Bylakuppe in Kodagu ( Coorg ) of Karnataka is one of the many Tibetan settlements in India

Bylakuppe in Kodagu ( Coorg ) of Karnataka is one of the many Tibetan settlements in India. To be precise, this was the first such refugee settlement established way back in 1961.

During the 1950s, thanks to the strained relation between Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities over Tibet, he fled to India seeking political asylum. Also followed him was an exodus of refugees. Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Indian Prime Minister of India agreed to provide assistance to the refugees. Camps were created in some cooler regions of India.

Lugsung Samdupling, oldest of all Tibetan settlements in India came into existence in 1961 in Bylakuppe. The plan was to settle those fled to India, till a time arrives before their eventual return to Tibet. That did not materialize in any serious sense over the next four to five decades.

But refugees kept coming steadily from Tibet. The camps slowly developed into larger settlements. Eight years later another settlement – Dickyi Larsoe – was setup next to the first settlement.

Now with a number of schools, nunneries, temples and monasteries, Bylakuppe looks more like an important center for the Tibetan Buddhism rather than a refugee settlement.

Bylakuppe even houses one of the largest Buddhist universities called Sera Monastic University. There are many monasteries practicing various traditions of Buddhism. For example the Sera and Tashilunpo monasteries in the Gelukpa tradition and Namdroling monastery in Nyingma tradition.

Bylakuppe is equally popular among both the tourists and followers of Tibetan Buddhism.