Crestone, Colorado

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Crestone is a statutory town in Saguache County in Southwestern Colorado, United States. The population was 73 at the 2000 census. wiki

A report from the New York Times in 2008 notes:

"At 8,000 feet on the edge of the desert plains of the San Luis Valley beneath the Sangre de Cristo Range, this town and its environs have about 1,500 residents and two dozen different religious centers, including a cluster of Buddhist monasteries, a Catholic monastery, a Taoist retreat, a Hindu ashram, a Shumei center and several American Indian sanctuaries. This forested hillside haven, nestled on an enormous aquifer below the 14,000-foot Crestone Peaks, has long been considered sacred.

“The Navajo and Hopi think of this as holy ground,” said John Milton, a naturalist who runs shamanic Indian workshops on the serene 210-acre Sacred Land Trust along North Crestone Creek. “Elders from the community still come here to worship.”...

"“Throw a brick around here, and you’ll hit a psychic,” said Mark Elliott, a British filmmaker and Buddhist who has lived in Crestone for two decades. “When I first came here, it was practically a ghost town. I thought I would drop off the face of the earth. But Crestone has risen in the world since I’ve moved here, and I’m more connected to the worlds that interest me as a result.”

"Crestone’s emergence as an international religious crossroads started in the 1970s when Maurice Strong, a Canadian power company tycoon and an international diplomat, acquired a controlling interest in the 200,000-acre Baca Ranch next to the town. While Mr. Strong’s wife, Hanne, was visiting the place, a local mystic named Glenn Anderson appeared at her doorstep.

"“He was an old chap who had a lot of students in the valley,” Mrs. Strong said. “He came right up and announced, ‘I predicted in the ’60s that a foreigner would come here and build an international religious center here. What took you so long?’ ”

"The Danish-born Mrs. Strong was inspired enough to start the Manitou Foundation, which allocates land grants and money for religious orders that want to set up in the area. Tibetan and Bhutanese Buddhists have been the largest beneficiaries, with a half-dozen Buddhist centers in Crestone.

"“This is probably one of the most important sites for Tibetans,” said Mrs. Strong, a Buddhist who lives part time in Crestone. “This is where Tibetan culture will survive.”

"The hyperkinetic Mrs. Strong is far from done: At least two new Buddhist centers are being built, a hospice is planned, and she is spearheading opposition to proposed drilling for natural gas through the aquifer..." [1]

A 1989 article notes: "The tiny Crestone phone book is riddled with such entries as "Crystal Sojourns" and "Ahimsa Life-style." It also includes some of the rich and famous the Strongs have brought to the area, including Robert O. Anderson, former chairman of Atlantic Richfield, and Najeeb E. Halaby, former head of Pan American Airways and father of the Queen of Jordan. Halaby has built a home and ziggurat--an ancient type of Assyrian temple--on land he bought from the Strongs near the sand dunes." [1]


Some of the centers that have been established in Crestone.

Buddhist (Zen)


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. NYT For Many a Follower, Sacred Ground in Colorado, organizational web page, accessed March 21, 2013.