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About Golden Temple (Namdroling Monastery), Coorg


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Namdroling Monastery, situated at a distance of 34 km from the Coorg, is the largest teaching centre of the school of Tibetan Buddhism known as Nyingmapa. Popularly known as the 'Golden Temple', the Namdroling Monastery holds some excellent examples of Tibetan architecture and artwork, as seen with the elaborately decorated temple tower and ornate outer walls, intricately adorned with beautiful murals. It is spread over an area of 80 square feet and was built from Bamboo which was donated by the Indian Government to the Tibetans in exile. Today, it houses many auxiliary structures like educational institutions and a hospital, in addition to being home to about 5,000 members of the Sangha community.

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Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Daryeling is the full name of the Namdroling Monastery. The foundation for this majestic monastery was laid down in 1963 by His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche, the 11th throne-holder of the Palyul lineage of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, following his exit from Tibet. The initial structure was made of bamboo and covered an area of 80 sq feet. The current 80 sqm area that the temple holds is thanks to the generosity of the Indian government, who donated the land to the Tibetan refugees who settled in the area. Inside, one has the privilege of witnessing the enormous 40 feet high golden statues of Guru

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Padmasambhava, Buddha Sakyamuni and Amityaus, surrounded by lovely paintings of various aspects of Tibetan Buddhist mythology. The prayer rituals conducted by the monks are a unique sight that must not be missed. The serene vibe of the place is amplified by the well-manicured gardens that surround the area.

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Many ceremonies are held in the Namdroling Monastery every year amongst which the Tibetan New Year, which usually falls in February/March as per the lunar calendar, is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. As per the Tibetan calendar, June is a special month for practice for the monks as the enlightenment of Buddha took place on the 15th day of June and is known as Saga Dawa Dhuechen. The 10th and 15th days of the month are known as Dhuechen and the fourth Tibetan lunar month is known as Saga Dawa.

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The lama dance, known as Losar Cham, is performed at this time. During the festival, monks are seated in rows while some of them are standing and moving around the place. These monks, instead of chanting, sell food which is packaged in plastic bags kept in plastic crates to the public. Some of the food items include potato chips, watermelon slices, packaged drinking water and cold drinks. Few monks also walk on the sides, and the seated monks bring a snack or a drink to sustain sitting there. Two essential qualities which one gets to learn during this festival include the 'act of consumption' and the 'act of restraint'.

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The best time to visit the monastery is from June to March to enjoy the pleasant weather with the temperature being around 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. The summer season from April to May is hot and filled with visitors. Also, Buddha Jayanti, 6th of July, i.e., Dalai Lama's birthday and Tibetan New Year are some of the perfect events to pay a visit to the monastery. It is best to avoid visiting during peak monsoons and peak winters as the weather extremities inhibit one from fully enjoying the area.

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Although the monastery seems not so vast from outside, it is huge inside. There are three 40 feet high statues of Lord Buddha called Padmasambhava, Buddha & Amitayus. The floor is made of marble but is always covered with a carpet. People can burn incense sticks and sit on the carpet which contributes to the spiritual environment in the temple. The walls have paintings depicting phases of Buddha's life. Some even display Tibetan gods and demons. The Namdroling Monastery also has sacred texts, horns, trumpets, incense sticks, bells, prayer beads, prayer wheels, prayer flags, drums, etc.

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Places to visit in Coorg

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