Drepung Loseling Monastery, Mundgod

I made up my mind to visit the Tibetan Buddhist temple at Mundgod on June 21. I left Dharwad around 1 45 pm. From Kalghatgi road, I took the Dharwad hubli by-pass and joined NH4 and turned off the highway to the right at Tadas cross. From here, the path is flanked by trees and it gives a feeling of forest …in fact further ahead the path goes through forest area. Soon I passed Tadas, few more kilometers to Mundgod. I stopped to take a picture of tender teak leaves and found this cricket …it waited patiently while I took several pictures.

At Tadas, near the government bus stand I took the road going towards Kalghatgi and a kilometer further, I turned left at a fork and another kilometer I turned right …into the Tibetan refugee camp. This was camp One. I could see massive temples, clean and tidy and no people around except for few care-takers. Inside the temple, I saw a big golden idol of a sitting Buddha. I could see just one monk sweeping the clean floor. I spent a few minutes and then went further along the street and turned right …I could see more monks, little ones too.

I parked my car and walked through a maze of buildings; a school where little monks were noisily chanting lessons, I could hear drums beating booom booom booom…. As I walked I saw more monks some resting, some sitting in a circle chatting, some sitting around a table discussing seriously. I got a glimpse of the monastery kitchen; huge steam boilers to cook rice and noodles.

I was looking up at a bigger temple but the doors were closed and two groups of middle-aged monks were discussing with scripts and books spread in front. I saw few tourists who were just packing up their lunch things. I just looked around for few more minutes and decided to head to the main temple which is in Camp2 which is about 4 km from here.

The drive through the country side I could see green fields all around with cattle grazing here and there. Looks like paddy and corn were the main crops cultivated here. It started raining and by the time I was parking the car near the temple it was pouring …it felt great to see rain like this. I climbed up the steps and could see one monk who gave a welcome smile. Apart from the monk there were 3 other people who were visiting tourists like me. It was a great feeling to be standing in the temple corridor, walls covered in colorful pictures and the breeze blowing in sprays of rain water.

When the rain let up, I went down the steps exploring …the Ashoka Stamba caught my attention.

Few minutes it was pouring again and I ran back to the temple. The inside of the temple was silent and there were rows of cushions laid on the floor …I guess for the monks to sit and pray. I was expecting to see a sleeping Budhha but again I saw a sitting Buddha. I brought my palms together and did namaskara to all the idols and a picture of Dalai Lama. Check out this bad video by me...

Back outside, I spent lot of time seeing and shooting the paintings. Each one of them told a story but I did not bother to ask the monk. It was still raining and I decided to leave early since I would be taking different route back to Dharwad. About a kilometer away I saw a windmill which powered a pump to draw water from a bore-well, made a short video of the tower. Soon I was out of the camp area.

Driving through wet country roads – local farm workers were rushing back home trying to escape the rain. I stopped to shoot a water bird and noticed lot of activity going on in a water-logged paddy field; a farmer cultivating in the traditional method with a pair of bullocks and women planting young paddy saplings supervised by the landlord. I had only seen paddy fields being cultivated by tractors and this was very interesting.

I drove on …through a stretch of dirt road and then back on tarred roads. I reached Kalghatgi; no rains. Dharwad was about 45 minutes from here…

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