ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design
ItalyIndia design

50. Little -tropical- Tibet

Golden Temple, Namdroling
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Bylakuppe: Little Tibet in Karnataka
Wheels of Golden temple
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Bylakuppe: Little Tibet in Karnataka
Golden Buddha
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Bylakuppe: Little Tibet in Karnataka
Lord Padmasambhava
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Bylakuppe: Little Tibet in Karnataka
Namdroling, decoration
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Bylakuppe: Little Tibet in Karnataka
Tibetan Architecture
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Bylakuppe: Little Tibet in Karnataka

China occupied Tibet in 1959 and India gave political asylum to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees. Many of them live in the mountains of North India, many of them but not all of them.
When you travel from Mysore to Madikeri in Karnataka suddenly you are surrounded by Tibetan prayer flags, street signals in Tibetan alphabet e small dwellings with tiled roof. Among the houses and on the streets many saffron monks walk quietly.
You have not cross any border still it is as if you are in a strange foreign Country. A land that resembles Tibet but which has no mountains: you reached Bylakuppe, the second biggest Tibetan settlement in India –the first one is Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.

 

Two settlements were created here in 1961 and 1969, on land provided by the Indian Government. Today 20 thousand refugees live in Bylakuppe, among them many Lamas, monks and students. The Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe has different schools and monasteries build in perfect Tibetan style with bright colors and sloping roofs.

Bylakuppe is not exactly a tourist destination, it is not even proper an Indian destination: being here means being away from the usual traffic of every small and big city in India and you will discover another Country, with its own peculiar culture and food.
The first think you will love is the peace and the smiling faces of the people you meet, no one bothers to approach you and advise you on which hotel you should eat, which shop you should go. Ok, there are not many options in Bylakuppe. Few restaurants, a bunch of handicraft shops (fix rate price).

You don’t go to Bylokuppe to shop but to explore the spiritual atmosphere of the monasteries, to meditate with the monks who are always welcoming.

From a touristic point of view worth the visit is the impressive Namdroling Monaster with the Golden Temple. You can miss it: follow the huge wheel on its top. The wheel is symbol of knowledge, and you can obtain knowledge only by opening your mind and heart to god and teachers. A good start is the rotate the prayer rolls at the entrance of the temple.


The interior of the temple is a huge bare hall, against the wall sits three majestic golden Buddhas. Burning incense and flying little birds add to the meditative mood of the temple. You can sit on the blue cushions made available for guests.
The mural paintings and the statues (Buddha in the middle, Padmasambhava and Amitays beside him) tell stories about the philosophy, history and legend of Buddhism. Feel free to ask to monks nearby, usually they are happy to see interest and give information.

Meanwhile in the yards of the educational institutions around, hundreds of students of different age practice debate, listen to class or simply take a break –almost 5000 students live in this monastery.

Walk the 3 km road that lead toward north (or take a rikshaw) to reach the second settlement and its small temples, meditation halls, schools and monasteries.

 

The Tibetan settlements are under the protection of Indian Government so you need a special permit (PAP) to stay overnight, unless you are Indian. To get the PAP send a request at least 4 months in advance (see this website for farther info).

A day visit is enough to have a glimpse and inhale Tibetan energy. When we were there nobody ask us about the permit, but it’s better you keep with you the bill of the hotel in which you stay –just in case.

 

Credits 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

 

 

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