Discovering Buddha in Dehradun- A day at the ‘Mindrolling Monastery’ [Buddha Temple]
As part of a student outing, I, along with several other students, visited the Buddha Temple at Dehradun, one of the most popular and largest Buddhist centres in India. Built to protect the religious and cultural understanding of Buddha, it is a highly celebrated Tibetan religious site and I was to soon discover why.
Having travelled through Europe, I have been able to visit several Christian churches, but with this being one of my few visits to a non-Christian religious site in a non- Christian country, I was most intrigued as to what I would find.
As we drove there, I got a sense that what I was going to see would be very different from what I had seen before. I got brief glimpses of a gigantic Buddha [the Great Stupa – imposing at 220 feet tall] in the distance, which made me realise that this was going to be a trip to remember.
Upon entering the Temple, I was immediately filled with a sense of grandeur as I gazed before two enormous statues of Buddha in various stages of his life. I began to admire the craftsmanship that went into the creation of the statues and the buildings and other ornaments that accompanied them. All the colours selected perfectly matched the gold and everything seemed to interact harmoniously with each other.
In addition to the buildings, all the plant-life and grass demonstrated themselves to be thriving and well-maintained, thus providing a lush green tableau from which the man-made splendour could reveal itself.
Having spent enough time at the first two statues, and after having a refreshing mango milkshake, we then proceeded to the third statue. I ventured around the grounds, stopping, for instance, to admire the intricate design of one of the marble elephants that served to guard the base of the temple itself. It is something to consider that humans can take blocks of marble and turn them into such amazing works of art and have been doing so for a very long time.
Eventually, I climbed up the stairs to the base of the statue and was able to observe, at close range, and admire the skill that when into making the folds of the Buddha’s skin and clothes. While standing at the base, I was able to gaze around and observe all the statues and temples in unison, giving me an appreciation of the Temple in its entirety.
After leaving the temple, the group proceeded to drive to a restaurant for lunch. The drive provided me with an opportunity to see parts of Dehradun that I would have been unlikely to have seen otherwise. The food at the restaurant was of high quality and very satisfying and everybody enjoyed their time there.
After lunch, the group went our separate ways. I returned to the hostel, tired but enlightened with what I had seen throughout the day.