Throughout my life travels and my visits to up in the northern region of the country or in Himalayas, I have no vivid memories of any Buddhist monasteries. I did visit when I was in Dharamshala with my parents, but that’s it. I don’t remember having experienced the ‘spiritual’ feelings attached to them. When I decided to take one trip this Monsoon to South India’s only monasteries, I expected a little spiritual butterflies in my stomach, but unfortunately, the experience disappointed. Kushalnagar or Bylukkpe is the only region in South India which boasts of authentic Buddhist monasteries and original Tibetan settlements. I was quite kicked to know about it. Perhaps that had led me to “assume” a lot many things and I ended up feeling let down. Turned out, the ‘monks’ were not cool as some of the travel blogs on Himalayan monks believe them to be. Hell yeah, I saw a young monk walk away in front of me with an ‘iphone’. That was cool. 😉 At the entrance- Kushalnagar Monastery
It would be wrong of me to say that the place was not beautiful. Off course it has a beautiful and serene aura attached to it. The temples are quite nicely built with solid architecture and splendid designs. The place also eludes a particularly eerie silence one can identify with the beautiful Tibetan culture. However, the place has been entirely ‘touristfied’ and that leaves you wanting for a more authentic Monastery experience. The monks also seem to be a little less friendly and offcourse that happens when you are surrounded by people who have no sense of decorum and seem to intrude your personal space.
There are 3 monasteries within the complex and all of three of them are crowded with tourists running on each other to take photographs. It’s understandable that the buildings are quite huge and artistically decorated. However, I failed to understand how people couldn’t even stop for a second to admire the rich culture and heritage that surrounded them. On two ocassions, I had people running over my toes, while I stood looking at the majestic paintings and colourful set-up.
These beautiful paintings inside the temple complex leaves you mesmerized.
Looking at the crowds, I wondered whether this ‘disinterest’ of those monks stemmed from the ruthless touristification of their culture and lives by the people who visited Kushalnagar.
In the presence of Tibetan gods
The lone monk who kept us company
All and all, a visit to Kushalnagar, left me wondering. Whether our travel actually harms our cultures or whether it just reveals the insincere world and the so called truth we all live in.