Wish I could have got to spend more time at Namdroling monastery. It is not the place for a whirlwind tourist excursion. Here you need to sit silently for hours and hours and just be. When in the monastery, I spent my maximum time in the Golden temple. Sitting quietly there with my eyes resting upon the imposing Buddha idol, I felt like strolling within myself. No, perhaps not even that rather a feeling of stillness and quietness pervaded my being. Sixty feet tall idol of Buddha flanked by Guru Padmasambhava and..Amitayush…….. in sparkling gold, white, red and green cloths looped and festooned in front of idols, colorful paintings and carvings on walls and pillars, pictures of the gurus high on the three sides of walls of hall and hoards of tourists entering and exiting, posing in front of idols, cameras and cell phones clicking, flashes shining……any of these things could have easily distracted me anywhere else but here as if all these things were a part of scheme and hushed calm prevailed above everything. Even the birds flying near the idols were not making noise. Many birds rested on the pillars and carvings around the main idols. We have always encountered those boards and planks with the inscription’ photography not allowed ‘ on almost every religious place like temples.Even at the places, which have almost nothing worth clicking such signboards are displayed. But at this magnificent seat of tranquility one can use camera freely and believe me these neither disturb nor distract.

_MG_1520_MG_1614web(1)

Inside the main temple in the monastery

_MG_1523 _MG_1590 _MG_1542_1

closer look of the idols

_MG_1536

dragon on the pillar

_MG_1618 _MG_1620

Murals and paintings on the walls. Almost all the walls of all the three temples in the premises were covered with the bright colored paintings of mythological references. Wish could learn more about these. The book shop in the premises was closed at the time we visited otherwise may be could have got some book about their mythological tales and creatures.

_MG_1630

Entrance to the temple. These are the wooden beads hanging as a curtain.

_MG_1657

outside the main temple

_MG_1770

Another smaller temple in the premises. This had many prayer scriptures kept there lined, many instruments and was adorned with many symbols. Wish could learn more about those symbols.

_MG_1733

The long wind pipe looking instrument inside the temple. We were told monks blow it when prayers are conducted.

_MG_1734 _MG_1715

A closer look of an instrument and prayer scriptures inside this temple.

_MG_1507

This is the first temple we behold while entering the monastery. The moment I laid my eyes on it, I stood there awestruck, resplendent in the afternoon sun, it’s high golden shikhar with the rainbow arch appeared to be in commune with the simmering blue sky above. It was not just splendid and magnificent. It beckons you to take into another world.

_MG_1763

inner view of this temple.

_MG_1669

another view of this temple

_MG_1666(1)

The young disciple, walking towards his settlement. Many monks dressed in their traditional attires can be seen in temple premises, busy in their chores.

We visited Namdroling monastery while our way back from Coorg to Bangalore. Namdroling was established by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche. He laid down the foundation stone of the three storeyed main temple and the place was consecrated by His Holiness Dalai lama. The name Namdroling was bequeathed to the monastery by him only. His holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche was the eleventh throne holder of Palyul lineage of Nyingma. He attained Niravana in 2009.

Namdroling monastery is located in Bylakuppe, which falls in Mysore district . Bylakuppe is approximately two hours by road from Mysore and about five hours or so from Bangalore. The nearest town Kushalnagar is about six Km from Bylakuppe.

Bylakuppe is a Tibetan settlement housing many monasteries, university, educational institutions and residential quarters. Way back in fifties when relations between Dalai Lama and Chinese government strained due to Tibet, he took political asylum in India and there was great exodus of Tibetans from Tibet to India. In 1961 the first Tibtan settlement Lugsung Samdupling was established in Bylakuppe to accommodate Tibetan refugees. As refugees from Tibet continued to come steadily, eight years later in 1969 another settlement Dickey Larsoe was established next to the first settlement. Now it is an important center of Tibetan Buddhists rather than a refugee settlement.

As we headed towards highway after visiting monastery, the colorful prayer flags fluttering in the cool wind over the houses, buildings, lanes and trees appeared to me , trying to stop me. I felt as if they are trying to tell me that there is a lot more to know and feel in this place.
We had a very short visit but the experience left an impact on me which I shall cherish for a long time. I definitely felt more at peace with myself.

_MG_1636

The present moment
contains past and future.
The secret of transformation,
is in the way we handle this very moment.
— Thich Nhat Hanh – Understanding Our Mind

Pics by Sunder Iyer

This time our Bangaluru trip was a short one. We had only one spare day in hand for any outing to nearby place . After much discussion and research we chose Bheemeshwari as our day-out.

Bheemeshwari is some 100 Km away from Bangaluru and if one is residing towards Kanakpura road, it might come to  be shorter.

We started from Sarjapur at about 7’clock. After crossing Kanakpura as we turned left there was some road digging going on. The residents directed the driver towards a round about way through the locality to reach the main road.On the main road our driver took the wrong turn and we drove about 25 km. on the wrong direction. However later on we retraced and reached the turn from where Bheemeshwari was 21 km.

Further on the road there was a check post of forest department where vehicle numbers were being noted, the bus ahead of us was checked thoroughly. beyond that point the jungle engulfed the road. The boards on road side told us that we had entered the area of Cauvery National park. Though it is said that the best time to visit the place is from Oct.to February, I feel October is a better option  than February. Just after the rains the jungle would have been much greener and may be we could have witnessed more streams and brooks running and few of water falls, if not gushing then trickling down.

Well ,it was end of February and jungle catered mixed display of green and dried up trees. The brown, black hills stood bare as backdrop. Billboards of many animals were displayed on the roadside but none were seen by us. However the melodious chirping of various birds welcomed us. Half of the jungle was yellow and brown but the sun filtering through the  branches and leaves added a resplendent charm  to the landscape.

As we drove further we could see the Cauvery running on one side . The river was lost to view in between but reappeared after some distance. Vehicles were parked and groups of people could be seen near the water. Our taxi raced through the jungle till we reached the Jungle lodge. The jungle lodge provides certain adventure sports like walking on ropes, coracle rides. They organize fishing camps too. Anglers come here to fight with the mighty Masheer fish. The camp follows a “Catch and Release” policy. Jungle lodge provides accommodation and food too. One can also opt for spending only few hours of the day here.  The charges of  Rs. 1700 per person appear a bit too much for the lunch, tea and few activities one can be part of during that time.

we did not spent time at lodge but spent our time on various spots at the bank of Cauvery.

The first spot we got down was comparatively less crowded. Rather we were the only strollers at that particular hour. Cauvery flowed silently. The blue sky with white fluffy clouds dipped into the cool waters appeared to take refuge from the bright hot sun overhead. Under the shade of two huge trees, the dried yet damp leaves caressed the soles with a cool refreshing touch. The alluring curves of the river disappearing into deep woods enticed one to follow it but the foreboding looks of jungle and far off sounds dared one to venture.

There were these two big trees, one with white stem and another the black. The thick roots of trees embracing and entwining each other lay open due to soil erosion writing a beautiful ode to intimacy.

While walking on the bank of the river we came across an idol of a God-Goddess, a nandi and other remains of temple strewn around half buried in the sand. There were a few idols submerged in water too. Were they all part of a temple once erect on the banks of Cauvery? Did the mighty, roaring Cauvery of monsoon had destroyed and gulped the entire temple ? It might be so but the red colored powder smeared on the forehead of deity while it was worshiped in the temple still glowed, perhaps waters of river could not wash  the colour of the unshakable faith.

On this spot across the road is a small temple. It appears to be comparatively new. New replaces the old and the cycle of destruction, creation and evolution goes on.

Further down the road we stopped at another place. This place was full of people and their various activities. many people were taking bath, women washing and drying their clothes. kids splashing and swimming. Others were enjoying the coracle ride. On the other bank of river the red sand sparkled in the afternoon sun, a group of youngsters on bikes were having fun on that side away from all the din. Various groups settled down under the shade of trees, mats spread, making fire, preparing food, booming laughter, echoing voices, the mirth, the jest filled the air with a soothing warmth and the ripples of Cauvery nestled close to the boulders to whisper the sweet cooing symphony of ever lasting togetherness.

On the spot we came across a group of people carrying an idol of goddess riding on the lion. The idol was kept on an open palanquin/ palki of bamboos which few men were carrying on their shoulders. The procession came near the river, women of the group performed certain rituals while drummer was continuously beating the drum and then the procession returned. While returning few men were trying to pull the palki back while others were pulling it to front. This too was a kind of ritual. There always are two opposite kind of forces working in nature, in life.

After spending few hours we decided to return from our day out on the banks of Cauvery. It was a day full of myriad shades, moods and emotions. The quiet moments on the secluded bank, in the company of silently flowing Cauvery, tall trees, the distant jungle and the azure sky filled my heart with peace and serenity. Looking at the river made me think that during monsoons the river swells, roars, gushes and destroys too, in summers it shrinks in volume but irrespective of the outward influences it continues to flow. It appeared to give a message of living every season, taking the time as it comes, tasting all the flavours with a resigned equanimity to all outside influences yet moving on.  And then there were people engaged in various kinds of activities– cooking, eating, playing, resting, gossiping and performing rituals. Irrespective of the nature of one’s engagement, solitary or in groups, the continuous murmuring  of the ripples of water , the placid rhythmical flow of the river provide an assurance to everyone. Perhaps we all have a wanderer tucked in inside all of us and the journey of river hits the chord deep within.

bheemesh28

bheemesh15

bheemesh12

bheemesh10

bheemesh9

bheemesh21

bheemesh20

bheemesh24

bheemesh23

bheemesh26

bheemesh27

pics- sunder iyer