Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Trip to Tibetian settlement Bylakuppe, Kushal Nagar ( karnataka)

Nature treat is what I would call this trip, for this trip is to Kodagu or Coorg which is known as the Scotland of India.. Though I couldn’t cover all the places, I tried to visit the main destination… I started at four in the morning contrary to my otherwise holiday schedule….But I was sure that it’s going to be all worth it…Kasargode was still warm and the air condition rendered some life… Jalsoor which is Kerala –Karnataka border and as thr journey moved from Sulia to Madikeri through the still dark blue sky I suddenly realized that there was fog (in April???? Well I was in awe),Even at seven sun was still reluctant to throw his heavy beams, but now there was enough light for me to enjoy  the  lush green all around, I wanted to come back to this place in December already. Madikeri 150 km from Kasargode, as I expected in Coorg famous for its coffee, there were loads of coffee plantations (I even saw Nescafe’s plantation along with other known labels), Cocoa plantations, pepper vines and trees trees and loads of trees. Now don’t think I am all urbanized to talk like this..I live in a place surrounded by coconut palms all around.. Coconut palm don’t count on as tree for me yet (I know I may sound silly but I need loads of branches and sub branchesto be termed as a tree remember the banyan tree’s picture back in kindergarden???)…Madikeri to me felt like a sleepy town where time just slowed down abrubtly, there were people clad on woolen sweaters and scarves at 8 in the morning .The air condition inside the car was warmer when compared to the chilly air out. We had our breakfast at a restaurant..We chose it because that was the only one open….Taste of food depends on your hunger prangs. For me it tasted heavenly , like I  said that I was super hungry.. But the vada were crispy…Karnataka’s food in general do not appeal me rather I have never been able taste some authentic good food…

The first destination Golden temple in Kushal Nagar which 26 km  from Madikeri town .If you are travelling by bus from Kasaragode to Golden temple get on with Mysore bus and get down at Koppa take an auto to the Golden temple..On the way I saw Nisargadhama on my right which would be my next destination..As we took right turn to Bylakuppe few kilometer away from golden temple there were colourful Tibetan prayer flags all over…

Bylakuppe is about 4 km from Kushal Nagar, and it has one of the first Tibetan settlements Lugsung Samdupling in India which dates back to 1961 followed by Dickyi Larsoe.Some history about this place enlightens me with the fact that , during 1950s, Chinese took over Tibet, worsening relation between Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities, which led him to seek India’s help. The then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru extended his assistance whole heartedly; and to settle down the refugees in a place were the climate was cooler far away from Tibet.. Now that answered my question why of all places Kushal Nagar so far away far awayfrom Himalaya..
It seems there were plans to settle those fled to India, till a time when they can return to Tibet ... But as we see that never happened (lucky we) even after decades.. Refugees kept pouring in transforming the camps settlements and further to larger ones as we get to see it today.

The Buddhist Monastery was re-established in 1972. The
monastery is home for ­­­5000 (as per records but I would like to settle down to a more
 fathomable figure) lama (nuns and monks both are called lama, I didn’t know till know how
ignorant) of Sangha community. I could see many monks all ages and nuns going about their work and worship..A kid or monk okay now let us settle down to kid monk in maroon and yellow robe (about 10 -12 yr old) busy rolling a dosa and trying to get it all in a gulp winked at me as he passed by only to startle me later flinted a smile across my face too, after all kid would be a kid with all unharmful prank and not a kid Buddha…. Old monks gathered outside the monastery compound some with rosary some just chatting away.. Group of young monks were even chatting over mobile phone (oooh!!!!) did I just say mobile???  Oh yea I did..  There  are
monks not just from Tibet but also from Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim…It houses five monastery of Lugsung Samdupling settlement of which Namdrolling monastery is the most famous other monasteries are Sera monastery,  Nyingma monastery,Sakya monastery, Nyingma monastery. There are two monastery of Dickyi Larso settlement.. There’s also a religious college known as shreda and hospital.

The Golden temple

The golden temple was completed in the year 2000.Even a person like me completely ignorant about architectural styles could say that it was a beautiful blend of contemporary and traditional styles...I entered the temple through a gigantic red door and i stopped ubruptly stunned to see three large golden statues of Lord Budha (in the middle), Buddha Amityus(on his right) and Guru padmasambhava(to left). Budha Amitayus means, the Budha of limitless light, Guru padmasambhava was the Indian pandit who took the Vajrayana teachings to Tibet 1200 years ago, before Indian Budhism was destroyed by invaders..The altar was colourfully decorated with flowers and incense.. In spite the grandeur Lord Budha seemed all calm and serene untouched by the magnificence around..The statue of Lord Budha is 60 ft. in height (from base) while the height of the other two statues(Guru Rinpoche and Budha Amityus) are 58 ft. They are made of copper, plated with gold.Inside the statues are scriptures, relics of great beings, small clay mould stupas and small statues that symbolizes body,speech and mind of Buddha...It is believed that getting to see these statues,venerating them, circumambulating and making offering s generates faith,peace,wisdom,loving kindness and compassion in ones's mind cleansing from unwholesome thoughts and action..(all this I learnt from the notice inside the temple)...
About Lord Budha and he renouncing his throne in search of wisdom and life itself is all well known isn't what I didnt know was was about Guru as per Budha's prophecy Guru Prinpoche was born 12 years after the passing away of Budha, by lake Dhanakosha, in the land of Oddiyana (present day Afghan-Pak border).He is considered to be an emanation of Budha Amitabha who excelled in the exoteric teachings of Vajrayana Mahayana Budhism. In the eighth century, the thirty eighth King of Tibet, Trisong Deutsen, invited him to Tibet to establish Budhism. Through his immense compassion for the people of Tibet, Guru Rinpoche not only gave various exosteric and secret tantric teachings during his time, but also concealed many treasures for the benefit of the future generations. As such,all Tibetans conside him to be very kind and revere him as the second Budha. Budha Amityas chieved Buddhahood countless eons ago but his activity remains connected with granting long life..

He resides withe consort Bhadrapalika, son Chandraprabha and a huge retinue of immortal teachers in the pure land of limitless virtue..According to Buddhism, the life of all people becomes short and they die prematurely due to committing non-virtuous actionsWhosoever hears the name of Budha amityus, will have his/her lifespan extended...I wish I could go near the statue but alas the guests are limited to certain perimeter…There were cushions for guests..I didn’t dare to make any noise for the fear for ruining the aura the place  carried.. And for once I saw all tourists following the theme of silence…
The walls were full of colourful mural art depicting Lord Budha's life... I must say they were magnificiently alluring also reminding me of many temple kerala with mural art..The painting on both sides of the statues depicted the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche who attained high realisations through the practice of Dzogchen Teachings. On the walls behind the three statues were theGoddesses of Offering.. The painitings on both sides of the thirs floor show the life story of Lord Budha and the twelve great teachers of Dzogchen..Those on both sides of the second floor represent the eleven throne holders of the Playul tradition and the great scholars and masters of Nyigma tradition. The mural on the first floor mainly show the various deities of the three roots namely Lama, idan and Dakini.
There were deities painted in expression of wrath, male and female deities in union. According to Tantric Budhism, peaceful deities wear silk garments and ornaments of precious metals and stones whereas wrathful deities wear the skin of living being and bone ornaments. To understand their significance, one has to study Tantric Budhism in detail.
What I picked up from studying the small notes at the temple was that Budha appear in wrathful form or in union with the female deities in order to harness human as per degree of mental stature..Budha's union with their consort represent the need for the union of compassion and wisdom.Without which there would be no enlightening.
Adjacent to the golden temple there was a prayer hall, for few minutes I was held back mesmerized in the hypnotic chanting gongs, pipes and conch shells all playing to a mystic rhythm… It was as though all transcended to another world all together. I went around the smaller monasteries as well…Gardens were impeccably maintained..One interesting part were sparrows all around.. I haven’t seen them in a long time… I sat and listened to the monks chant their Mantra's while others played long hornpipes and Conch shell. Huge drums beat hypnotic beats to the chanting. It is a kind of experience one will never forget…
In addition to the Golden Temple, Namdroling has temples devoted to Vajrakilaya (the wrathful manifestation of Buddha's purity), Tara (the female Buddha of compassion and action), and several others. Namdroling, the largest monastery of the Nyingma school is magnificent to look at too. It had three storey…Namdroling has 2000 monks and nuns and provides education from early grades to the equivalent of a PhD in Buddhist studies (Khenpo). The main lama at Namdroling is Penor Rinpoche. Few meter down the road there’s the nunnery ani gompa. Its temple can be entered by women, men can enter only with special permission..I got into a classroom when the class was on a break and was excitedly going about it looking at the classroom artifacts…
There was a canteen with Tibetan cuisine, I saw monks and nuns taking their bites and drink... Guess it was like a college canteen for them.. Monastery is inspiring by every word. There was a miniature model of monastery in Tibet..
There is a book shop with books on Budhism and history of the place..
There is shopping complex across the road near to the cark parking…fI had my share of mini shopping of fenshui things ..In the parking lot I came across Coorgies and that was the first time I got to see them live errrr , I meant I have only seen them in television, women with their saree pleats from back…From a trans –Himalayan trip im slowly descenting to ground level zero..
My next destination Nisargadhama..


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