Looking at the pictures, you'll feel as if these were taken in Bhutan or somewhere in North east.
Thats the beauty of this place. Its a quite settlement of Tibetans near Kollegal town some 200 kms away from bangalore known as Dhondenling Tibetan settlement. This settlement consists of 22 villages or refugee camps with average of 25-35 families in each camps. You will find 5 monasteries in the settlement. Dzongchen, Taksham, Dhragyal, Tanak and Bayoe. Locals told us that Dzongchen is the biggest one among them so we visited that monastery.
Me and Deepak Raj, my friend started from Bangalore at 6 AM and reached Dhondenling at 11:30 in the afternoon with moderate breaks in between. It was a completely different world out there.
Once we reached, we were welcomed by cool breeze and silence with occasional chirping of birds. We took a break and stopped to click some pictures and to enjoy the surroundings.
I have always believed that Tibetan people are very kind and warm at heart and their way of life has fascinated me. As we were waiting by the roadside a few passersby welcomed us with their warm smiles and nods. Few of them asked us from where we are coming and how far are we riding. After few more pictures we continued towards monastery.
When you reach the settlement, one road climbs up the hill in front of Central school for Tibetans and it will take you Dzongchen Monastery, however, by the time you reach the settlement you'll sure be hungry. Instead of going up the hill, follow the straight road from the school till you reach an entrance. It will come on your left and will be intricately detailed. You will find a canteen where you can enjoy some yummy noodles (beef as well if you are up for it), momos and some refreshments. The people are approachable and very friendly.
After spending some time here and clicking pictures, we moved on to Dzongchen Monastery. We could see a lot of prayer flags along the way and imagined that we are riding through Bhutan, Ladakh etc.. I like the concept of prayer flags. The horizontal once are called Lung-Ta and the vertical are Darchor. Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space. Therefore, prayer flags are thought to bring benefit to all.
Dzogchen Monastery was a different world altogether. We instantly fell in love with the peace and divinity it carried. There was no one near the monastery. We pushed the half closed door and went in. After spending close to 40 minutes in the monastery and replenishing our jugs of divinity and refreshing our minds, we started back for Bangalore. Now we had all the energy that was required to face Monday!
Pictures courtesy: Sony A58, SJCAM M20, Me and my phone, Deepak and his phone and his newly acquired GoPro Session 5 :D
Om Mani Padme Hum!