- Posted September 30, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
The Golden Temple, Bylakuppe – Karnataka, India
This was my first visit to a Buddhist Monastery. I really could feel the Zen when we entered. Little bit away from the Main gate, there is an inner gate, past the resident blocks of the monks. From the inner gate stands a gigantic monument right in from of us as if it’s welcoming you in. The architecture on the roof was just lovely. When we entered the temple, I realized why they called it the Golden temple. In the main building, one can see three huge statues, all arrayed with gold cladding, with Buddha displayed in the center, flanked by Guru Rinpoche on the left and Buddha Amitayus on the right. The walls are adorned with a lot of beautiful frescos. Fascinatingly, this is a ‘living’ monastery and one can see the monks go about their daily lives here. During prayer times, they do not allow any visitors through the center door. And unfortunately for us, it was prayer time while we were there. This Tibetan settlement at Bailakoppa or Bylkuppe is the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet.
As per records, the monastery is home to more than 7,000 monks and students. After the Chinese took over Tibet, the refugees were settled at Bylakuppe near Kushalnagar and the Buddhist Monastery was re-established here in 1972.
Today, the monastery is a prime attraction of Coorg and is often visited by a large number of young Tibetans seeking enlightenment and the place also draws the attention of tourists from all over India and abroad. Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement consists of a number of small camps close to each other, and has a lot of monasteries, nunneries. Most famous among them are the large educational institution Sera, the smaller Tashilunpo monastery and Namdroling monastery. Apart from the calm and peaceful surroundings there are shopping centers near the temples where one can shop for traditional Tibetan items like costumes, statues, carpets, jewelery etc.