A little Tibet at Odissa

Ancient Odisha or Kalinga in the past had gifted the world Buddhism. After the invasion of the region, emperor Ashok became a Buddhist and tried his best to take the religion to the East Asian nations and other neighboring countries.IMG_0524Now in the modern times, the Tibetan population in Gajapati district’s Chandragiri are showing the world their agriculture, architecture and weaving skills and how Buddhist followers have transformed a somewhat barren to the “maize bowl” of Odisha.  The Tibetans settle a beautiful place surrounded by forest.  Large-scale horticulture plantation like mango, orange, guava, pineapple etc. along with a Government horticulture farm as well as the cultural activities of the Tibetans makes this place more beautiful.  This place is famous for seasonal fruits, Tibetan woolen garments & carpet also for dogs of various breeds.  It is also a health resort. IMG_0498.JPGAfter the Chinese occupation of Tibet in the year 1959, His Holiness The Dalai Lama along with about 85,000 Tibetans left Tibet to seek political refuge in India. The Govt. of India received him and the Tibetan refugees warmly. After a year’s stay at Mussorie, His Holiness has moved to Dharmsala and made it as his permanent resident. His Holiness has worked out a long-term strategy to establish the rehabilitation center in the shape of Settlement or Community, which allow the Tibetans to perpetrate their language, traditions and to preserve the National identity.IMG_0497.JPGSince majority of the refugees had been either farmer or nomads, His Holiness hoped and requested the Govt. of India to resettle the Tibetans in agricultural based settlement. The Phuntsokling Tibetan Refugee Settlement in Chandragiri was established in the year 1963 to rehabilitate about 2400 Tibetan Refugees. The Govt. of Orissa has very kindly welcomed the Tibetan Refugees in their states and allotted a land of about 2500 Acres on the long-term lease basis. So that the Tibetans could cesure food, shelter and means of livelihood to develop economically self-supporting community during the period in exile. Out of the 2500 about 608 acres were used in housing construction and about 1892 acres are being used as the agricultural land. Presently there are about 4000 Tibetans residing in this Phuntsoking Tibetan Refugee Settlement of Chandragiri, Orissa. 1.jpgFrom Taptapani (35 KM) travel towards Mohana (18 KM). At entrance of Mohana town take left turn and drive 19 KM to reach Chandragiri .Chandragiri is 90 KM from Berahampur.IMG_0507From Chandragiri town you can travel 4 KM to reach Budhist Monastry ( 8 KM from Chandragiri Bus stop) , popularly known as Jeerango temple. In this last 4 KM you will surely feel that you are travelling through a typical village of Tibet. There are schools, hospitals, one or two stored houses with gardens full of flowers, corn storage and well constructed road around the settlement. You will find several old Tibetans who can tell about the early settlement and its history while rotating “dharma-chakra”.IMG_0508.JPGThe temple is built in similar style of Nalanda(Bihar).The name given to the Temple is Padmasambhava Mahavihara. Currently, there are 200 resident monks in the new monastery.IMG_0540IMG_0542IMG_0549

IMG_0550.JPGJeerango temple is very attractive with beautiful paintings on the wall. All around the temple there are well maintained gardens.IMG_0556.JPG

This four storied temple have a big prayer hall at ground floor. Inside the hall there is a big bronze statue of Lord Buddha. Both sides of him there are two more statues of others gods and some small statues are also placed along with them.


There are some reading desks; two traditional long musical instruments called gyaling rested upon holders, there are colorful wall hanging with painting s brought from Nepal and other parts of the country. Photography is not allowed inside the prayer hall of the main temple complex. The prayer time is morning 5.30 AM and 4 PM evening.IMG_0511.JPGThis is a school for Tibetan studies and there are nearly thirty students staying and reading different courses. IMG_0534.JPGBoth side of the temple there are hostel complex for students. Tourist and not allowed to enter inside hostel and school complex.


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