Bylakuppe is home to two of the many Tibetian settlements in India, established by Lugsum Samdupling (in 1961) and Dickyi Larsoe (in 1969). Bylakuppe is located to the west of the Mysore district, Karnataka. The twin town Kushalanagara is about 6 kilometers from Bylakuppe.
Namrodoling Monastery (Golden Temple), Ingalakere, Rangaswamy temple on the rangaswamy betta (hill) and other Buddhist monasteries, schools and settlements are main attractions.
Golden Temple, Kushalnagar
Golden Temple at Bylakuppe, Kushalnagar is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in South India. Known as the Namdroling Monastery, it holds the 40 ft tall Buddhist statues known as Guru Padmasambhava, Buddha Shakyamuni and Amitayus. The paintings, depicting the Gods and Demons, on the walls of the temple are a major attraction. The imposing gold coated Buddhist statues reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Tibetans.
There is also another monastic institution by the name Sera and a small Tashilunpo monastery. The Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement consists of a number of camps close to each other consisting of monasteries and nunneries. Also near the temple is a shopping centre where one can shop for traditional Tibetan artifacts or items like jewellery, bags, carpets and shawls. The calmness and peaceful surroundings of the temple are quite an attraction in itself for the spiritual minded.
Bylakuppe is mainly inhabited by Tibetans, with an estimated 7000 who've made it their home and you can feel the culture even beyond the temples and monasteries. The sanctum sanctorium is this huge meditation hall, apparently the largest teaching center of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. The walls again have very colourful and detailed murals depicting various emotional facets anger, peace and love.
After the great uprising against the Chinese rule in Tibet in 1959, the Buddhist monks led by Dalai Lama, their revered leader, and others had to move to India, to escape the wrath of Chinese forces. Subsequently, more number of monks fled to India as refugees and settled in different parts of the country. During the same period, monk Penor Rinpoche and his followers came to Bylakuppe. Penor Rinpoche established Namdroling Monastery in the village with an aim to help the relocated monks lead a peaceful life and continue their spiritual pursuit.
The architecture of the temple is in Tibetan style - with vibrant colours, artistic designs, sculptures and paintings. The golden coloured deer and the wheel symbol of Buddhism crown the shrine. The area outside the temple has enough space to host a congregation of thousands of monks during rituals.
The prayer hall inside can house a few hundred monks at a time. As the wide steps lead to the temple, two lion replicas on either side grab your attention. The paintings on the walls next to the entrance depict various Buddhist deities. Once inside the temple, you are almost immediately drawn to the three imposing golden statues. The idol in the middle is of Sakyamuni Buddha or Gauthama Buddha flanked by those of Guru Padmasambhava to his right and Amitayus to the left.
Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche was the main monk who propounded the Palyul tradition of Nyingma School of Buddhism. The Palyul tradition refers to the method and practice based on the Palyul Monastery in Tibet and is considered the highest order of religious practice. Amitayus is regarded as the saint of longevity.
The spacious prayer hall has seating arrangements in rows - for the monks - with prayer boxes and related artefacts. When prayer is in session the chanting of the mantras accompanied by the sound of drums and cymbals resonate the place and emanate a divine atmosphere. The pillars and walls of the temple are also intricately decorated with colourful designs and impressive murals.
The first floor is decorated with paintings of the 11 throne holders of the Palyul tradition while the second floor of the temple has frescoes depicting the life of Buddha. The paintings behind the three idols represent goddesses. The top floor of the golden temple houses a library where one can refer to great works on Buddhism.
The year 2002 saw the beginning of another temple right in front of the golden temple. This was the Zangdok Palri Temple. Completed in 2004, the temple rises vertically with tiers of artistic golden turrets and a golden semicircular arch at the top. Built on the lines of original Palri Temple in Tibet, it has four entrances with walls in four different colours - white, blue, red and green.
The walls have the paintings of four great kings of Buddhist cosmology - Dhritarashtra, Virudhaka, Virupaksha and Vaisravana who are believed to reside in four directions of Mount Meru as the guardians of Dharma. Vaisravana, the king to the northern side, is yellow in complexion holding a mongoose and a flag. The wrathful appearances of these kings are attributed to their ability to ward off all evils around and protect us.
Apart from these two attractive temples, the Monastery also has many other smaller temples like the Vajra Kilaya Temple and the Tara Temple. At the northern periphery is a series of 16 stupas exhibiting relics and scriptures of Buddhist teachings.
An inevitable part of any Buddhist temple is a prayer wheel. Here you will find as many as 1,300 small prayer wheels and 19 large ones.
Turning the wheels that contain prayer scrolls in a clockwise direction is considered as effective as chanting prayers. It is common to see monks turning these wheels of prayer as they walk.
The Monastery is not just a temple complex. It also offers a structured course in Buddhist teachings at The Ngagyur Nyingma Institute. Tibetan history & Buddhism, ritual dance, music, mandala construction and chanting are some of the subjects covered at the junior level.
The higher course focuses on sutra & tantra teachings of Buddha with debates and discussions on commentaries by scholars. During this nine-year course, the monks earn a bachelor's degree after the completion of six years and master's degree after nine years. The Retreat Centre is where the monks stay for another three years to perfect recitations and sadhanas to become lamas or monks of high rank. Just one km away from this place is a full-fledged nunnery where about 700 nuns engage in similar studies. There is also a hospital and an old age home in this Monastery.
Bangalore to Bylakuppe Bus Train Timings
Distance between Bangalore to Bylakuppe is 370 Kms by road.
|Travels|| Departure|| Arrival||Fare|
|Ashwini Tours And Travels
Non A/c Seater (2+2)||10:30 PM||04:40 AM||Rs 350|
Though the Monastery is located in Mysuru district, it lies close to Kushalnagar, a town in Kodagu district. Kushalnagar is located on the Mysuru-Madikeri road. The Monastery is three km away from Kushalnagar and auto can be engaged. The temple remains open on all days from 7 am to 6 pm. A guest house is also available at the Monastery.