Photos from my Bylakuppe trips (and Nisargadhama Wildlife Reserve)

Since I’m done with my recent travelogues, I decided to go back through my photo collection and share my older travel experiences. I’ve traveled quite a bit down and around South India, and though I may not be able to recount my experience exactly, I’ll try my best to re-trace the steps.

I’m starting off with Bylakuppe, a Tibetan settlement in Karnataka state and around 3hrs drive from Bangalore city. I’ve been to Bylakuppe twice —  first, in 2008, en route to Coorg and the second time, with AOL India’s Shutterbugs group.

First visit to Bylakuppe (October 2008)

It’s kind of weird to be traveling for an hour or two through Karnataka’s smaller towns, seeing the locals and sign boards in Kannada and then suddenly seeing a lot of Tibetans and Buddhist monks in one large piece of land off Mysore road.

We were en route to Coorg and had heard of Bylakuppe from friends, so we decided to make it the lunch stop in our journey. It was noon by the time we arrived and we decided to quickly check out the Namdroling Monastery – also known as the Golden Temple – before having lunch.

Bylakuppe Golden Temple entrance Namdroling Monastery
Namdroling Monastery

I don’t remember which day it exactly was but when we arrived at the Golden Temple, the monks were on a break (I guess) as few were seen inside the temples and halls.

From inside the Golden Temple:

Bylakuppe Golden temple empty Namdroling Monastery
No prayers were happening at Namdroling Monastery at this time

Bylakuppe Golden Temple BuddhaBylakuppe Golden Temple roofGolden temple Buddha statueBylakuppe Golden temple window painting

A few from just outside the Golden Temple…

Bylakuppe temple buddhist kids playingBylakuppe temple monk shadeBylakuppe buddhist hostel… before lunch.

Bylakuppe lunchBylakuppe restaurant flyBylakuppe monk lunch

I forgot the name of the restaurant we had lunch from but it was a garden restaurant on the road that leads to the Golden Temple. Don’t expect anything fancy in Bylakuppe, most restaurants (and there are only a few) serve simple Tibetan dishes. You do get South Indian food just outside the Golden Temple and the standard “fried rice” fare is available at some restaurants. But don’t go asking around for Chinese food! Tibetans hate them!

If you are wondering what we had, it was thukpa (noodle soup; veg & beef) and tingmo (steamed rice bread).

It was shocking how cheap it all was. Three of us ate all that for less than Rs. 100!

On the way out, we checked out the other places of interest in Bylakuppe (or at least the places that looked interesting to us)

Bylakuppe Nalanda Institute gate
Bylakuppe Nalanda International Institute

Bylakuppe corn fieldsBylakuppe Nalanda InstituteBylakuppe Ramesh Loi car

After this, we headed back to the highway for Coorg.

Second visit to Bylakuppe (March 2009)

My second visit to Bylakuppe was with my office photography club called Shutterbugs. It was a weekend trip, leaving on a Saturday morning, spending the night at Kushal Nagar and heading back the next day. Fortunately, this time, we arrived at the Golden Temple when prayers were in full force.

Bylakuppe temple Buddhist blowhornsBylakuppe temple Buddhist studyingBylakuppe temple Buddhist study roomBylakuppe temple Buddhist studyingBylakuppe temple Buddhist prayerBylakuppe temple Buddhist prayerBylakuppe temple shutterbugs

Since we had all day to spend in Bylakuppe, I got a chance to go around the whole vicinity this time around and explore the place better.

Bylakuppe Buddhist lone kidBylakuppe temple Buddhist treeBylakuppe temple pagodasBylakuppe temple Buddhist kidBylakuppe temple BuddhistsBylakuppe Golden templeBylakuppe temple Buddhist touristsBylakuppe model townshipBylakuppe temple Buddhist kidsBylakuppe garden geese swanBylakuppe temple fountain

Bylakuppe Golden temple

As the day darkened, we headed to Kushal Nagar which is pretty much the largest town in the area and took rooms at a cheap lodge. We set out again the next day, rather early, for Nisargadhama which was fairly close by.

NisargadhamaNisargadhama hanging bridgeNisargadhama monkeys treesNisargadhama monkey plateNisargadhama monkeys fightingNisargadhama monkeyNisargadhama monkey benchNisargadhama KaveriNisargadhama tree river streamAfter Nisargadhama, we headed back on to Mysore Road for Bangalore, stopping for lunch at Hotel Mayura River View in Srirangapatna — a very nice (& affordable) restaurant by the river banks.

Hotel Mayura River View KaveriHotel Mayura River View KaveriHotel Mayura River View KaveriAs I sat there by the river, the setting oddly got me thinking about ‘Jungle Book’.

Camera used: Canon 450D w/ 18-55mm kit lens

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  • nandakumar


    very good photography. excelent photography mind.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you uncle!

  • Monisha


    Loved ur blog it absolutely left me fascinated by the pot pourri of cultures U saw in Karnataka near Coorg. Where did u stay?

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Yeah, it truly felt like entering another country in a span of few minutes.

    Where we stayed in Bylakuppe? Well, the first time we didn’t but the second time, we spent the night at some cheap lodge called Anupam Lodge Deluxe. (I wouldn’t put much credence on the ‘Deluxe’ bit)

    In Coorg, the first time I stayed at a lovely place called Palace Estates ( The second time, I stayed a friend’s estate. I still have more photos to put up from my two visits to Coorg but I’m currently busy with my Dubai photos.

    Thanks for dropping by. Did you come across my blog via Google?

  • lekha


    hi mithun !! i just saw a show on bylakuppae & i’m planning to visit that place.Please help me as to how to go to bylakuppae from bangalore and also a good place to stay…PLEASE

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Hey Lekha,
    Thanks for dropping by. To get to Bylakuppe, you have head on to Mysore Road and take a right at major junction where if you head straight, you continue on to Mysore. If you take the right, it heads to Coorg.

    Bylakuppe is just off from the road which leads to Coorg. You’ll know when you’re there, trust me 🙂 The Paljor Dhargey Ling Guest House offers clean, basic and cheap rooms just outside the Golden Temple.

    Kushal Nagar (which is the main town outside Bylakuppe) has a lot more options. I really didn’t spend much time looking around so I’m sorry, you may have to do some Google searches for hotels in Kushal Nagar. We stayed at Anupam Deluxe Lodge — but ignore the ‘Deluxe’ bit. I really wouldn’t recommend staying there.

  • Vasanthi


    Very Nice, Thankyou very much

  • Cam


    Hello Mithun,
    Wonderful photos and makes me look forward even more to my upcoming visit to the area. Thank you.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    You’re welcome.

  • chetan


    Grt PICS………..

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks man!

  • AMOD


    excellent photography Mithun, I am extra-motivated now to visit Coorg and spend at least a week to explore. Planning a visit in the 3rd week of June 2012, I should be, most probably, driving, Have 3 days at Mahindra Resorts at Kodagu, and need a learned advise from someone like you.
    Should I plan visiting Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary or is June not really advisable?
    I shall be driving from Pune with my wife.
    would appreciate your advise Mithun.
    warm regards

  • James


    Great pics and reading.
    I took over the sponsorship of one of the Tibetan refugees in Purang Camp No.1 when my mother died some years ago and have been longing to visit the place. Looking at the google map I recognise many of the temples and place names from the letters I get back (usually written by one of the monks). I expected it to be difficult to reach but the car you were driving doesn’t look out of the ordinary. What are the main roads and more importantly, the minor roads like and when is the best time of the year to visit?

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    There are no minor roads really. From Bangalore, just take Mysore Road until you reach a major junction just outside Mysore city. If you head straight from that signal, you enter Mysore city. Left takes you to Ooty, and the right takes you to Coorg. Bylakuppe is on that same road. A simple Google Maps recommendation can honestly help you out.

  • I just came onto your post and found it quite interesting. I am also associated with hotels in amritsar, hotels near golden temple and enjoy to read the stuff on the same as it’s rarely found on hotels.

  • Sangeeta Foodtravel


    Lovely pics! You were so lucky that you could see the monks at prayer, that must have been amazing. And I was dying to try out the food there! I missed out on so many other things in Bylakuppe, like the beautiful white stupas. Do check out my post on Bylakuppe at

  • sneha


    Nice pics. Is the place located bin Karnataka. ???

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Yes, 3 hours drive from Bangalore.

  • Raghavender


    Very nice & informative.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you Raghavender!

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