Everything seemed to be falling apart those days — be it my career or my personal life. I wanted to run away to an unknown place, where I could break free from all my worries, and seek inner peace and contentment. Fortunately, that’s when my husband suddenly decided to go to Bylakuppe in Coorg on a short vacation. I was excited as that was where the Namdroling Monastery was. It had been on my must-visit list since I had heard about it from a friend who visited Bylakuppe five years ago.
I vividly remember the day I visited Namdroling — my first visit to a monastery. Although it was March and summer was just setting in, the weather was quite pleasant with a cool breeze steadily blowing. My husband and I had a good drive to the monastery. What I saw on reaching Bylakuppe was breathtaking. The magnificent Namdroling monastery stood there amidst the scenic landscapes, guarded by the spectacular red and golden gates at the entrance that led into a courtyard and well-maintained lawns. In fact, it is famously referred to as the Buddhist Golden Temple owing to the golden statues and splendour of the monastery. Yet, amidst the grandeur, you cannot miss a life-size portrait of Pema Norbu Rinpoche, the 11th throne holder of the Palyul lineage that dominates Namdroling.
Its stunning architecture spoke volumes for the Tibetan culture. The temple was painted in bright blue and gleaming golden and had vibrant, typical Tibetan paintings on the walls. The prayer hall housed the statues of saints Padmasambhava, Sukhayami and Amitayus. Monks sat inside the hall chanting prayers. One of them came up to me and sprinkled holy water. Although there were tourists walking up and down the monastery hall creating a buzz louder than the chanting, there was something very soothing and peaceful about the place.
I was mesmerised by the beauty of the Namdroling Monastery. Momentarily, it seemed my search for some peace had ended right there. As I strolled around the temple, I bumped into an elderly monk, in the quintessential monastic attire, chanting Buddhist mantras in the corridor. We had a brief chat about the monastery’s history, how Namdroling was a place for perfect emancipation and how disciplined was their lives as monks. I will cherish this conversation for a lifetime.
During those three hours at the monastery, I forgot all my worries, was detached from my problems, disconnected from technology and far removed from the materialistic world. I was overwhelmed with a sense of inner-peace and calmness. I realised how to make peace with what one doesn’t have and move on when nothing works. It made me firmly believe in the saying that “Life is not a bed of roses”, it will have ups and downs and several tough phases. But how we perceive it and face it with courage can help us overcome those phases. I also realised that the answers to all the difficult questions lie within us, we only need to trust ourselves and look for them.
The vibrations in the Namdroling monastery emanated a peacefulness and spirituality like no other shrine. The beautiful, colourful flowers, incandescent candles, and aromatic incense sticks at the temple’s altar added to the otherworldliness of Bylakuppe.
After taking a long stroll around the complex, my husband and I sat down for a while. To me, it was a moment of self-discovery, a moment when I felt immense joy from within. I was glad that I visited Namdroling, for now, I was ready to start a better and brighter tomorrow. I won’t say my life changed after our visit to the monastery, but today, I know how to seek inner peace even in the toughest of life situations. For that, I shall cherish Namdroling.