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Visiting Namdroling

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Visiting Namdroling

Table of Contents:

Introduction

Every day Namdroling monastery welcomes hundreds of visitors, both from India and abroad to experience the teachings and enjoy our grounds, temples and meditative environment. For tourists wishing to see our grounds and temples, it is possible to stay in hotels in the local town of Kushalnagar without permit and make day trips to the monastery.
Namdroling Monastery's Golden Temple with filled courtyard

There are four categories of visitors: International Tourists, Indian National Tourists, Palyul Dharma Students and Dharma Students from other centers.

International Tourists and Day Visitors
Tourists and other visitors with non-Indian passports generally stay in hotels in Kushalnagar, a short auto Rickshaw ride from the monastery (10 rupees per person, 30 rupees if more people). The PCRF office is happy to help with your reservation if your exact days are known and your budget limitation (sample ranges are from 200 to 1000 rupees and more per night). Hotel accommodations are bookable in advance. It is also possible of staying two-hours away in Mysore and take a tourist bus to the Monastery from Mysore for day trips.

Indian National Tourists
Tourists with non-Indian passports do not require a PAP to stay in our monastery. The Paljor Dargey Ling Hotel is across the street from our monastery gates (rooms with TV - 375 rupees; without TV - 275 to 300 rupees). Reservations in advance are not available. During special events, the monastery may book the rooms for special guests so check close before your arrival to insure availability. Please see http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/ForeigD-FAQs-onPAPandRAP.pdf for more info.

Palyul Dharma Students
Students who are members of a Palyul center wishing to stay at the monastery in either the hotel or guest house and who wish to attend pujas on the monastery grounds must read all of the following information as a Protected Area Permit is required.

Dharma Students
Dharma Students from other traditions with whom our centers are not acquainted, and who wish to stay at the monastery in either the hotel or guest house for the purpose of attending pujas on the monastery grounds must also read all of the following information as a Protected Area Permit is required. These students may only be permitted to stay in the monastery hotel, Paljor Dargey Ling.

Protected Area Permit
It is not legal to stay the night in the monastery without a PAP Please visit Tibetan Administration website and download the PAP application. You will NOT be sending the PAP application to the Bureau of HH the Dalai Lama, but rather need to send directly to the PAP office and our PRCF office as instructed on our page here.

Those who wish to stay on-site in the guest house or hotel on premises, should know that the Indian Goverment strictly requires a "Protected Area Permit" ("PAP") for those wishing to spend the night at *any* Tibetan settlement.

Requesting to Visit

Traditionally one should make a formal request to visit the monastery addressed to the presiding master. These days, travel is much easier and many more people wish to visit Namdroling. As a result of this rapid increase in visitors and exponential growth of the monastery, the main task is to apply for a Protected Area Permit ("PAP").

Permit to Visit: Protected Area Permit ("PAP")

All guests without exception are required to have a Protected Area Permit. Because of the growth in numbers of visitors to Namdroling, the local Government has become quite strict on this point, even conducting on-site spot searches for violators. Police are frequently stationed at the front gate of the monastery or at the Paljor Dhargey Ling Guest House in order to check for the permit.

The permit may take up to three or four months to arrive and must be applied for in advance. The process is:

  1. Contact your Palyul reference, informing them you are planning to visit Namdroling and will need their assistance. You will also need to obtain an Indian visa, but this is not required in advance of applying for a PAP. As applying for a PAP will take three to four months, you will need more time to obtain that documentation than will likely be required for your Indian visa.
  2. Follow our instructions on this page, sending your application to New Delhi and requesting your local reference to send in your application to the PRCF office.
  3. The officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs sends a copy of your application to the local police station.
  4. The local police station makes an inquiry at the monastery as to whether or not you are expected as a visitor
  5. Upon confirmation, your PAP application will be approved
  6. Upon arrival, you will need to proceed to the P.R.C.F. office to pick up your PAP
  7. At the P.R.C.F. office you will be instructed as to next steps, which will likely include a visit to the police station in Bylakuppe for finger-printing and registration

We have not been made aware of any rejections of this application. Only day visitors (using tour buses) have been exempt from needing this documentation.

How to Apply:

  • Reference:
    • Arrange your center reference for inclusion on the application. Request a reference from your local center.
    • You will need this when completing your PAP application. This should be a reference from the monastery (such as one of the Tulkus or Khenchens).
  • Download and complete a Protected Area Permit form.
  • Make four (4) copies of the form.
  • Obtain four (4) passport-sized photos.
  • Make four (4) copies of your passport bio page. And you can optionally include four copies of your Indian visa page if you have your visa. If you do not yet have your Indian Visa, do not delay your application.
    • NOTE: you will need an Indian visa. The PAP does not serve as a visa into the country of India. It allows you to stay within protected areas within India. Apply for your Indian visa as required for your country.
  • Sending in the forms:
    • Local Center:
      • Supply your local reference with two hard copies (not emailed) of your PAP application, completed with 2 copies of the application, 2 copies of your passport and request them to forward to the P.R.C.F. office at Namdroling. (You can also do this yourself).
      • Once you know your reference has forwarded your PAP copy, phone the P.R.C.F. office and speak to Lopon Kunga, Secretary, to confirm receipt of your PAP application copy at:  
        • Office (91) 8223-252-962 ;
        • Fax (91) 8223-254-691 ;
        • Cell (91) 99-01-308-399
    • Indian Government:

      Send original PAP form, 2 photos, 2 photocopies of the form, 2 copies of the photo page of the bio page of your passport to:

      Mr. S. K Parida
      Government of India
      Ministry of Home Affairs
      NDCC – II Building
      Jai Singh Road
      Off Parliament Street
      Near Jantar Mantar
      New Delhi- 110001

    You cannot call, email, or otherwise find out any information about the receipt of your PAP application from the office above. As a result, it might be advisable to use Federal Express, DHL or other courier to have a record of receipt of your application package.

    Also request your local center reference to send a copy to (you cannot do this yourself):

    P.R.C.F. Office
    P.O. Bylakuppe 571104
    District Mysore
    Karnataka State, South India

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can I stay at the monastery without a PAP? You cannot be given a room at the monastery (hotel or guest house) without a PAP.
  • Can I apply in-person? In-person applications can be made in Delhi, but can take over two weeks to process. (Recent article regarding this from another center can be found here.)
  • What about references? The form will require references and for these you must use a contact from your local center, preferably someone who lives part-time in Namdroling.
  • I'm not part of Palyul's sangha. What do I do? If you do not have a local center, it is important only to use references for Palyul teachers that you personally know, or to find another reference who knows Namdroling.  Phone the P.R.C.F. office for more info. If you are not associated with our center, we may not be able to grant you permission to stay at our monastery, but Kushalnagar is not far away, so consider staying in a hotel there.
  • How do I get the application to Namdroling? Provide a copy of your application to your local center/reference and request a copy be sent to to the P.R.C.F. office, to the attention of Lopon Kunga. The copy must be sent by this reference.  
  • What next? Once you know your copy has been send you should call the office to insure your copy of the PAP form has arrived.  Phone: (91) 8223-252-962 (office) ; Lopon Kunga: (91) 99-013-083-99 (mobile).  The office will need to make an inquiry as to the status of your paperwork.  This way they can help expedite your application.
  • How do I get the actual PAP? On arrival, first go to the Monastery Office. You will be instructed how to take next steps (as you will need to register with the local government).
  • I don't have my Indian Visa yet. Should I wait to apply for my PAP? No, please apply even if you just think you might visit the monastery. Applications take three to four months, so apply in advance even if there is just a low chance you will visit.
  • I don't see Bylakuppe or Kushalnagar in Karnataka state listed as requiring a PAP. Tibetan settlements in India require a PAP. It may not be listed online where you can easily find this information, but to stay at the monastery, you need a PAP. You do NOT need a PAP if you are on a tour bus or just visiting for the day and staying elsewhere (you will need evidence of your stay off-grounds).

Getting to Namdroling

  • Fly into Bangalore, then take a public bus, passing through Mysore to, Kushalnagar, the town nearest Namdroling. Total trip time is five hours.
  • No need to get off or change buses in Mysore. Make sure to get off at the correct stop as there is a stop at a small village called "Byalakupee" - which is not the correct stop. Instead continue on a little further to Kushalnagar, where there is a bus station and an Indian town with hotels.
  • Once in Kushalnagar, take a ten- minute motor rickshaw to the "Fourth Camp Nyingma Monastery." Or, simply say "The Golden Temple."  The trip should cost no more than 30 rupees.
  • Many visitors take a taxi from the airport to the monastery (6 hours). You should inform the driver that you are going to Kushalnagar, to the Golden Temple. Fare should be approximately 3600 - 4300 rupees.
  • It is also possible to take a train from Bangalore to Mysore , then a government bus from Mysore to Kushalnagar.

    Grand Gate to Namdroling Monastery, South India; a center of Buddhist study and practice
    Gate to Monastery
Accommodations, Introduction
  • Accommodations are available on the monastery premises or just by the front gate at the Paljor Dhargey Ling Guest House. Most guests stay at the Paljor Dhargey Ling Guesthouse.
  • Please be forewarned that it is possible that arrangements cannot be made in advance, depending on circumstances. Visitors are advised to keep a contingency plan for accommodations including plans to stay in one of the hotels in Kushalnagar until other plans can be confirmed.  
  • Be prepared as it may not be possible to attend to all visitor needs.  Visitors need to be prepared to be completely independent.

Accommodations on Monastery Grounds, Guest House

  • Accommodation arrangements are very informal as there is not staff devoted to managing visitors.
  • It may not be possible to stay on-site at the Monastery as the visitors quarters are often full.
  • Rooms are given according to various criteria and may not be given on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Reservations may be attempted by calling (91) 8223-252-962. Rooms cannot be guaranteed.
  • There is not currently provision for accessibility.
  • There may be a fee for the room. Should a fee not be requested, your generous donation is badly-needed and appropriate.
  • If there are no rooms available in the monastery guest house, you will be directed to Paljor Dhargey Ling. You may also be asked to move to Paljor Dhargey Ling should your room become required for other guests.
  • If no accommodations on premises are available, there are guest houses in towns nearby (not under monastery management). Appropriate precautions should be taken as those one would take in any new place.

Conditions at the monastery itself can be very rustic. Private baths with cold bucket showers are often available in each room as well as a ceiling fan and some limited electricity.

Although guests are permitted on a limited basis, there is only very limited staff dedicated to guest care. Infrastructure is primarily geared towards the care of the large monastic population and not yet completely prepared for the new influx of tourists. Visitors should be forewarned that they will need to be ready to take complete responsibility for themselves on all fronts. For those simply wishing a tourist view of the monastery, there are Indian tour companies that arrange busses for such brief visits. For longer stays, please see above.

Food is provided for a donation in the second-floor kitchen. Breakfast is simple and consists of hot water, boiled milk, and a choice of tea or coffee as well as simple bread similar to pita bread (chapati, roti, or other bread) with jam and butter. Lunch is usually a rice and vegetable dish with some light soup. Dinner is the lighter of the two meals, but with a similar menu.  Those wishing more for breakfast can find dosa (Indian pancake with savory sauce) or omelets at Hotel Shanti, a restaurant in Paljor Dhargey Ling Guest House. 

Accommodations at Paljor Dhargey Ling Guest House

  • Located directly across the street from the Monastery main gate.
  • Room reservations require a Protected Area Permit ("PAP" - see above).  The police frequent the hotel and shops.
  • Rooms are given according to a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Reservations may be attempted by calling (91) 8223-258-686. Rooms cannot be guaranteed by phone and no deposit system currently exists.
  • There is not currently provision for accessibility.

The shops on the ground floor include a restaurant, an internet station and Western Union with a money changing facility (although exchange rates are likely lower in Bangalore).

Telephone: 91-8223-258-686

The guest house requires international visitors to have a PAP During most of the year it should be possible to make advanced reservations. However, during Losar the monastery can requisition rooms as needed for invited guests.

Hotel and Shops at Namdroling
Hotel and shops

Restaurants and Food

On the monastery grounds one can find shops where food is available for purchase. These shops may provide fried noodles, or eggs for breakfast, milk tea, etc. Fresh coconuts and grapes are often sold by an Indian vendor just inside the main gate, and a couple other Indian vendors often sell rice or light bread with sauce. Shanti Hotel is a restaurant on the ground floor of Paljor Dhargey Ling Guest House; Choice Hotel is located across the street.  Both offer boiled milk tea or coffee. Also on the ground floor of the guest house and inside the monastery gates are general stores selling noodles, eggs, instant coffee, assorted condiments etc., as well as at least three which sell soda, lassi, and water.

Shopping is available in Kushalnagar accessible by Rickshaw at a cost of 20-30 rupees.  It is possible to buy a small gas range in town and then refill it at the shedra for 70 rupees. This range can last from four to eight weeks depending on use. For those seeking a grander dining experience, the main hotel in town is recommended. Please note, all precautions one would normally take in eating foods in new countries should be attended to properly at the monastery and surrounding areas.

Precautions

Travelers should take all the usual precautions of traveling abroad. Be alert for individuals asking for fees or claiming that you, as a foreigner, must take a particular company's taxi and cannot ride the public bus, or other such misinformation. Potentially even those in uniform may not be giving legitimate information. Especially look for such complications at the airport.

A recent visitor advised, "At the airport take a 'prepaid' taxi into the city. There is a desk located in the same area as money changers etc., just before you leave the airport. Cost approximately 400 rupees to go into the center of Bangalore / Brigade road area. It is also possible, if one doesn't have much luggage to take a rickshaw, for about 80-150 rupees. It is approximately 30 minutes to Brigage road and 45 to the bus/train station, depending on traffic."

Telephone/Email

Telephone services are available at telephone offices in town only. These offices can handle international calls. Email is the easiest way to communicate if you do not have a cell phone, as there is an internet station at Paljor Dargye Ling, or several internet stations in town, paid for by the hour. If you have a cell phone which is "unlocked" and can handle an international SIM Card (ask about this in your home country), this is the most economical and convenient way to keep in touch with friends and family at home.  The SIM card usually costs about 100 rupees and refills cost about 250 rupees for each charge.  You can make about 2 or 3 calls to the U.S., for instance, for each charge of your cell phone.  The recharge can be done at the "Enter-the-Net" internet cafe or at the Monastery Shop just inside the front gate. Incoming calls are usually free for the callee (although long distance fees from the caller's country apply, of course).

Changing Money

The best rate for changing money is generally at the airports, or in Bangalore. You can also change money at Paljor Dargye Ling at a Western Union station located in the hotel. There are two ATM in Kulshanagar. While some cards will not work in these machines, Visa and Mastercard generally work well.

Annual One-month Retreat

If you plan to attend the one-month retreat at Namdroling Monastery, you can bring a good cushion and mat for sitting. Cushions are also available locally for purchase. Most all of the Ngondro retreat, for example, is held outside on the dirt under a canopy. Each of the three retreats (Ngondro, Tsa Lung Tummo, and Dzogchen) have both English and Chinese translators. The most senior Palyul tulku present will give the transmissions/lessons in Tibetan, and then later the respective translation groups meet (according to their own arrangements) to translate the text/lesson and ask questions. The translators are generally students at the adjoining university/shedra. A donation is often given by the group and/or individuals at the conclusion of the teachings. Please note that all classes except for Tsa Lung are co-ed. Women attend Tsa Lung at the nunnery, ten minutes down the road. Attendance of the retreat by students from other countries is not specially provided for at this time, although it is possible to attend. Accommodations are very tight whenever special events are held at the monastery, and may be filled at other times as well. It is recommended to consider attending the one month retreat given in the United States.

Helpful Links

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