The last few weeks were particularly important for the Tibetan Buddhists celebrating Saga Dawa, the holy month for pilgrimages. Closer home in Bangalore, I was cherishing my visit to Bylakuppe, glimpses of Tibetan world. Bylakuppe is about 210 kms away from Bangalore and popular stop over for travellers headed towards the green hills of Coorg. As you approach towards Bylakuppe, there are several arrows and distance indicators for Golden Temple which is the famous Namdroling Monastery in the area. The Tibetan Settlement was established in 1963 with government grants and donated land for the Tibetal Exiles who fled their country in 1959 due to political turmoil. Over a period of time, the area has expanded to accommodate educational and residential facilities for monks and nuns. The replica of the the famous Palyul Monastery gives a glimpse of the Golden Period of Tibet in the days of yore.
A short walk across the lawn leads to the main temple where Buddha is enshrined. The huge statues of the 3 forms of Buddha ( Shakyamuni, Padmasambhava, Amitabha) seem to look down compassionately at each and every visitor. The huge hall is dimly lit to retain the focus of the images of the Buddha which have lamps and candles lit around them. The pillars around have carved dragons and other images and it is a good idea to sit there for a while admiring the amazing structure and decor. If you happen to be there during a holiday, you will just need to ignore the joyful tourists who are looking for photo opportunities, often laughing and chatting loudly. Practicing and cultivating tolerance and patience is no mean task and there could be do better place than this to learn it, at the feet of the Buddha.
Rhythmic beats wafted through the air, as we were walking around. We followed the sound to land up in front of a hall where the young tibetan monks were in prayer. The rhythmic chanths in Tibetan was accompanied by beating of the drum and I sat there completely absorbed in the heavenly environment. After a while, one of the monks stepped out with the huge lamp and slowly the prayer session came to an end. Closer look at the young monks revealed gleaming calm faces as they emerged out of their session.