Located hundreds of miles away from Tibet, this quaint settlement in the heart of Karnataka in southern India, mesmerizes you with its geographical location and eternal charm alike. Strewn with stupas, prayer flags and monasteries belonging to the various sects of Vajrayana Buddhism--Nyingmapa, Sakya, Kagyu, and Yellow-Hat Gelugpa, this exquisite sightseeing location is certainly worth a look. As you weave past its landscapes, you come across the Namdroling Monastery (Golden Temple) and a sacred lake that glints from far. Thousands and tourists, picnickers and devotees come here in weekends to visit the spectacular Golden Temple and its many bounties—along with the 40-foot-high statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava and Amitayus. One of the best times to explore the magic of this venue is during its many festivals—when the main courtyard acts like an open stage and delights spectators with its performances of masked dancers, twirling fancy costumes and the loud sound of gongs!
Kagyu, or Kagyudpa, easily the most beautiful of these four monasteries, is located atop a hill and commands some fascinating views of the terrains beyond. You have to turn left from the main arterial road that leads to Bylakuppe and take the track that goes through the arch of Tibetan Dickey Larsoe Settlement before turning towards your right. Thereafter, you drive on for a kilometer past Camp 4 and then turn towards your left. There you see the amazing complex of Kagyu.
Like most Tibetan settlements, Bylakuppe lures with its assortment of colorful Tibetan goods. Remember to visit the quaint shops at Camp 1 and those located at Sera-Je –you will be blown over by their collection of prayer wheels, Tibetan music, thangkas and incense!