Bylakuppe is a Tibetan Refugee resettlement, location of “Lugsum Samdupling” (established in 1961) and “Dickyi Larsoe” (established in 1969), in the west of Mysore district. The nearest town is Kushalnagar in Kodagu in the State of Karnataka.
The Golden Temple in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, is a home for thousands of Tibetans living in exile and a center for Tibetan Buddhism in South India.
The Tibetan refugees make up a population of about 10,000. It consists of a number of small camps/agricultural settlements close to each other, and has a number of monasteries, nunneries and temples in all the major Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Most notable among them are the large educational monastic institution Sera, the smaller Tashilunpo monastery (both in the Gelukpa tradition) and Namdroling monastery (in the Nyingma tradition). The spectacular Golden Temple which is also a major tourist spot, is in the area.
Golden Temple is the main tourist attraction in Bylakuppe. Stepping inside the temple feels like walking into another world, and the noisy streets of South India suddenly seem to be very far away. Three beautiful golden Buddha statues each of 40 Feet namely Padmasambhava, Buddha and Amitayus look down at visitors, from above the altar.
The walls are adorned with colourful paintings depicting gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology. The altar is decorated with flowers, candles and incense, and small birds nesting amongst the golden statues fly happily around the temple.
This place is very calm and majestic in sight, surrounded by its landscaped gardens. During festivals, the main courtyard becomes an open stage where masked dancers twirl in colourful costumes to the sound of gongs and massive ceremonial trumpets.
Tourists are welcomed to visit the monasteries and temples. Photography is allowed even inside the temple.
Sera Je Monastery keeps Tibetan Buddhist culture alive in Bylakuppe. It is modelled after the original Sera University in Tibet. Sera belongs to the Yellow-Hat Gelugpa sect of Buddhism and is the local seat of education. More than 5,000 Buddhists are studying here to become monks.
There are also several stores around the temple area that sell Tibetan jewellery, handicrafts, incense and souvenirs.
Sakya Monastery is a double story maroon coloured structure just off the road as you enter Bylakuppe.
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery: This is one of the four great monasteries of central Tibet and the original seat of the Panchen Lama. This was re-established in Bylakuppe in 1972. There are 250 resident monks who study sutra and tantra.