carries special spiritual significance. Literary works such as Michael Murphy’s acclaimed “Golf in the Kingdom,” the magnificent Irish guidebook, “Links of Heaven,” and Alister MacKenzie’s “The Spirit of St. Andrews” extol the game’s otherworldly virtues. In the 19th hole after a particularly memorable round, who hasn’t waxed existential?

Perhaps we can explore our universes even further now, as the game is going transcendental in Fairfield, Iowa. A couple of miles northeast of Fairfield, already a hotbed for the growing practice of meditation, is a place called Vedic City. The community was built by followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to practice transcendental meditation and to follow a lifestyle crafted by the Maharishi. The buildings contain specific architectural elements that, the followers say, promote health, happiness and good fortune.

Vedic (the adjective of Veda, the Sanskrit word for “knowledge”) City is expanding its horizons. This summer, it also became one of Iowa’s newest tourist attractions. The Jefferson County town offers half-day, guided tours of the city, which contains homes and businesses that all face east and are all topped by odd-looking cupolas.

Residents of the town view the influx of tourists as their effort to reach out to the world. According to an article by Ellen Heath in the August 17, 2003, Des Moines Register, the idea is that people influence each other, and if the people of Vedic City are happy and healthy, they will influence others to be happy and healthy.

Those who take Vedic City tours are invited into the town’s businesses and homes. The business people and homeowners share their enthusiasm with the visitors for their way of life, and talk about why they moved to Fairfield and their quests for a meditative lifestyle.

The residents also discuss the big plans they have for the growing community, which boasts the popular Rukmapura Park Hotel, the Raj Health Center – with a spa and health food restaurant, and a village center. In the middle of each of these Vedic City buildings - as well as all the homes - is an atrium that lets light in and serves as a peaceful, silent core.

The population of Vedic City is now around 200, but 34 additional homes are now being built for the expected new residents. Among the amenities in the all-suite hotel are a small spa with a pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. The town is now planning a golf course that will wind between the hotel and the new chalet-style homes springing up.

Exterior designs in Vedic City vary in style from Tuscan villas to one-story ranches to log homes. Each building is fitted with a little cupola, called a kalash. According to Jonathan Lippman, an architect with Maharishi Global Construction who designs Sthapatya Veda buildings in Iowa and across the U.S., the ornaments “connect the building with the heavens.”

Fairfield and environs contain one of the nation’s largest contingents of Maharishi followers. Even the mayor of Fairfield, Ed Malloy, is a meditator. In each of the two golden-topped domes – one for men and the other for women – in Fairfield’s Maharishi University of Management, upwards of 500 people convene in the morning and in the early evening to meditate together.

Newcomers to the city can also visit such local landmarks as the Vedic Observatory and the Maharishi Vedic Medicine building, which has received funding from the National Institutes of Health. Fairfield is the site of the Brain Research Institute, where scientists are now studying the brain’s creative potential.

The enlightened residents of Fairfield and Vedic City greet each other with open arms and hearty hellos. The people here want a friendly, serene place to live and raise their families, while they continue to explore their inner selves and promote world peace.