A glimpse of Tibet - in India

The ochre and burgundy seem to be the omnipotent hues here. The shimmering gold of the structures are conspicuous from miles away. The drone of the distant drums and pipes relentlessly fill the air. If only a few snow capped mountains would show up in the horizon…

Bylakuppe is the largest Tibetan settlement in India, and contains a number of inspiring monasteries and temples.

I have never been to Tibet, but it feels like mini Tibet. I fell in love with the architecture. I love Tibetan food. I can eat momos at any time. In fact, I can live on it.

While the Tibetans in Bylakuppe have adjusted to the weather and ways of South India, they retain their language, culture, medicine, and commitment to Buddhism. They also retain their characteristic sense of ease, generosity and humor.

The people always smile at the tourist, never have restrictions even for the ignorant and instill their monasteries with warmth and camaraderie that is palpable by everyone who spends a few moments inside them. It is difficult not to admire them.

The colours only get brighter and merrier on the monasteries and inside. The gold mixes seamlessly with the curls of turquoise and the crimson. The dragons seem to emerge out from the intricate wooden carvings. Flags of myriad hues flutter with the evening wind.

The pupils take their place in front of the golden deities. Tea is served and the chants begin. The drums soon make their thunderous presence felt while the pipes sustain the din.

My journey to bylakuppe was very brief. I went with another photographer friend of mine. We spent our time talking to the local people, in the monasteries and eating momos. We hitchhiked on a tractor and spent the night inside the library of one of the guest houses. At night, we wandered around and went to the university. It was one of my best trips ever.

But, if you want to experience the real feeling of being in bylakuppe, you need to spend some more time there. It is on my- to do list to go back and spend at least a few weeks there.

This project of mine is just an overview of bylakuppe. I plan to do a detailed project in the near future.

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