McLeod Ganj Of South India: Guide To Visiting Bylakuppe
Bylakuppe is a small town nestled in Karnataka. It lies to the west of the district of Mysore. It is a beautiful Tibetan settlement and is the second-largest settlement of the Tibetans in the world after Dharamshala. It is unlike any other South-Indian state. It is literally an abode bearing a Tibetan culture and population. Hence, it's popularity in the South. When such a town which is in stark contrast to its surrounding districts, it has to be a big hit amongst tourists.
Bylakuppe Facts and Figures
Dominated by a Tibetan settlement, the population is assumed to be around 70,000. Back in 1998, the population was around 50,000. The town established by Lugsum Samdupling (in 1961) and Dickyi Larson (in 1969). It was an amalgamation of about twenty villages which came together to be called the town of Bylakuppe.
If you're a spiritual seeker and are looking for a place where you can soak in the power of piety and devotion, then Bylakuppe is the right place for you. The monasteries here are powerful but unspoken of. It is very rare for mainstream Indians travelers to come across Bylakuppe. If you want to indulge in exploring the Tibetan cultures, the colonies are the right place to interact with the locals. in addition to this, there are cultivable settlements in the town too. The Golden Temple of the South, Namdroling Monastery, is the major attraction of this 'Mini Tibet'. It is quite an established town where you have a lot of places to visit.
To get into Bylakuppe from Mysore or Bangalore, you can take KSRTC buses which take you towards Coorg. The buses from Mysore leave every 2-3 hours in the day. The buses from Bangalore are usually early morning buses. Get dropped off at Kushal Nagar or you can place a request to the driver to drop you off at Bylakuppe if he agrees to. From here, you can catch an auto which can take you to Lama Camp. Rickshaws are available 24/7 to get to Bylakuppe.
Inside Bylakuppe, transportation is rare. Auto Rickshaws don't really go around the town. The best way to commute here would be either hiring a car or walking distances. Hitch-hiking could be an option too if you get tired of walking.
Best time to Visit
Bylakuppe is a town which can be visited at any time throughout the year. It witnesses some tourist inflow during summer, festive and winter vacations. However, it is recommended to avoid visiting during the rainy seasons that is in the months of June and July. If you can't bear strong winters, then avoid December and January, due to the chilling weather here.
As mentioned earlier, this place is the Golden Temple of the South and is a must-visit for its serenity and tranquility. The spiritual vibe, the idol of Buddha, the Tibetan rituals are worth viewing. The temple is vibrant and colorful. The serenity of the place is worth indulging in.
Sera Jay Monastery
Another of the famous temples of the town, Sera Jay Monastery is known for its religious debates and discussions. It is peaceful and pious. You can't help but get lost into the virtuous surroundings of the temple. The paintings embellishing the Monastery are pretty exotic.
Tibetan Shopping Center
If you are a shopping enthusiast and can't leave without taking back some relics of Bylakuppe, head to this shopping center which stands just opposite the Golden Temple. From souvenirs to antiques, jewelry, handicrafts, and apparels, you get it all.
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
Another small Monastery worth visiting is Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. The hall of the monastery is open to visitors and you are free to explore it. About 4000 monks live in this Monastery. It's a haven of peace and tranquility. The monks here are friendly and interactive. You can ask them anything you want if you're curious about the Monastery or Bylakuppe.
Indulge in a Tibetan Food Feast
In Bylakuppe, you must try the local food instead of eating off the mainstream cuisines. Momos, thukpa, and thendruk are some of the local Tibetan delicacies that you should be eating when in Bylakuppe.
Where to Eat: There are local eateries and Cafes around Namdroling Monastery that you can get your hands on some delicious local food. Some bakeries near Sera Jay Monastery serve great herbal tea and cakes. Tibetan butter tea and meals are just sinful.
Tip: Restaurants and eateries shut down by 8:00 pm. So try and eat before that.
The place is a pretty picturesque town where you mostly have to travel on foot. But it's an offbeat experience that will give you the time of your life. Bylakuppe needs to be excavated by having some time in hand. You basically need to have a slowcation here. It's a beautiful town and it sure gives you some memories and interactions to remember for a lifetime.