The more you go deep in India, the vast you explore. Endangered tribes, stunning nature and the offbeat culture everything gets highlighted. The same happened with me when I dig in Odisha. Formally known as Orissa, the state is small and enrich in natural beauty. With my travel buddy, we travelled to Jirang which has South Asia’s largest Buddhist Monastery. This place is 260 km away from the capital city Bhubaneswar, What unfolds this place is a Tibetan camp.
What is Jirang?
Tibet was a sovereign country until Chinese occupied the provision in 1959, which made lakhs of Tibetans to find a shelter. It also included some political heads and spiritual monks and leaders to seek a temporary house. The refugees from Tibet travelled to India for help. With the help of local governing bodies, they setup a camp at Odisha’s Ganapati district, at Chandragiri village. Jirang later it called. The major religion of Tibetans is Buddhism. Dalai Lama erected a Buddhist Monastery for monks in 2008.
The Tibetian Culture –
Many settled in a small town of Jirang. The refugees lived their lives with an occupation of farming, fruit collecting and gardening. As we drove from Bhubaneswar, it took an immense time for us to reach Chandragiri. As you finish the town Chandragiri, you will only find the settlement of Tibetans. The hilly area is covered with a dense forest. En-route we witnessed a Tibet school. Some students were on a bicycle and some were walking.
Buddhist prayer flags were seen everywhere. The flags are colourful which expresses the life values. As we enter the Monastery complex, we saw small houses where Tibetan refugees were living. A sports club for them was settled at the entrance. It has a canteen where you can try the Momos. Many of us don’t know that momos are the invention of Tibetans. The complex has beautiful gardens, jackfruit trees and Rotating wheels.
The Monastery –
The monastery is named as Padmasambhava Mahavira Monastery”. South Asia’s largest Buddhist Monastery is one of the most peaceful places in the world. The surround is delightful and you can experience eternal energy here. Around 200 monks reside here. Morning 8 and evening 4 they are scheduled for the prayers and learnings of Buddha’s teachings. After parking our car, we entered the Monastery complex. I was rarified by the design, the shape and the architect of the Monastery. I hardly recall seeing something as glorious as this structure. We entered the Monastery, sooner we realised it’s a praying time hence we took a short tour of the neighbouring area. Forget all worries and go deep into the sensation of belongingness with nature. This place is incredible.
I met a monk who was guiding me about the refugee camp. The monks have come from Tibet, Thailand, Nepal & Sri Lanka. They all love this HOME. They call this place as “Phuntsokling” which means land of happiness! After the prayers, we entered the hall and I was stunned to see such a tall idol of Lord Buddha. The golden coloured statue with detailed facial expression is a great example of art. The ceiling, the walls and the corners, everything has paintings which express some characters, stories and knowledge. The Monastery has three large idols of Gautam Buddha from which the left idol represents ‘Guru Padmasambhava’.
” Eight years after I pass into Nirvana,
I will reappear in the Kingdom of Oddiyana (Now in Pakistan)
Bearing the name Padmasambhava
And will be the lord of Secret Mantra”.
The centre figure is the largest and that is of Lord Buddha. The right statue is of ‘Avalokiteshvara’, In the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon of enlightened beings, Avalokiteshvara is renowned as the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas.
We spent a peaceful time at this place and moved back to our daily life. It was a worth travelling so far to witness the other side of the LIFE!