A Little Bit Of Tibet In South India
Nestled amongst the lush green rice paddies of South India sits the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement outside of Tibet. Less well known than Dharamsala, Bylakuppe is an equally stunning haven of Tibetan spirituality. Visit this little piece of Tibet in India and be touched by the beautiful spiritual culture thriving here.
The Golden Temple
Located within the Namdroling Monastery, the largest Nyingma monastery outside of Tibet, the Golden Temple will take your breath away. Take off your shoes and walk up the steps into this ornate temple to stand stunned in the beauty of its three gargantuan statues of Buddha, their gold and copper-plated benevolent smiles presiding over the high-ceilinged room framed by carefully arrayed floral arrangements. The temple itself is a powerful testament of devotion, every inch adorned with detailed murals and carvings. There is an energy here that will draw you to linger, perhaps sitting on one of the blue cushions offered on the expanse of floor, inviting you to spend some time in meditation or contemplation.
Containing scrolls of consecrated prayers and mantras, the Tibetan prayer wheels surrounding the monastery invite the devoted to give them a spin. Spinning the wheels is thought to be as effective as reading the sacred texts enclosed allowed, invoking the same spiritual action per rotation as that many recitations of the prayer. Some say that when spun with the earnest intention to bring good into the world, the wheels help create conditions in which the spinner can help relieve suffering. In this place that naturally fosters a prayerful mood, a little time spent spinning the expanse of silver prayer wheels here is an excellent way to invoke the power of prayer in your life and the world.
Monks at Prayer
Everyday around noon or one (though different people will tell you different times- apparently the schedule is hard to pin down and truly known only in the monastery) a chorus of hundreds of young monks accompanied by gongs and drums fill the complex with the sound of prayer. Young red robed monks fill the temples of the complex and chant together, so the entire grounds resonates with the energy of prayer sent out into the universe. Peeking in through the doors offers a glimpse into the beautiful humanity of this spirituality. The chorus is one of children and those barely out of childhood, playful and irreverent in their reverence. Their lightheartedness and open smiles as they chant will change the way you look at spirituality, taking it off a pedestal and clarifying devotion as something that should be offered as daily practice. Make sure you arrive early to ensure you are there to hear. You won’t regret it.