Ever wondered, ‘How does it feel to live with monks?’!
Well, when I was packing my bags, the only thing my mind was singing to me was, ‘How would it feel to live with monks?’.
There are multiple tourist destination in and around Karnataka, rich in scenic beauty and leisure activities. Kushalnagar is one of them.
Kushalnagar is a town, located near Kaveri river, in the state of Karnataka, popularly known for its Tibetan refugee resettlement. It has many captivating spots for travelers such as Buddhist Monastery, Cauveri Nisargdham, Dubare Forest, Harangi Dam and more.
In this blog post, I would share my experience of the place called Bylakuppe, which is also popularly known as ‘Mini Tibet’. This place is known for beautiful terrain & has given identity to thousands of Tibetans living in exile.
Take a look at a few of the clicks before I talk further about the trip-
Every one carries his/her own perception about monk-hood and monks. When I came to this place, things started unfolding itself.
Let me start from the beginning-
Kushalnagar is around 230 Km from Bangalore. I started on Friday evening at 11:45 pm by bus & reached to Kushalnagar at 3:30 am, which was completely unexpected. It was completely dark and quiet, only a few dogs were on the street.
To my good luck, I found an auto and hired it to take me to a safe & decent hotel. I reached to the Hotel Minister’s Kourt, which was extremely expensive with below average service.
This was the only hotel which was open at 3:30 am, so in case you stuck in a similar situation, here’s the contact of
the hotel- Minister’s Hotel Kushalnagar, +917022033105.
Day 1 at Bylakuppe– By 8:30 am, I was ready to step out of the hotel to move towards Bylakuppe. Bylakuppe is around 4 km (20 min) from Kushalnagar. I hired an auto that charged Rs 40 to take me to Namdroling Monastery (Golden Temple).
Once, I entered the premises of Bylakuppe, it was all-together a different experience. Roads were pervaded with prayer flags, stupas, incense and statues. The very presence of the entire set up was non-identical.
Early morning, I reached into the Golden Temple. When I stepped inside, there was something so pure and peaceful inside the temple. It was not a regular sight of the temple, things were absolutely spotless and organized.
I got mesmerized by the view of the temple; three huge statues made up of gold, copper and silver placed in front of me. So peaceful, so holy. The statue of Lord Buddha (in the centre) 60ft in height from the base, Buddha Amitayus (on his left) 58ft in height) & Guru Padmasambhava (on his right) 58ft exuding immense strength, peace & holiness. Inside the statues are scriptures, relics of great beings, small clay mould stupas, and small statues, symbolizing the body, speech and mind of the Buddha.
This place has a different architectural style; a beautiful blend of contemporary and traditional style.
After the visit to the temple, I moved to the street to relish the delicacy of Tibetan food. Multiple small houses converted into restaurant serving succulent Momos, Thukpa, Tea-momos, Noodles and more…(such a delicious punch of Tibetan food!) With a filled stomach & happy heart, I was strolling on the roads of Bylakuppe, savoring the blissful sight of colorful market & streets. But, among all the sights, seeing young monks practicing monk-hood at such a tender age was the most enthralling. 🙂
At evening, Namdrolling, the Golden Temple was extremely crowded. Hence, I decided to move to Sera Jey and stay there for a couple of days.
The Sera Jey monastery is approximately 3 km from Namdrolling, much secluded from the visitors crowd.
I hired an auto & started from Kushalnagar to Sera Jey monastery. Auto charged Rs 150. I reached to Serajey monastery’s guest house at 9 pm. Much to my contentment, I got a room at the monastery at Rs 600/ night.
Day 2 at Bylakuppe
Early morning, I got up with sounds of the hymn and instrument accompanying the hymn. This tranquil and relaxing sound, resonating at early morning promised me a worth, cleansing experience.
Morning, I had breakfast at the Guest House premises and got ready to head towards the Sera Jey temple.
This is a huge campus, containing the Temple, University & Monk Quarters. The signboard names it as ‘Sera Jey Monastic University for Advanced Buddhist Studies’. Currently, more than 6000 monks are residing and practicing monk-hood in Sera Jey.
While walking down the street, I caught some beautiful pictures. Hope you’ll like them 🙂
Eateries are not much available in this place, so I went back to the guest house for the lunch. There is a beautiful ‘Tea Bar’ in the centre of the guest house, surrounded by green lush and shrubs.
This was one of my favorite spots in the Sera Jey monastery 🙂 Here, you’ll find many monks occupying seats in the evening to discuss matters & meet their friends after a long day of their daily schedule.
One is always welcomed to join the debate & discussion with the monks. Monks at Sera Jey were very friendly and heartily welcomed healthy discussions.
I stayed at Sera Jey for 3 days and then, headed back to Bangalore. During the entire trip, I was conscious of the peace and happiness inside me. It was a much needed break for my soul and mind!
How to visit-
If you’re traveling from Bangalore, you could take up either roadways or train to reach to kushalnagar/Mysuru. Kushalnagar is around 230 km from Bangalore, which takes approximately 3-4 hours.
- Travel by Bus: You’ll get many AC/Non AC seater buses traveling from Bangalore to Kushalnagar. Sleeper buses are also available on this route.
- Travel by Train: You may get down at Mysuru and take public bus till Kushalnagar.
- Travel by Car: Roads are well connected from Bangalore to Bylakuppe. You’ll love to drive down to this place.
Once, you reach to Kushalnagar, you need to hire an auto and travel to Bylakuppe which is 4 km from Kushalnagar. One may need to negotiate with auto driver, generally, they charge Rs 40 till Namdroling, the golden temple. Overall, You can explore this place with a very small budget.
So, do visit to Bylakuppe, whenever you plan to make a next trip to Coorg!