If you’ve been keeping up with our tales, you’ll know that we had already been to Karanataka during Diwali to stay in Hampi for a week. This time, we travelled 420km further South from Hampi to Mysore.

Map of Karnataka

Map of Karnataka

When Dunc was in India in 2005, as well as volunteering at Deep Griha’s City of Child project, he spent some time living in a Tibetan Refugee Settlement, teaching English to young Buddhist monks. The trip out to the school was do-able in a day from where we were staying in Mysore, so we caught the bus from the station in Mysore out to Hundsur, and then jumped in a rickshaw out to the Dzongkar Choede Monastery.

We couldn’t have been greeted any more warmly by the monks who had previously been Dunc’s hosts. After a mammoth Tibetan lunch, we were given a tour of the settlement and not least of all, their monastery. What a building! As well as providing the residents of Dzongkar Choede with a peaceful place to pray, members of the surrounding Tibetan settlement, and from other Buddhist communities are  also welcome to come and pray.

Dzongkar Chode Monastery

Dzongkar Chode Monastery

The school classrooms, cottages for the boys to live, and an insence ‘factory’ are also in the grounds.

The young  monks studying hard!

The young monks studying hard!

With some of the monks Dunc worked with in 2005

With some of the monks Dunc worked with in 2005

Making incense sticks

Making incense sticks

For me, it was quite surreal to suddenly be somewhere that seemed a million miles from India, but actually still right in the middle of the country. We were soon brought back to Indian reality when we caught a shared jeep back to Hundsur bus station – Dunc was hanging off the back of the jeep with about 10 kids, and I was squished in the back with a crowd of giggling school girls! Although Mysore is quite a busy tourist city, Hundsur is a very small and rural village, so white people (and a ginger, no less!) were quite a novelty! We didn’t mind though, I’d now learnt that the best way to deal with India was to embrace it, and all it’s oddities!

On returning to Mysore, we planned a trip to nearby tiger reserve, Nagarhole National Park. Unfortunately there’s not much to tell from this trip as the tigers were nowhere to be seen 😦 I’ve just recently found out that there is a fantastic Tiger Temple in Thailand so I guess I’ll just have to go there next!

Elephants at Nagarhole

Elephants at Nagarhole, but no Tigers

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