Dzogchen Monastery – A well kept secret of Kollegal!! I was the late one this time to join the ride, the group had already started after the safety briefing. Me and Arun were still stuck at Corporation junction later we fell prey to the busy market of Banashankri at the wee hours at 6 AM in the morning. Passing that hassles chatting on our intercom we entered the Kannkapura main road, we were greeted with a burst of chilly winds, which made us wonder just crossing 50 Km from the city there is such a change in the weather and wind around us. The sun was rising and the sky was light up with bright orange color. The reflection of the sun on the ponds of the highway was a delight to witness in the morning hours.
I was sleepy, I had not got a decent sleep the previous night but witnessing the sunrise, I was wide awake even my craving for a cup of coffee went off, we did come across few riders on the same route but not many riders prefer this route because of the road conditions. The blind curves are more, single lane roads, many villages which brings in additional traffic and commuters, which are major factors across our destination. There are quite a few places which are not touch based by Road Thrill in this route naming a few Somanatha Temple, Talkadu, Chukka falls.
The route is quite scenic as well, we soon caught up with the group at the breakfast point Vasu Hotel at Kannakapura town. We quickly wrapped up breakfast greeted the fellow riders and the team and joined the group. The roads were patchy but landscape was very beautiful, the Mountains, the streams caught our attention and we dint mind the bad roads. Soon came across a wide spread of solar farms where I was actually surprised to look at the never ending fields of solar panels. What a beautiful initiative by the government to utilize draught lands and support the families there and the state. Passing the fields after 30 kms we were soon able to see the Dzogchen Monastery. From far its self the domes of the monastery were shining in the back drop of the mountains.
We passed the village streets and they looked pretty much deserted and no one around but we were actually up for a surprise where we saw all the families at the open area near by the main place of Dzogchen Monastery. Maybe we were the lucky ones, it so happened that it was sort of a new year celebrations for them where they prayed and feasted with their family and friends. Every one looked so beautiful and colorful, especially the ladies in their traditional attires was a sight to be witnessed. They pretty much looked like dolls.
Families with kids running around playing with toys guns made us really forget that cultural diversities exists but end of the day what matters is happiness with your family and we were just witnessing that. We clicked some pictures with the kids at Dzogchen Monastery who were dressed up like lamas. We started playing with their toys, we were kids again, and we soon made our ways to the main monastery. Made us feel like we were in Nepal or china or something. Before that let me tell you there are no stores, no hotels, no toilets not even a single shop to offer drinking water, if you are planning for a ride or a drive please ensure you carry water and basic essentials may be for good reasons or not this part of the world is untouched or rather commercialized, though you could see people with gadgets and gizmos around its not at all commercialized. However people here speak very good Kannada, English and Hindi apart from their native languages.
We did interact with them about the feast and stepped into the Dzogchen Monastery. Such serenity, peace and good vibes or the cleanliness of the place really touches you. The tall statue of Buddha and other deities along side with his Eminence Dalai lama photo, made me feel like I need to sit down and meditate or rather clean up my mind. It was not just me it was happening with all of us. Well, I should admit me being from Karnataka I never knew such a place actually exists just 170 KM away from Bangalore. I had heard about the Coorg Golden temple which is a bit commercial to some extent, this comes on the Kollegal – Hasanur road (not the chamrajnagar highway). Dhondeling offers great landscape views and it gives a slice of Tibetan monasteries and their culture.
The history part Dzogchen Monastery in Tibet was that it got destroyed by fire in 1950 during the Cultural Revolution. In the late 1980’s, at the request of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, His Eminence’ late father, Tsewang Paljor, a great practitioner and expert in Tibetan architecture, began construction of Dzogchen Monastery in the Dhondenling settlement, south India. The rebuilding of the Shri Singha Shedra, the most influential centre of learning in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, was completed in December 1991.
After checking out the place and spending time, we made our way back to bikes and made our way back to the concrete jungle. While heading back which made me wonder and chat with Arun on our intercoms is that, though Buddhism originated in south India, its wide spread beyond the borders and in north what drove such a cultural revolution to such a peaceful race?
Hopefully this blog is helpful to anyone planning to visit Dzogchen Monastery. Happy riding. Ride long ride safe.
Cheers, Vinod Basavaraju Road Thrill Bangalore, Photography Team