Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Kushalnagar- The unknown brother of Coorg

On your way back to Bangalore from Coorg, ask anyone for the route to the Golden Temple and take a right into this magical world.

6-feet high, lush green corn fields greet you on either side as you drive through this picturesque world of Kushalnagara.

Kushalnagara is a Tibetan settlement, set up when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India. As you drive by, you see a distinct cultural difference – the people, the houses, the landscape, the smells and the language. But what catches your eye the most are the colourful Tibetan flags (in red, blue, green and yellow) with scriptures on them. Every house, every tree, every field has dozens of these flags.
As you look up to the horizon, a golden top glistens in the sun. That’s the top of the Golden Temple (Namdroling). This is the biggest attraction for most tourists, and unfortunately for the monks, it almost resembles Tirupati in peak season. 

Sera Jey
Frustrated with the noise and the crowd, we decided to head deeper into the narrow lanes of Kushalnagara. As we drove deeper into this quaint world, there stood the massive Sera Jey monastery. 

Entrance of Sera Jey

 It was empty. Not a soul in sight. Not a sound in the distance – except the chiming bell.                           
As we walked into Sera Jey we realized just what silence was. With absolutely no clutter in your heads when you explore, the world seems like such a different place! Around the monastery it’s the intricacy of their art that hits your eye. Detailed sculpting, vibrant colours and a golden aura surround you.

Inside the monastery
We were the only people in Sera Jey. One of the monks opened the doors for us. And as we stepped inside the monastery, a surreal wave of calm overcame us. We sat there for about half an hour and satisfied with ourselves we decided to explore more of this settlement. To our astonishment, every lane ended with a monastery! Each as beautiful, as regal and emptier than the previous one! 

So the next time you’re driving back from Coorg, take a breather and walk into any of these monasteries. I assure you, it’s a feeling you can’t put a finger on.

By Medini Mangala