Situated about 34 km away from Coorg, Namdroling Monastery, or Golden temple, is said to be the largest teaching centre of Tibetan Buddhism. From its name (Golden temple), one might have guessed how magnificent and beautiful it would be! You can witness some best example of Tibetan architecture and cultural . The ornate design and artistic interior along with the antique and intricate artwork and beautiful mural painting, will attract you.
Initially ,this monastery had a covered area of 80 sq. feet and was built using bamboo. When the Tibetans were in exile, they were given this bamboo by the Indian government. Now, this place houses about 5,000 people of the Sangha community and they have built many educational institutions and hospitals.
The full name of this monastery is “Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Daryeling” which might be difficult to pronounce for some people, so this place is generally called as Golden temple or Namdroling Monastery. The founding stone of this monastery was laid by the respected Pema Norbu Rinpoche in 1963 who was exiled from Tibet. He was the 11th throne bearer of the Palyul lineage of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. The initial architecture of this place was designed using bamboo over an area of 80 sq. feet which were donated by the generous India government at that time in order to give asylum to Tibetan refugees. One can see the giant 40 feet tall golden statue of Guru Padmasambhava, Amityaus, and Buddha Sakyamuni. There are painting around them showing different aspects of Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism. It is unique and impressive to see monks performing the prayer rituals. It is a truly fascinating experience for those who have not visited Buddhist monastery before.
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Tips For Visiting Namdroling Monastery
- You can attend the prayers around 1 PM.
2. You should rotate the prayer wheels only in a clockwise direction with your right hand.
3. You, as a visitor, will get accommodation and food inside the monastery premises.
4. You can bring your camera or video recorder in order to capture and film a video of this amazing place.
5. Pets and footwear are not allowed in the monastery.
6. You should have your food before 7 PM in the restaurants located near to the monastery as the closing time is 7 PM.
7. Do not offer to shake hands with the monks.
8. The clothing should be formal and in consonance to any shrine, particularly Hindu shrine.
9. You can keep your shoes, phone outside the main hall.
10. You can buy traditional Tibetan costumes, carpets, jewellery and many more in the shopping centre near the monastery.
11. Alcohol, smoking is strictly prohibited in the monastery premises.
Festivals Celebrated at Namdroling Monastery
You can get yourselves involved in many festive occasions that are celebrated in Namdroling Monastery. Out of many, the occasion of Tibetan New Year is celebrated with great fervour. To enjoy the Tibetan new year, You need to visit this place during February or March (according to the Tibetan lunar calendar). As per the Tibetan culture and calendar, the month of June is very special amongst the monks as the enlightenment of Gautam Buddha happened on the 15th day of the month June, which is known as Saga Dawa Dhuechen. The fourth Tibetan lunar month is called Saga Dawa and the 10th and 15th days of the month are popularly known as Dhuechen
Losar Cham or best known as the Lama dance. In this occasion, you can witness some monks sitting and others standing or moving around the place. You can see them selling food in plastic bags instead of chanting and meditating as you might be thinking. The food items they sell are potato chips, cold drinks, packaged drinking water, and watermelon slices. This festival might sound a bit odd to general people, but it teaches a significant lesson , every human being should learn that is the ‘act of consumption’ and the ‘act of restraint’.
Best Time To Visit Namdroling Monastery
The monastery is open to people throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Coorg and this monastery is from June to March due to the pleasant weather when the temperature would be around 20 to 23 degrees Celsius. Buddha Jayanti that falls on the 6th of July, Tibetan New Year and Dalai Lama’s Birthday are some significant events you should choose to visit. You can avoid the monsoon and peak winter time as both might be pretty uncomfortable.
Stay Near Namdroling Monastery
You can find accommodation in the monastery itself, which is quite comfortable. However, you can book hotels and lodging in Kushalnagar town, which is located at a distance of 6 km from the monastery. But you can get more option for some great accommodation in Coorg which is only 30 km away from the monastery.
The architecture of Namdroling Monastery
Once you step in the monastery, you would notice that it is quite big inside. The first thing that will draw your attention is three 40 feet tall statues of enlightened Buddha known as Padmasambhava, Buddha & Amitayus. Even though the floor of the monastery is marble, yet it is covered with a carpet. You can peacefully sit on the carpet with burning incense sticks to get the most meditative feeling. If you look around, you will see the walls having paintings, depicting different life stages of Buddha. You can also see the influence of Tibetan culture through Tibetan Gods and demons. You come across many sacred texts of Buddhism, trumpets, bells, incense sticks, horns, prayer flags, prayer wheels, prayer beads, drum and many more related to the culture of Tibet and Buddhism.
This place is also known as the Golden temple due to the golden statues of Buddha.
The followers believe that if one reveres and respects these symbols and statues present here, then they will be bestowed with wisdom, compassion and peace.
How to Reach Golden Temple (Namdroling Monastery)
The golden temple or the Namdroling Monastery is 6 km away from the town of Kushalnagar and about 40 km away from Coorg. You can reach this monastery quite easily using any public or private transport. However, from Kushalnagar,you need to take an auto rickshaw, which is the only means of public transport to this place.