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.
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:
A few from just outside the Golden Temple…
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)
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.
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.
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.
Camera used: Canon 450D w/ 18-55mm kit lens