Sinchita Mitra

The little town of Bylakuppe has grabbed eyeballs lately in the realm of tourism. This Southern India town is starkly different from the rest of the Southern India cities, making is quite a unique place for your next travel vacation. Known for the serene Namdrolling Monastery, Bylakuppe is much more than being just another small Tibetan town.

Here are is a comprehensive guide about this little town in Karnataka, and why it should be your next travel destination,

The Journey

Bylakuppe is located quite close to Mysore, making ideal for a day trip as well. The roads are well connected and are quite picturesque as well. You hop onto a bus or even hire a private vehicle and zip past the blissful natural realms.

The bus will drop you off on the state highway, and from there you have to walk to the main city of Bylakuppe. This walk is like nature’s trek, and you will feel calm and refreshed. The walk is stunning and you will be surrounded by some of the most mesmerising views and areas.

As you start walking you will also notice that the scenery starts to change, as you start entering the city gradually. The tall trees are replaced by little Tibetan huts, the gorgeous monasteries start being visible, and a lovely Buddhist chant emanates from afar. You will also find vibrant and colourful Tibetan flags starting to make an appearance as you move further.

The Town

As you reach Bylakuppe, the one thing that will first strike you is how different Bylakuppe is from the rest of South India. It has a completely different culture, tradition, and rituals. You might even forget that you are in South India.

The houses are marked by iconic and traditional tiled roads, the roads are narrow and winding, autos move past you and everything around you is quiet and tranquil. It is away from all the cacophony of city life, and you will hardly even hear people talking!

If you keep walking you will find the monasteries peaking on the horizon, making it look all the more surreal.

Things To Do in Bylakuppe

Namdroling Monastery

When in Bylakuppe you just cannot miss this iconic and royal monastery. The Namdrolling Monastery attracts thousands and thousands of pilgrims every year. The monastery is also called the Golden Temple and exudes a feeling of peace and radiance.

The first things you will witness here are the vibrant murals and huge idols Buddha! It is quite a sight to marvel at.

The beautiful path surround by gardens on each of its sides leads up to this monastery. You will first find the iconic prayer wheels, which you should turn before entering the prayer complex. It is a strong belief among the Buddhists, that turning the wheels is akin to saying a Buddhist prayer.

At Namdrolling you will find people from all over the world- monks with their maroon and yellow robes, hippies who are here to experience a mindful adventure, the nirvana seekers and the tourists who just come here to admire.

Once you enter the complex, you will realise that there are other things here beyond the temple. There are a library and even rooms for monks who study at the monastery.

If you get a chance then you must sit in meditation inside the temple sanctum and feel the power of positivity fill you up. It is an enchanting and powerful experience. You might even be able to hear a soulful chant from the monks.

Sera Jay Monastery

A lesser-known monastery in Bylakuppe, Sera Jay, is still quite a delight. This place is perfect for peace seekers, who are looking to go away from the maddening crowd. Sera Jay Monastery is actually like a hidden gem, and you should visit it to feel its essence.

The temple is decorated with exotic paintings and tranquillity. You can sit here for as long as you want to be lost in your thoughts. The monks here are also cordial and amicable and are always ready to answer any questions you have. You should try and strive up a conversation with a monk to know more about this Monastery.

Other monasteries you can visit are Padma Sang-Ngag Choekhorling and Tashi Lhunpo monastery.

Go Back In Time

One thing that you must indulge in when you are at Bylakuppe just takes a walk. It might seem too cumbersome, but you will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this place. Walking through this town will also allow you to get an insight into the traditions and cultures of this town. You will be walking throw narrow alleys, interacting with locals, and witnessing some unique architectural styles as you go along the way. You might just come back with interesting anecdotes and stories as well.

Shopping And More

If shopping is your middle name, then Bylakuppe has exactly the place for you. The Tibetan Shopping centre is located near Namdrolling Monastery and is a shopper’s paradise. It is laden with little souvenirs, traditional jewellery, colourful prayer flags, handicrafts and even clothes. This shopping complex is bustling with life and culture- as they say- if you want to know the culture of a place then just visit its markets! You must also try and bargain to get the price down as low as you.

A Culinary Journey

If you are a made over food, then Bylakuppe is your paradise. Bylakuppe is blessed with some wonderful restaurants and eateries that serve the most authentic and delicious dishes. You must try their mouth-watering momos and Thukpa- which is a Tibetan soup. Thukpa is quite enriching, and you will feel all warm and fuzzing inside.

Tips for Bylakuppe Tour

  • Usually, the monasteries open at 8 am and close down at 5 pm. So plan your days accordingly. Bylakuppe isn’t a city that is known for its nightlife. So don’t come here expecting a party culture. On the contrary, most of the food stalls and restaurants close down by 7 pm. If should pack extra food after an early dinner if you tend to get hungry later.
  • The entire city of Bylakuppe goes to sleep at 7 pm. Thus, it is important to carry a torch if you wish to the ego for a midnight stroll.
  • Bylakuppe is a Tibetan town and is staunchly Buddhist. There are certain rules you should follow when you visit a Buddhist shrine/place. Make sure you follow those rules.
  • Bylakuppe is a religious and sacred town, so make sure you dress appropriately and conservatively to respect their culture and the sanctity of the town.
  • If you wish to turn the prayer wheels outside the monasteries, then do so in the clockwise direction and only use your right hand.
  • Be mindful of what you eat. They tend to call beef as ‘mutton’, so make sure you ask before ordering a dish.

Bylakuppe is quite a serene town that can be enjoyed by solo backpackers and family alike. The town has a lovely bliss and calmness, which will take off all your burdens and make you feel alive. So, just take a deep breath and let all the fresh air of Bylakuppe fill you up and touch your soul, as you refresh and rejuvenate yourself.

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