Things to Do in Bylakuppe – A Complete Travel Guide

Bylakuppe

Table of Contents

  1. About Bylakuppe
  2. Things to do in Bylakuppe
  3. How to Plan a trip to Bylakuppe
  4. Hotels in Bylakuppe

About Bylakuppe

Bylakuppe is a small settlement near Coorg, Karnataka. It is located west of the Mysore district, about 80KM from Mysore city and 41KM from Madikeri town and is home to more than 70000 Tibetans. Known to be the only Tibetan settlement in the state and the second-largest Tibetan settlement in the world, outside Tibet, Bylakuppe houses the largest Buddhist monastery in South India. The town is a historical site, dotted with beautiful monasteries, temples, and Buddhist learning centres, encompassing a peaceful ambience and positive vibes that invites its seekers. The town’s exclusivity of Tibetan heritage has led Bylakuppe to evolve with its own distinctive culture and social norms and stands unique from its surrounding districts. Coupled with the scenic landscape of Coorg, with hills, valleys, coffee plantations, and more, Bylakuppe is a destination that offers more than what meets the eye.

Bylakuppe Namdroling Monastery

Bylakuppe Namdroling Monastery

The Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargye Ling Monastery, or Namdroling, in short, is the most significant highlight of Bylakuppe and is one of the 10 largest Buddhist temples in India. Sitting in the hills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka, Namdroling Monastery is home to more than 5000 monks and nuns, who stay here, study, practice temple rituals, and form an important part of the religious groups of the town. The monks of the Namdroling Monastery are of the Sangha community.

Otherwise known as the Golden Temple, Namdroling is the largest religious and learning centre of the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built in 1963, by Drubwang Padma Norbu Rinpoche of the Palyul lineage, after the exile in 1959. This is the second seat of the Palyul monastery and is one of the six great Nyingma monasteries of Tibet (before annexation).

The monastery is distinguished by a prominent golden and red ornate temple, with a huge chakra on the spire. The entrance is flanked by landscaped gardens while the interiors boast ancient Tibetan paintings and intricate carvings on the walls, ceilings, and pillars. Three massive golden statues sit on the main altar, surrounded by prayer areas for monks and nuns. The expansive temple complex also includes a junior high school, a religious college/Buddhist teaching centre, and a hospital.

[Also Read: 10 Best places to Visit in South India in Summer]

Interesting Facts

  • Bylakuppe is often called the Dharamshala of the South, owing to its second-largest Tibetan population in India.
  • The first-ever settlement of Lugsung Samdupling started here in 1961, followed by a second settlement, Tibetan Dickey Larsoe, also called TDL, a few years later. In the following years, three more such settlements were established, making it the largest refugee Tibetan settlement in South India.
  • The Namdroling Monastery houses a 60-ft golden statue of the Buddha which is considered to be holy and sacred.
Namdroling Monastery

Things to do in Bylakuppe

Credit: Neha Bharadwaj

A trip to Bylakuppe is not complete without some exciting activities. Here are a few fun things you can do on your Bylakuppe tour –

  • Take a trip to Nisagradhama, at a quick drive from Bylakuppe. The island on the Kaveri River has a rope bridge crossing and is dotted with bamboo groves, teak and sandalwood forests.  
  • Shop at the Tibetan Shopping Center, or other local stores for ethnic textiles, handcrafted goods, food, knick-knacks, jewellery, and many antique items.
  • Take a stroll around the lush fields and orchards that surround the entire community and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirits.

Famous Temples in Bylakuppe

Although Namdroling makes for the most iconic Bylakuppe temple, there are a few other monasteries, viharas, and temples that make for popular Bylakuppe attractions –

1) Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
  • Temple History – It is one of the newest monasteries in the town. It was built by Dalai Lama in 2016.
  • Interesting Facts – The monastery is home to 4000 Buddhist monks who live here and engage in educational and religious practices.
  • Temple timings – NA
  • Dresscode – No dress code. But clothes that completely cover legs and upper body are appreciated.
  • Best time to visit – Morning

2) Sera Je Monastery

Sera Je Monastery
  • Temple History – It was built after the eponymous famous monastery in Lhasa that dated back to 1419. After the exile of 1959, monks who came to India rebuilt the monastery in Bylakuppe.
  • Interesting Facts – The temple interiors showcase exquisite murals and Tibetan art.
  • Temple timings – 9.30 AM-6 PM
  • Dresscode – No dress code. But clothes that completely cover legs and upper body are appreciated.
  • Best time to visit – Morning

3) Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery, Bylakuppe
  • Temple History – This monastery is the sister establishment of the one in Dehradun. The original Sakya Monastery of Tibet was famous for its library of ancient Buddhist scriptures.
  • Interesting Facts – This is the only Sakya school in Karnataka and has a temple, a school for young monks, and a rest house for visitors.
  • Temple timings – 9 AM-6 PM
  • Dresscode – No dress code. But clothes that completely cover the legs and upper body are appreciated.
  • Best time to visit – Anytime

4) Serpom Monastic University

  • Temple History – The monastery was established on April 25, 2008, by the Bylakuppe Tibetan Settlement of Mysore.
  • Interesting Facts – It is a non-profit institution for learners and enthusiasts, and offers free learning, food, and shelter.
  • Timings – 5.30 AM – 5.30 PM
  • Dresscode – No dress code. But clothes that completely cover legs and upper body are appreciated.
  • Best time to visit – Anytime

5) Kagyudpa Nalanda Institute

Kagyudpa Nalanda Institute Bylakuppe
  • Temple History – It is one of the newest monasteries in the town. It was built by Dalai Lama in 2016.
  • Interesting Facts – The institute represents and trains monks about representing the Kagyu school within Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Timings – AM-PM
  • Dresscode – No dress code. But clothes that completely cover legs and upper body are appreciated.
  • Best time to visit – Anytime

[Also Read: Coorg: The Scotland of India | A Complete Travel Guide]

Places to Visit in Bylakuppe

Besides the temples and shrines, you can also visit other tourist places in Bylakuppe. Some of the famous places to visit in Bylakuppe are –

1. Dubare Elephant Camp

Dubare Elephant Camp
  • Open Timings – 9 AM– 11 AM, 4:30PM– 5:30 PM
  • Fee – INR 650 onward (depending on visit, activities, and stay)

2. Chiklihole Reservoir

Chiklihole Reservoir
  • Open Timings – 8 AM-5 PM
  • Fee – Free

Places to visit nearby

Besides Bylakuppe sightseeing, you can also explore other nearby places to Bylakuppe –

  • Coorg, 40.7KM – The coffee land of Karnataka, the hill town of Karnataka is Coorg is known for its rich landscape, exotic wildlife, and lush greenery, dotted with hills, valleys, and coffee plantations that date back hundreds of years ago.
  • Tala Kaveri, 84KM – The source of the Cauvery River, Tala Kaveri sits on the hills and is also a pilgrimage site. There is a Kaveri Temple at the base of the hill that attracts hundreds of devotees. The torrential river is best viewed after the monsoon.
  • Mysore, 84KM – The City of Palaces, Mysore is a treasure trove of history, art, architecture, and culture, there are endless options for sightseeing. You can do a day trip from Bylakuppe or plan a two-day trip and stay in Mysore.
Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace in Mysore

Places to Eat

Most restaurants in Bylakuppe serve Tibetan food and are known for their authentic taste. There are also a few cafes that serve coffee, baked goods, and Tibetan herbal teas.

Check out these best-rated eateries in Bylakuppe –

  • The Tibet Kitchen Family Restaurant and Café
  • Tibetan Traditional Restaurant
  • Erma Café
  • Potala Kitchen and Café
  • Taste of Tibet
  • Peace Restaurant
  • Lilli’s

How to Plan a Trip to Bylakuppe

How to Reach Bylakuppe

By Train

There is no train service in Bylakuppe. The nearest railway station is Mysore Junction, in Mysore, about 83KM away. Mysore is well-connected to the rest of the state and other major towns and cities in India. From Mysore, you can take the local bus or rent a car to reach Bylakuppe.  

By Road

Bylakuppe is well-connected to the rest of Karnataka and neighbouring states via Mangalore-Mysore Highway and NH275. There are regular state-run and private buses from Mysore, Mangalore, Madikeri, Tumakuru, Hassan, Bangalore, etc. The best way to travel to Bylakuppe is to book a cab or rent an outstation car from any of these places and do a road trip through the countryside.

By Flight

There is no flight service in Bylakuppe. The nearest airport is in Mysore, at Kannur, 75KM away. The nearest international airport is in Mysore, at 97KM. Mysore airport is well-connected to all major cities and towns across India and you can fly from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, etc. to Mysore. From there, you can book an airport taxi to drive to Bylakuppe.

Best time to visit

Bylakuppe weather is typically warm and dry, with hot and humid summers and cold and pleasant winters. The monsoon period experiences ample rainfall and is also a good time to visit. You can visit Bylakuppe anytime between October to March or July to September. Also, if you want to see some festivals or local celebrations, you can check the event calendars of individual monasteries and visit accordingly.

Best Hotels in Bylakuppe

Check out these popular hotels and resorts in Bylakuppe for a comfortable stay –

  • Crown Palace Resort
  • Sera Jey Guest House
  • The Casiita
  • Coorg Hotel Rich Fort
  • Caesar’s Villa
  • Bota Royal

Experience the beauty of Bylakuppe by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.  

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Top Things to Do in Bylakuppe for a Memorable Trip!
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Top Things to Do in Bylakuppe for a Memorable Trip!
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Bylakuppe is a small settlement near Coorg, Karnataka. Known to be the only Tibetan settlement in the state and the second-largest Tibetan settlement in the world, outside Tibet, Bylakuppe houses the largest Buddhist monastery in South India.
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I grew up sneaking away to read the well-worn travel magazines I found at my grandfather's house. Today I write stories of my travel experiences and adventures.

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