Bylakuppe-Coorg-India-Best Places To Visit In India
Tibet has attracted me ever since I read ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ by Heinrich Harrer. I so wanted to visit Tibet and soak up the Tibetan culture. While visiting Tibet seems a little difficult, it is not impossible as we have Tibetan settlements like Bylakuppe in India. Bylakuppe is the second largest Tibetan settlement in the world, after Tibet (the largest is Dharamshala). It was during my holiday in Coorg, one of the best places to visit in India, when I got to visit the mini Tibet, Bylakuppe.
Apart from spending some peaceful time at the popular Namdroling Monastery (also known as the Golden Temple), this was also a great opportunity to give a try to authentic Tibetan cuisine. I went to a renowned restaurant called ‘The Tibet Kitchen’. The cafe was pleasingly adorned with Tibetan flags and a couple of photos of Dalai Lama.
I looked at the greenery around me as I made myself comfortable on a table on the 1st floor.
A memorable conversation
“How may I help you?,” I suddenly heard a sweet female voice. It was a beautiful young Tibetan girl, probably in her late 20’s. She introduced herself as Migmar, the café’s owner. She briefed me about the popular Tibetan dishes that I could try. I ordered a portion of Thupka and Momos each.
“What do these different colors of the Tibetan flags signify?,” I asked her out of curiosity. “Oh, if you notice, our flags are arranged in a specific order from left to right: blue, white, red, green, yellow. Blue represents the sky, white represents the air, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. All five colors together signify balance,” She explained.
“How long have you been staying in India? Don’t you miss Tibet?,” I asked her. “I am born and brought up in India. My parents had migrated here during the Chinese invasion of Tibet,” She replied. This conversation had to be much more than exchanging a few words. “Oh! Don’t your parents miss Tibet? Won’t they like to go back if the disorderly situation there becomes stable?,” I asked reframing my previous question. Migmar paused for a while and said, “Of course, they do. Even I would love to see my country but maybe just a visit and I will come back.” Noticing my raised eyebrows, she continued, “Although a majority of us do not have an Indian passport, we are Indians by heart. We have got a lot of aid and respect from India and we would never want to leave such a great country. We love India as much as you do.”
Happiness is being Indian
Migmar’s last line was gratifying. I couldn’t be any prouder of my country and countrymen. Incidents like these leave an unerasable mark on one’s heart and give yet another reason to dignifiedly speak – ‘I am proud to be an Indian.’
Traveling across the world indeed makes us discover so many things about our country. It is interesting to know other people’s perspectives on our motherland.
Coorg might be one of the best places to visit in India but Bylakuppe will always have a more special place in my heart.