Bylakuppe is an area in Karnataka which is home to a large Tibetan settlement and is famous for Namdroling Monastery, more commonly known as the Golden temple.Tibetan settlers who fled Tibet due to chinese persecution were granted this area by the Govt of India in mid nineties to continue with their culture and lifestyle.
We visited this place as a part of the Karnataka Tourism package. We started off from Bangalore at about 7 a.m ; bylakuppe is located about 220km from bangalore and so we were prepared for a long tiring bus journey via the ever congested Mysore road. After a nice breakfast at Kamat Upahara on Mysore road at 9.00 a.m, we reached Bylakuppe at about 12 p.m.
It was bustling with tourists due to the holiday season. There is a specific entry gate for tourists (There are other entry gates reserved for Monks/Tibetan Refugees). Near the gate, there are lot of shops selling home made chocolates (Coorg is famous for Chocolates). Immediately on entry, the living quarters of Monks/Tibetan Refugees is visible.
This leads to the entry gate for the beautiful Golden temple.
Unfortunately on the day of my visit, the Namdroling Monastery was closed for renovation. To the left is the temple which houses the huge golden statues of buddhist gurus, Lord Buddha,Guru padmasambhava and Buddha Amitayus.
Each of the statues are almost 60 feet tall and plated in Gold. The atmosphere in the temple is very calm and due to the high ceiling, its quite cool inside. We spent at least 15 mins taking in the atmosphere sitting on the floor.
Huge beautiful tapestries adorn the walls of the temple , both inside and outside. The tapestries depict other Buddhist gurus & demons and stories of victories of Good over evil and spread of Buddhism.
Due to time limitation, we were unable to spend too much time exploring around the monastery.
A word of caution
There is booth to deposit your footwear for a meager fee while you enter the temple. Ensure to deposit it there and not just keep it outside somewhere randomly. The workers shift the footwear to some other location and it is extremely difficult to find them after that; the workers are not helpful at all! We lost our footwear and only after a lot of hue and cry did we manage to locate them.