Namradoling is the second largest Buddhist monastery in India outside Tibet. The full name of the monastery is Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling which is referred to as ‘Namdroling’ in short. Namdroling is located in within the sandal groves in south India. It is a few hours away from Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka. This is the largest teaching hub of Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. It is home for more than over 3000 monks and nuns.
Namdroling monastery was found by the 3rd Drubwang Pema Norbu Rinpoche in the year 1963 on 31st of July. The name Namdroling(also known as Golden Temple) was bestowed by his holiness Dalai Lama when he visited the monastery to consecrate it. In earlier times it was difficult to raise funds or gather organizations for temples. It was Rinpoche’s sheer hard work and dedication which led to the foundation of this great monastery.
He went for puja in every village without letting anyone down, he did all the menial and basic tasks with his own hands in the scorching sun. At that time when it was established only 10 monks were there to carry out an immense amount of work. Even though he was the founder, he was down to earth and engaged himself in the work of his fellow monks too. His compassion and dedication cannot be imaged by normal human beings.
Mission of the Monastery
The monasteries sole mission is to preserve the teachings of Gautam Buddha. They want to uphold and secure the Nyingma tradition through studies, practice, and activity. They want to secure it culturally and make it more renowned. People from different countries visit this monastery to study Tibetan Buddhism.
Architecture of the Monastery
The setting of the monastery is surreal. It was built on 80 square feet by the bamboos provided by the government for the Tibetans in exile. Now it has extended due to the hard work of the monks. The entrance is flanked by the lush greenery of gardens maintained on either side .A huge portrait of Pema Norbu Rinpoche welcomes you with a smile. The entrance leads to the main structure which has gold plated statues of saint Padmasambhava, Sukhayami and Amityas. This area is generally referred to as the prayer hall.
Guru Padmasambhava who is the founder Rinpoche was born 12 years after lord Buddha has passed away, he has excelled himself in the teachings of Buddhism.
Buddha Shakyamuni is the fourth of 1002 Buddhas.
Lastly, Buddha Amityas blesses people for long life. Buddhism believes that people doing nonvirtuous activities die early.
The statue of Buddha is 60ft high whereas of guru Padmasambhava and Budhha Amitayus is 58ft. The statues have a gleaming blue and golden structure which is an example of pure Tibetan art and craftsmanship. The prayer hall is lined with small desks and a cylindrical drum is placed near it. This is used to signify the starting and ending sessions of prayers. As we go past the main structure there are ornate bells on the left with letters engraved on it. The walls of the monastery are beautifully sculptured with vibrant Tibetan paintings.
The monastery has opened many schools, colleges, and institutes to preserve Tibetan cultures. Many nunnery committees like the Ngagyur Nyingma Nunnery institute and research institute are for the nuns. Along with that many other committees and guest house along with medical centers are also established. Namely, some are PDL guest house, Nunnery Retreat Center etc. temples like Padmasambhava Buddhist Vihara and Zangdog Palri temple is also established by them.
Along with educational purposes the Namdroling Monastery hosts several ceremonies based upon the Tibetan new year(known as Losar). There is no exact date for Losar but it usually happens on February or March. Traditional Lama dances, solemn processions, and other cultural activities are performed during this time period. The celebration for Losar usually lasts till 2 weeks.