Asia > South Asia > India > Southern India > Karnataka > Cauvery Basin > Mysore (district) > Bylakuppe
- From Bangalore, you can easily get KSRTC/Private buses to Kushal Nagar. It reaches usually very early in the morning ~5 AM at Kushal Nagar. From there you generally have to catch an Auto Rickshaw, which are waiting 24 hrs near the bus stop to reach Bylakuppe.
- From Mysore, you get KSRTC buses (which go towards Coorg) from the bus stand every 2-3 hours during the day time. You can either get down at Kushal Nagar or request the bus driver/conductor to stop at Bylakuppe, from where you can take an auto towards the "Lama Camp".
The monasteries are numerous here but they are spread in a 3,000 acre compound. Autorikshaws are rare in Byakuppe and numerous in Kushal Nagar. Hiring your own vehicle from Kushal Nagar is the only option.
- Auto rickshaws can be hired to visit the Tibetan settlement.
- Walking is a really good option if you have the time for it.
- Hitch-hiking (Taking a lift)
- Namdroling Monastery. Is located at 4th camps, and with around 3,000 monks is the largest Nyingma monastery outside of Tibet. Nyingma Monastry is also known as Golden Temple; this name was given my the tourists. It is especially famous for its three copper and gold plated statues of Buddha (one 60 Ft. high and the other two 58 Ft. high) located in the Golden Temple. In accordance with the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, sacred scriptures and stupas have been placed inside these statues as a means of consectration. This monastery is popular with local Tibetans who attend rituals ceremonies (pujas), and visitors are very welcome to stroll around the monastery grounds and may freely turn the prayer wheels and circumambulate the stupas. According to Tibetan belief, turning prayer wheels disseminates the prayers to the five directions. 'Wind Horses' (lungta), which are flags enscribed with prayers, have the same function.
- Sera - This monastic community is comprised of two monasteries, Sera Jey and Sera Mey, and with a combined population of almost 5,000 it is one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastic communities outside of Tibet. A "Welcome to Sera" booklet (₹15) in available from the shop opposite Siddhartha guesthouse and at the Tibet Network internet café.
- Debate/"Question answer" sessions, At Sera the monasteries. These sessions are a great sight to watch. The students have 2 question answer sessions every day, one in the morning at around 9:30 AM, other in the evening. The debates are 1-to-1 and the sight of all the students(pairs of students) debating parallely is really a thing to see, especially the clapping action that the questioning student does.
- Science center at Sera Jey Monastery (In the Sera Jey Monastic complex). It is an interesting science center if you get somebody to explain it (Search for somebody called Khechok, he manages the science center and is a great person to talk to). This is a great attempt to bridge the said gap between "modern" technology and the age old traditions of Buddhism
- Prayer wheels. Those with enough stamina can rotate the prayer wheels that surround the monastery compound. The wheels contain consecrated mantras and prayers, and it is believed that those who turn them in a clockwise direction and with a pure motivation of benefiting others are creating the causes and conditions that will eventually place them in a position where they themselves can help relieve others of their suffering. Although turning the wheels is considered an alternative to chanting mantras, most devotees combine the two activities.
- There are numerous fine restaurants in Kushal Nagar (10 km) serving south Indian food.
- There are small markets near some monasteries selling handicrafts. Do not forget to bargain.
- Tibeten art center (Thangkha/ canvas paintings) (On the way to Sera monsatries).
There are a few hotels right outside the Namdroling Monastery complex, where one can take in a meal combined with a shopping jaunt as well.
Beside the restaurants you can also have at the monasteries during the normal meal time of the monks(Breakfast: ~0630, Lunch: ~1130, Dinner: ~1730)
- Namdroling Monastery Restaurant This is where monks usually have their meals, and is especially recommended for travelers with light wallets.
- 1 Olive Restaurant, Near 3 road junction, Camp 3 (a few hundred metres outside the Namdroling Monastery gate). Has a friendly proprietor who will recommend food suitable for your palate while engaging you in casual conversation.
- Green Land, Near Post office, Kushal Nagar (10 km), ☏ , . Kerala style meat and fish dishes. Fishcurry lunchː Rs.120. Spacious upstairs section.
- Sera Monastries. Breakfast: 0630, Lunch: 1100, Dinner: 1730. You can have food along with the monks during their normal meal times.
Overseas visitors planning to stay in Bylakupee require a 'Protected Area Permit' - while these are easy to obtain, they can take several months to process. See information on Namdroling Monastery's website.
Good accommodation is available at Kushalanagar town, 11 km away.
- Namdroling Monastery, ☏ , . Offers simple accommodation. - basic meals are provided
- Sera Monastery, ☏ , (Yiga Cheoling Guest house), (Theckchen Khangsar Guest House - seramey monastery). Has 3 guesthouses. Yiga Cheoling offers usable free WiFi. The profits from the guesthouses help fund the hospital and school in Sera, while profits from the shops and the internet cafés are used towards upkeep of the monastery. A simple double room is ₹500 and has an attached bathroom with hot water.
- Paljor Dargye Ling Hotel, ☏ , . Located near Namdroling Monastery. 500 for double room.
- Sakya Monastery guest house, ☏ . As on last checked they did not provide WiFi. 700 for double room.
- Penor Rinpoche Charity Foundation - The lodge is just in front of the Nyingmapa Monastery and is a good place to stay, if you are spending couple of days in Bylakuppe. Double bedrooms with TV cost ₹430. Contacting them beforehand to book a room is also possible. Phone Number : 08223-258686, 08223-258848
- Krishnarajanagara Paddy field paradise
- Dubbare elephant camp near Kushalnagar, it is on the banks of river Kabini and the mahouts bring their elephants for bath here. You can buy a ticket and give the elephants a bath with your own hands here.