One of the popular places to visit for a day, from Mysore, is the Tibetan Settlement of Bylakuppe near Kushalanagar. A great friend of Manjula and Stephen’s is Ani Samten, originally from the States she is a Buddhist nun (that’s what Ani means) who’s lives at a Monastery in the settlement.
Some of our guests have been really lucky to be able to meet up with Ani and get a personal tour!
Let’s hear from Ani Samten herself about that very tour.
“One of my fave jobs at the monastery is giving tours to visiting foreigners.
We have our original, traditionally built/decorated temple, a new temple under construction, an incense-making factory and a statue maker.
I’ll take you on a virtual tour, in the same order I take visitors, starting with the old temple.
Welcome to Drikung Kagyudpa Monastic Institute, known as Kagyu Gonpa in the settlement.
Everyone enters through the main gate. The original temple is up the steps, in the background
The double entry door to the temple.
Notice the rich, vivid colours and how every surface is painted…often in a different colour.
In Tibet, where the landscape can be so stark/barren, it is amazing to see richly painted temples such as this emerge over the crest of a hill.
Inside the shrine room.
As in most temples in Tibet, every inch of wall space is painted/covered with thangkas, wall hangings of deities/lamas painted on canvas and framed in brocade.
Left rear is a throne for HH Dalai Lama. Rear of the room is a huge, red Buddha Amitabha statue, encased in glass. To the left of the statue is a photo of our lineage head.
Two of the three drums used in our ceremonies are in the photo, as are both types of cymbals. Three types of horns are used in our ceremonies, but none are in this photos.
A huge thangka of Buddha Amitahba in his Pure Land.
Buddha Amitabha is the Buddha of Infinite Light, and very important to the Phowa practice. Phowa is the transference of consciousness at the time of death. Our lama, H E Choeje Ayang Rinpoche, is a Phowa master.
The two black items are two of the very long horns used in our ceremonies. They telescope out to be very long when used
On the table in front of the horns is tsog (blessed food) offering, which will be distributed to the monks and lay people after the tsokpa (prayer service).”
Do check Ani’s facebook page to contact her and for more details of her life here in India
If you’re fortunate there may the opportunity to meet up with Ani if you choose to visit the Tibetan Settlement. For details of how to contact Ani and to arrange a day trip to the Settlement where you’ll also find: the Golden Temple, other monasteries, Thangka, carpet and prayer flag workshops. shops in Camp One and restaurants for Tibetan meals.
It isn’t admissible to stay after dark in the settlement without a Goverment pass (takes ages) but its prefectly possible to visit for a day trip either from Mysore or Coorg (its just on the edge of Coorg). We can arrange a taxi and if you wish to stay overnight (nearby) we can suggest places.
Do check the map of the settlement drawn by one of our previous guests to help you find your way around.
Ani doesn’t charge for her tours but I’m sure a donation to her work at the Monastery would be appreciated.
Do be sure to check out the workshop where they make the statues, it’s one of my personal favourites.