When Codavas fifty kms away from this Tibetan refugee settlement announced boycott of general elections, a group of Tibetan monks of the Namdroling Monastery, popularly known as the Golden Temple are eager for a chance to vote.
Established in 1963, the monastery had just 10 monks then. Today some 5,000 monks live here studying and practising Budhism. A popular tourist spot onway to Coorg, it is situated some 180 kms southwest of Bangalore.
The biggest moment for inmates of Namdroling Monstery came a fortnight back when His Holiness Dalai Lama stayed at in the campus from February 19 to March 1. In his welcome the monastery was all decked up in colourful flags and buntings.
Namdroling monastery is one of the seven such institutions in Bylakuppe area, one of the four Tibetan refugee settlements created by the Indian government in Karnataka state. The other Tibetan settlements are at Hunsur also in Mysore district, Munugod in Karnad and Kolegul in Chamrajnagar.
Some 20,000 tiberan refugees live in Bylakuppe region, and have been peacefully coexisting with local populace.
In fact, the Namdroling monastery houses Ngyur Nyingma Institute that runs Budhist educational courses from primary to post graduate a doctoral level, the successful ones with doctorates after some 12 years of intense training go on to become professors at various monasteries across the globe – from United States of America to Philippines to India and Nepal.
Said Ogyen Nymia, 33, secretary of the monastery "I was born here and studied up to 7 th class in a local school. This is my home. And we want to vote as we are losing a lot."
Dressed in the maroon robes of a monk, which is the uniform of the inmates of the monastery, Nymia is like any other of his age computer literate and had two years ago computerised office work and data gathering. “For greater efficiency,” he explained pointing the pile of files stashed away neatly in the office. Less paper work, the better, and data recall is quick, he said.
As we step out of his office and take a stroll inside the campus, there are group of young children aged from seven and above playing hockey with sticks and broken water bottles for a ball. Then there was this other small group of musically inclined with one of then belting out Kal ho naa ho in a melodious voice.
"Pema is the next Indian idol," declared Dundun Shirling, 12 years confidently, From Darjeeling he has been at the monastery for some two years.
Now they have assimilated so much into the Indian culture and ethos that they feel like Indians, but want to maintain their district identity said a local journalist HT Anil who works for Udaya Kannada channel of Sun TV Network in Madikeri.