Bylakuppe & Coorg-Red Robes, Prayer Flags, Himalayan Bliss

Tibetan Buddhism though majorly confined to regions closer to the Himalayas, do have their presence in other parts of India, too. The second largest Tibetan settlement (first being Dharamshala) in India is in a place called Bylakuppe, in interior Karnataka. Though it comes under the district of Mysore, its proximity to Coorg travelers usually refer to it as part of Coorg.

After a taking a detour from the highway, I went through narrow roads past the small temples, prayer flags, stupas, settlements and shops selling Tibetan paraphernalia into a vast openness where the monasteries stood intimidating the visitors. Suddenly I found myself transported to a different country with surroundings, people, attire and culture drastically different from what I saw a few minutes back. As we approached the Golden temple, the beautiful architectural structures welcomed us gleaming in the rays of sun. Upon entering the campus, I was witness to a swarm of monks in red robes busily moving around and lost in their own world. I was surprised to find the red robed ubiquitous monks riding bikes, speaking on mobiles, gleefully posing for photographs and happily enjoying the attention from the tourists. After all they too are humans, aren’t they?

The Namdroling monastery has amazing architectures with the doors and prayer wheels beautifully decorated. On entering the inner sanctum of the temple I was awestruck to see the massive idols of Padmasmbhava, Buddha and Amitayus with the wonderful paintings, decorations and art work all around. Though it was infested with tourists, the huge hall was filled with serenity and solitude. Along with the other visitors, I too kept gaping at the colorful statues, in wonderment as to where I have come. There were Indian families, foreign backpackers, school children and the red robed monks who were happily capturing the beautiful art work inside the sanctum. There are also writings near the statues which give details about Buddha and his wonderful religion.

After spending a considerable time inside, we came out and explored the other temples and had a walk within the campus. The place looked so peaceful with only the prayer flags fluttering and the monks roaming around. There are numerous shops that sell Tibetan artifacts that lure many visitors. One can also have a taste of the Tibetan momos and thukpas at restaurants nearby.

Bylakuppe and its surroundings surprisingly make every visitor feel as though he or she has arrived in the Himalayas or even in Tibet. It seems like a country within a country. A two-day visit to this place with an overnight stay would definitely give you an opportunity to explore more temples, soak in the ambiance and have some interesting conversations with the monks.

After lazing around for a few more hours by capturing the beauty of the place – the marvelous gompas and the ever smiling Tibetan monks – we headed further into the coffee hills of Coorg.

More Info
Established in 1961, Bylakuppe houses numerous monasteries, nunneries, camps and educational institutions under all major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. The prominent ones amongst them are the Sera monastery, Tashilunpo monastery and Namdroling monastery. Also referred to as the Golden temple, Namdroling monastery which falls under the Nyingmapa tradition is the most well known and most visited of all the monasteries.

Location: Southern Karnataka, close to Coorg
Nearest Town: Kushal Nagar
Nearest Railway station and Airport: Mysore
Distance: 250 kms from Bangalore, 80 kms from Mysore
Other places of interest: Madikeri, Dubare, Bagmandala, Talcauvery (all in Coorg)
Accomodation: Good hotels are available in Kushal Nagar and Madikeri. Also check out the hostels at the Monastery
Best time to visit: September to April.


Author: R Niranjan

A passionate traveller who loves exploring all kinds of destinations and experiencing various cultures. You can find my travelogues here- http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.com/

Comments

  1. I never been to Coorg, after reading your blog, I am planning to visit Coorg soon.

    Nice photos.

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