Bylakuppe – a quiet and sleepy town located in the Southern part of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is easy to dismiss this tiny hamlet as an obscurity but there’s more to this town than meets the eye.
It is home to the biggest Tibetan settlement in South India. Thousands of Tibetans have made Bylakuppe their home. What started has a refugee camp for Tibetans who fled their homeland during the 1959 Chinese invasion has now become a thriving ecosystem in itself.
A quick stop at Bylakuppe is more than sufficient to get a flavour of the Tibetan culture, architecture, religion and cuisine. The town is build around the ornately designed Namdroling monastery, the largest teaching centre for the Nyingma school of Buddhism. Nyingma is the oldest of the four major categories of Tibetan Buddhism.
Many ceremonies are conducted in the monastery every year, the grandest of them being the Tibetan New Year Losar (usually in the month of February or March). The celebrations run for over a week during which Lamas (Buddhist monks and nuns) take turns to conduct non-stop prayer sessions.
The monastery also contains the Golden Temple which houses the three deities Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha and Amitayus. The statues are eighteen feet tall, plated with gold and seated next to each other. The atmosphere is breathtaking when the prayer sessions are in progress. Hundreds of monks chant verses in unison while drums and gongs ring out loudly.
Zangogpalri temple, relatively modest when compared to the Golden Temple, is also part of the Namdroling monastery. The Sera Mey monastery and the Serpom monastery are some of the other places of interest in Bylakuppe.Tags: Buddhism, Buddha, Temples