We lived in Liberia between 2006 and 2009. There were virtually no roads and travelling from one town to another especially during the monsoons was a nightmare. The odds of reaching the destination without incident were very low. A number of such drives included sessions of make your own road…
During one such trip from Yekepa to Monrovia, the Landcruiser we were travelling in got stuck in the slush and it took 2 hours and 5 men to physically lift it and free the wheels.
A picture clicked with my phone camera. It was a random shot of the setting sun when the gentleman on his evening walk unknowingly stepped into the frame. It was probably the shutter speed or something else that resulted in such a strange shot.
It reminded me of the Bubble head charm that Cedric Diggory performed on himself in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.:)
Little did I know when I chased after soap bubbles in a park that each bubble carried a fairy tale within it.
I remember blowing soap bubbles and chasing after them in my childhood and more so with my daughter when she was a kid. The laughter and joy that she radiated cannot be expressed in words. Priceless memories…
The image that I had playfully captured left me mesmerized and spellbound.
We left around 4 AM by car from Bengaluru and reached Bylekuppe at around 9 AM. Located to the west of Mysore at a distance of 90 km, is the Buddhist Golden temple at Bylakuppe, the largest seat of Tibetan Buddhism in South India.
Bylakuppe, along with Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, is home to thousands of exiled Tibetans since many decades.
In Bylakuppe is situated the Golden Temple, aka Namdroling Monastery, established in 1963 by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche shortly after his exit from Tibet in 1959. It is the second seat of the Palyul Monastery which is one of the six great Tibet Nyingma Mother monasteries.
The forest land for the temple was donated by the Indian Government to the Tibetan exiles. Initially it was an 80 sq. feet bamboo construction and was called by its full name The Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling monastery.
The temple has now grown into a sprawling complex. It is now the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet. It houses training facilities for many monks and student-monks and is said to be the largest teaching centre of ‘Nyingmapa’ which is a prime lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
It also houses three captivating golden statues, namely of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and Amitayus. Each statue is about 40 feet high.
The walls have been decorated with intricate paintings illustrating stories of Gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology. The aroma of flowers, incense sticks and candles permeate the entire temple. The captivating and serene landscapes around it make the Golden temple mesmerizing.
The temple resonates with the soft chanting of the hymns by the Buddhist monks and the timed beating of the drum.
Entry into the main hall is restricted during the prayer hours when the monks and the students assemble to chant the hymns in a beautiful chorus. Photography inside the temple is permitted. The complex is a photographer’s delight with lovely paintings and beautiful architecture. Shopping centres near the temple, offer an extensive range of Tibetan items such as statues, carpets, traditional costumes and exquisite jewelleries.
The Bylakuppe Golden temple Monastery is open to public are from 7 AM to 8 PM and is located at a distance of 6 km from Kushalnagar, in Kodagu/ Coorg which is the nearest town.
To reach Bylakuppe, you can either hire a taxi from Mysore, which is only 90 km away or opt for buses. It is about 250 km from Bangalore.
Along with Golden Temple/Monastery, there are many other sightseeing places in and around Bylakuppe, making it an ideal place to visit from Mysore and even a perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore.
Mother Nature is the best teacher to learn resilience from. Trees and plants that survive severe climatic changes, animals that adapt, water that finds its way through ups and downs- vales and glades…the list is endless.