Located in Bylakuppe — part of the Mysore district of the state of Karnataka, the monastery is home to a sangha community of over five thousand lamas (both monks and nuns), a religious college (or shedra) and hospital.
The monastery was established by throne-holder Kyabje Penor Rinpoche in 1963, following his 1959 exit from Tibet as the second seat of the Palyul Monastery, one of the six great Nyingmapa Mother monasteries of Tibet prior to annexation.
The monastery's full name is Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling, called "Namdroling" for short. Its initial structure was a temple constructed from bamboo, covering an area of approximately 80 square feet (7.4 m2). Carved from the jungle that the India government generously granted Tibetan exiles, initial challenges included rampaging elephants and other tropical dangers.
Buildings - Timeline
- On February 17, 1978, the Buddhist College ("Shedra") was constructed and completed.
- A new temple, the "Padmasambhava Buddhist Vihara" (known by locals as the "Golden Temple") was inaugurated on September 24, 1999. The temple has space for several thousand monks.
- November 27, 1993, the Tsogyal Shedrup Dargyeling Nunnery was established.
- In 2004 a temple to the main Nyingma (old school) Buddha, Guru Rinpoche was built and inaugurated on December 13 of that year.
As of 2008, the lodging facilities alone for the school include three buildings with over 150 rooms. The population fluctuates as monks attend or complete studies at Namdroling. A recent census had the population in excess of 4,000 monks and 800 nuns.
Namdroling Monastery hosts several ceremonies yearly. Of particular interest is Tibetan New Year (Losar), based on the Lunar Calendar; dates are not static but usually occurring in the months of February or March. The monastery hosts traditional Lama Dances, oversize Thankga hanging from the sides of its buildings, as well as solemn processions throughout the monastery grounds spanning approximately two weeks.
- The History of Palri Phodrang, Copyright 2004, Rigzod Editorial Committee, Ngaygur Nyingma Institute, Bylakuppe, Karnataka State, India
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