Bylakuppe, a slice of Tibet


A home away from home. Can it be? Any substitute would not be the same, I would think. But for hundreds of Tibetans, who left their home land to seek refuge away from their homeland, Bylakuppe <bi-la-kuppey>, 1000s of miles from home, would have to do. It has been home to monks and locals who arrived in this part of Karnataka, near Coorg (Kodagu) and were given land by the government to setlle down and make their own living.

Kushalnagar is the name that is often looked up while searching for this slice of Tibet in down south India, but it is only the nearest town to Bylakuppe. So if you are headed out to Coorg (and visit Bylakuppe en route) or if you want to spend a weekend or more just walking around monasteries, temples, fields and Tibetan shopping – go Bylakuppe. (It is 226 kms from Bangalore).

We visited on the way back to Bangalore from Coorg, and nothing quite prepared us for the sight of the Golden Temple and monastery. It quite took our breath away and we were transported to Tibet.

Kushalnagar 1

The architecture kept our eyes up and raised – to appreciate the beauty reaching towards the skies.

Kushalnagar 2

As we got closer, we slowed down and wished we had planned for more time here. The atmosphere is serene.

Kushalnagar 3

The most fascinating walls and paintings…

Kushalnagar 4

Kushalnagar window

This window was my most favourite part of the temple.

Kushalnagar 6

The huge statues do not seem over the top, the entire atmosphere inside is that of peace.

Kushalnagar 7

Kushalnagar 8

The closer one gets to the walls, the longer one wants to stay and observe.

Kushalnagar 9

Surrounding the monasteries and temples, are numerous stores selling Tibetan art and crafts, from Buddhas to incense to shawls. If you have the time to go through half a dozen stores, you are sure to find some beautiful sculptures and keepsakes. There are restaurants serving up Tibetan food and small vendors vending pretty much everything.

Leaving Bylakuppe, as we turned our backs to the life that the monks have built over 30 odd years, taking in the sights along the road that leads to the highway back to Bangalore is like a rude awakening. It is not Tibet after all…

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7 thoughts on “Bylakuppe, a slice of Tibet

  1. you are so right about this place…its sad about why they are here, but itz amazing to see this part of coorg….a def must-go if you cant make it to Ladak, Nepal, tibet, bhutan..:)

    • It is Sudha. Things must be so bad there for them to completely move away. But they have managed to create sustainable farms here from which the monks get all their produce. And the area has developed into a mini Tibet. It is a bit awkward actually to go gaping at them (at least that is what it must look like to them), but the architecture is worth seeing, and if we are non-intrusive of the monks lives, it is OK I guess…

  2. We visited this place a few years ago and it is absolutely lovely. I have similar pictures and I love the one when the class gets over and all the kids stream out to play soccer. Thanks for the wonderful write-up.

  3. It seems (I haven’t googled this to confirm but anywho..) the reason all the monuments are so high is because the Buddha’s feet cannot be placed lower than at eye level – one must *look up*, or at the least straight on, to see even the Buddha’s *feet*. Literally, this is one you gotta look up to!

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