Day 1, Afternoon: The simplicity of gold
Riding on the lovely roads, we entered the district of Kodagu, or Coorg. The tree cover was much dense. We rode beside each other. After a quick-lunch followed by a sulaimaani, from a roadside hotel we continued till we reached the Golden Temple at Bylaguppe or the Namdroling monastery. Here was a settlement of Tibetan monks who had carved a world of their own. As we rode inside their village, I noticed a distinct change in landscape. The big trees were replaced by vast plains. There were fields and plantations of varying shades of green and yellow. Far from the hustle bustle of the city that I came from, the only sound I could hear was that of the RX 100 that rode ahead. For those who don’t know, the RX 100, like most Yamaha motorcycles, has a unique sound, that is quite pleasing to ears of a racer. But at that very moment, to me, it was noise and I felt as though we had disturbed the calmness and the ZEN in the air. As I overtook the RX 100, I scowled and made a mental note to convince Shenaz to buy an electric scooter for the next ride.
Once inside the monastery, I saw kids aged 6-12 ran around draped in their traditional clothes coloured maroon and saffron. They had received tonsure. Some of them played on the lawns, while some of them silently watched school kids who were on an educational trip to the golden temple. We paid our respects inside the temple to the idols of the three incarnations of Lord Buddha. As we walked around admiring the Tibetan architecture and rituals in the temple, I wondered how nosy we Indian tourists were . Here we were, clicking pictures of every single idol of the lion. Some of us even spending time and effort convincing the little lamas to pose with us while we decided which photo best suited our Facebook profile picture. The lamas were polite, and perhaps nonchalant about the whole deal. I guess they had learnt to forgive us pesky tourists, something I know, I could never do.
A village and along with it a civilisation, so pure, with a majestic golden temple at its centre. It was astonishing how such a place was so calm and serene in a state where other temple cities were crowded and more often than not, dirty. Perhaps, it was the way how the people here led their lives. Principled and disciplined. I could feel the energy in the air. Strong, positive and spiritual, the one that cleansed the soul, unlike what one feels while dancing away to loud beats of trance, inside clubs of Bangalore.
As the sun began to set, we were back on the wonderful road, on our way to taste some delicious chicken at our next stop; the East End hotel; Madikeri.
“The little lamas are so simple Sangeet. Just look at them. Not a worry in the world. They are children. Unaware of the materialistic pleasures offered in a world like ours. For them we are nosy, pesky, ignorant fellows, yet they forgive us and smile. This is how they will live and grow. This village, this temple, these rituals, This is life as they know it.”