A scent of Tibet: Bylakuppe

The Sera Je Monastery

The ochre and burgundy seem to be the omnipotent hues here. The shimmering gold of the structures are conspicuous from miles away. The drone of the distant drums and pipes relentlessly fill the air. If only a few snow capped mountains would show up in the horizon…

Every time I visit the Tibetan settlement near Mysore, 250 km from Bangalore, I never cease to be amused and thrilled at the same time. Although I find it quite difficult to digest the fact that this is, in fact, a piece of Tibet, I am really glad that I can get a whiff of the mystical land right in my backyard without having to make an epic journey.

A student chants at the Namdroling

The people are the same, I am told. And it shows. They always smile at the tourist, never have restrictions even for the ignorant and instil their monasteries with warmth and camaraderie that is palpable by everyone who spends a few moments inside them. It is difficult not to admire them.

Monk at the Namdroling Monastery

Students walk past the Sera Je

The colours only get brighter and merrier on the monasteries and inside. The gold mixes seamlessly with the curls of turquoise and the crimson. The dragons seem to emerge out from the intricate wooden carvings. Flags of myriad hues flutter with the evening wind.

A young student at Kagyu

Stupas at Kagyu

The pupils take their place in front of the golden deities. Tea is served and the chants begin. The drums soon make their thunderous presence felt while the pipes sustain the din. I close my eyes and the snow capped mountains matter no more. I am in Tibet.

All photographs copyright 2006 Dr Vivek M. More photographs here

11 Comments so far

  1. randramble (unregistered) on September 21st, 2006 @ 8:04 am

    Fantastic stuff!

  2. Kishor Cariappa (unregistered) on September 21st, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

    As usual, great pics. The place looks absolutely stunning when Dalai Lama is around.

  3. Krishna M (unregistered) on September 21st, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

    is this in kushalnagar?

  4. Mytri (unregistered) on September 21st, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

    Yes. It is in Kushalnagar. We were there this summer as a day trip from Mysore. Even the roads are getting wider and nicer. There were stretches where it was not the greatest.
    Dr. Vivek: Where did you stay? Also, our driver kind of said not too many vegetarian dishes to eat. Can you please clarify?
    Also, the entire Mysore-Bylakuppe stretch has so may tobacco farms!

  5. Kishor Cariappa (unregistered) on September 21st, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

    If you are planning a trip to Madikeri, then Bylakuppe, Cauvery Nisargadhama and Dubare elephant camp and Harangi reservoir can be covered in one stretch. Kushalnagar is at a distance of 30 km from Madikeri, and Bylakuppe is 7 km from Kushalnagar. In fact, Kushalnagar has decent restaurants (both veg and non.veg) and hotels to stay.

    While at Bylakuppe, you can buy Tibetan artefacts, check out monasteries, visit carpet weaving centres, etc. Best time to visit would be from October-March.

  6. tarlesubba (unregistered) on September 21st, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

    wonderful saar…
    nicely done. i like the notes you make and the way they blend seamlessly with the pics.

  7. Dr Vivek M (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2006 @ 12:52 am

    Sorry for the delayed reply: Yes, this is the one near Kushalnagara. Kishor has given you most of the info. I stayed at a place called Parlor Darje Ling very close to the Namdroling Monastery. The balcony of the second floor has some great views of the Golden temple and the landscape of the place.

    Although a non vegetarian would feel very much at home here, there are decent options for the veg too. I don’t think that should stop you from going there ;)

  8. Arun (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2006 @ 10:43 am

    Vivek, somehow these images don’t seem to reach to your own benchmark. I saw remaining images on flickr too and somehow, they did not seem to match the standard of your work.

    The Monk’d portrait is a nice image.

  9. rubic_cube (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2006 @ 8:47 pm

    Vivek, as usual, awesome pics. I love the way you frame your subjects. It is just brilliant. The monks walking by, the shy kid coming from behind the pillar… a monk reading the verses (and the way focus has been set in this pic, the beads, the bell and the scriptures are sharp.. everything else is a blur)…

    I have been planning a Coorg trip for quite a while now. Will include this in my itinerary.

  10. Aqua (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 3:53 pm

    loved your post and pictures. yes,,…it really does feel like a slice of tibet. i have been meaning to go there for aaages but lazy genes :)

  11. Naren (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 4:41 pm

    we are planning to visit this place during dusshera hols! Can you please let me know if there are any contacts there to book for dorms or rooms?
    Thanks for those lovely pics…

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