All packages from Spiritual Tourism > Bylakuppe

Walk the talk on Buddhism
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Bylakuppe in Coorg district is the largest Tibetan settlement in India. The settlement consists of a number of agricultural settlements / small camps close to each other, monasteries, nunneries, thangka painting units, handicrafts, incense and woollen carpet making centres etc.

Tourists, who go to Coorg, tend to visit the Namdroling Monastery commonly known as Golden Temple, which is a prime tourist attraction at Bylakuppe. The Monastery houses three big golden statues of Buddha - Padmasambhava, Amitayus and Shakyamuni.

We had an amazing experience of the three most important monasteries in Bylakuppe, which hardly tourists know about. They are Sera Jey, Sera Mey & Sera Lachi. Located 2 kms away from Namdroling monastery, the monasteries are also universities which house more than 5000 monks. There are few foreign monks from Europe, USA & Australia as well. The foreign monks have been studying at the Monastery-University for around 8-13 years.  Most of them are graduates and now studying to receive degree in Buddhism (which takes 25 years to complete).

After an authentic lunch at one of the Tibetan restaurants, we met one of the foreign monks at the Sera Jey car parking and thus began our tour. The Sera Jey is the first monastery which is covered during the tour. It has a big courtyard enough to accommodate at least 5000 monks.

Note: It is better to wear slip-ons, as you need to remove your footwear outside each monastery. Do not wear footwear with heels/high heels as the walk at times is on rough terrain and small alleys. As you get near the entrance door of the monastery, you can find paintings on the outer walls of the monastery. Once you enter the monastery, the tour has to go clockwise. This is common at all monasteries and is common with all the Hindu temples in India.

The monk guides you through the monastery and explains the paintings on the wall and the statues. Tour of one monastery takes approximately 20-30 minutes. After Sera Jey, we visited Sera Lachi,which is a monastery-university where students of both Sera Jey & Sera Mey congregate to learn and discuss Buddha’s teachings. The tour of this monastery also takes approximately 20-30 mins. The tour then continues to Sera Mey, the last monastery of the tour. Sera Mey is also beautifully constructed and is worth a visit. The English speaking monk then took us to Sera IMI house, which is one of the places where the Western monks stay.

Here, we got to sip on some good tea, after which we listened to the Western monk’s introduction to Buddhism. This takes about 15-20 minutes. The meditation (Buddhist style) follows which lasts for 15-20 minutes. The session ends with Question & Answers. If we have questions on any aspect of the tour experienced so far, the same will be answered by the Western monk. Around 5:45PM, the session is closed as the monks need to proceed to Sera Jey courtyard for the debate session.

This is one spectacular experience that one should not miss and may not witness again. All the monks of the university have to meet at the courtyard. A monk stands atop the Sera Jey and rings a gong .The gong is rung for about three times, after which the gate is closed. No monk can enter the courtyard after the third ring.

The university is strict about punctuality. In a debate session, a monk can choose his opponent. It can be a friend or even a fellow monk. One of the two monks sits on the ground and the other stands. Buddha had said that the people should not blindly follow his teachings, but debate and discuss the teachings. Thus, the monk who is standing makes a statement (of the Buddha’s teaching) and the monk who sits has to give an interpretation. Both can play an excited role in order to prove their point. The monk who is sitting has to maintain his position. What the original teachings were, or Buddha Vacana ("word of the Buddha") has been the subject of debate and historical argument for centuries. These source teachings have given rise to the numerous schools and traditions of Buddhism that exist today.

The tour does not take place on Tuesdays and special occasions. You can contact us to plan your tour as we have the blocked date’s information.

If time permits, Venerable Tenzin Namdak will accompany you in the tour. Alternately, a senior foreign monk (English speaking) will accompany you in the tour. Ven. Tenzin Namdak, born in 1970 in The Netherlands, met the Dharma in January 1993. After his graduation (B.Sc. in Hydrology) he studied Buddhism for one year at Maitreya Institute in The Netherlands. On the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche he moved to Dharamsala, India, in the end of 1994 to learn Tibetan language and to take Getsul (March 1995) and Gelong ordination (March 1996) from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In April 1997 he entered the Geshe Study Program of Sera Jey Monastery in South India and currently is in the seventeenth year of program. He is the Director of Shedrup Sungdrel Ling and Sera IMI House, a house for western monks studying at Sera. He also teaches and translates for visiting Lamas at Choe Khor Sum Ling, Bangalore.

Tour Highlights

Primary Activities – Introduction to Buddhism, Walking tour of Buddhist monasteries, Meditation

Secondary Activities – Visit Namdroling Monastery, Nyingmapa Monastery, Cauvery Nisargadhama, Shopping in Bylakuppe etc.


Suggested Tour Itinerary

Arrive at Bylakuppe by noon. Have lunch at one of the authentic Tibetan restaurants.

3:00pm: Arrive at Sera Jey car parking. Meet with Ven. Namdak or one of the senior foreign monks (pre-arranged) and begin walking tour of Sera Jey, Sera Lachi and Sear Mey.

4:00pm: Walking tour ends at Sera IMI House.

4:10pm – 4.50pm: Introductory teaching on Buddhism

4:50- 5:10pm: Q&A Session.

5:20pm - 5:40pm: Meditation instruction

5:40pm: Leave IMI House for debate courtyard.

Once you enter Bylakuppe, you feel you are in Tibet. At the end of the tour, we got to experience Buddhism in a different style altogether. The insight of Buddhism truly invoke the spiritual awareness in one.

A must visit place if you love to learn about different cultures, spirituality and meditation.  We have been to Bylakuppe thrice already and would love to go again. You can never get enough of this place.

It is a great place to visit if you are a Buddhist or if you are interested to know about Buddhism.
Please respect the religion and the whole temple and behave just as well as you would when you visit a church, temple or mosque.

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Pazhoor Padipura
Pazhoor Padipura
11442 people have seen this

Who does not want to know their future? To be forewarned is to be fore armed!! This has resulted in astrology and astrologers occupying a special place in Kerala’s social frame work.  One of the most revered names in Kerala astrology is the family of Paazhoor Padippura. It finds a mention in the old chronicle Aitheehyamala, establishing the ancient credentials. It has a fascinating history and there are innumerable stories about the accuracy of the astrological predictions made by the astrologers of this family.

The current astrologer of the family is Jyotish Surendran who is the 20th generation representative. He is also very famous for his predictions and usually one requires advance booking (sometimes with a wait list of a few months) to have a session. We at Hammock Holidays will try to facilitate this in the shortest possible time span.


Sri Surendran follows the same system of astrology founded by his great forefather Bhattathiri, which is unique to this area of Kerala. The system (called Ashtamangalya Prashnam) uses 108 shells (specially selected, cleaned and sanctified) to give advice and predict the future. Each morning Surendran offers three hours of puja (worship) to Lord Ganesha and to Guru Bhattathiri, whose Samadhi shrine (burial tomb) is within the compound. Only after invoking these blessings will he begin his practice every day. Surendran believes that though there are over 4,000 books on astrology, one may not become a complete astrologer without support from the divine power.



The stories related to this esteemed family are truly amazing. It is said that thousands of years back, the planets Mercury and Jupiter came down in human form to test the then astrologer and have some fun.. They taunted him, and the astrologer who realized with his inner vision the true identity of his visitors, felt extremely hurt about their action.  Requesting them to be seated so that he could take bath and serve them food, he made them promise not to leave the house till he returned; he went to the river and committed suicide. The belief is that the planets are still there and support the astrologers in making accurate predictions!!!

Kerala Astrology is a well-known line of astrology among the various types of astrology that are practiced around the world. Along with the person’s birth date, time and place of birth, the astrologer will also look into the various omens and other incidents that have occurred. It is claimed that astrology is a science and it is purely based on calculations and formulas. Of course, along with the knowledge in astrological science, one requires a bit of extra sensory perception too, to collect signals from the unseen world to predict the future in precision.


It is said that omens and analysis of incidents helps the astrologer to understand what the energy waves in the unseen world have in store for the client. The various methods and rituals that the astrologer suggests to alleviate the problems that one is facing currently is said to have the ability to turn around the energy waves. The astrologers usually suggest rituals based on one’s beliefs and religion. Kerala Astrology is not limited to Hindus, and the Pazhoor Padipura has a fair mix of people of all religions who seek their consultation.

Do get in touch with Hammock Holidays for the contact number and other details of Pazhoor Padipura.

Pazhoor Padipura  FAQ’s

Where is Pazhoor Padipura located?

Pazhoor is a small village in Ernakulam district and is situated about 30 kms south east of Kochi, near Piravom.


What is the first step to have a meeting?

The first step is to check if Mr. Surendran would be available and take an appointment.  This should be done very well in advance as the wait list could take a couple of months


Do I have to bring my Jathakam (horoscope) and the Vetila (Betel leaves) offerings?    What if I do not know the time of birth?

Ideally the horoscope, date of birth, time of birth and place of birth is required. Vetila (Betel leaves) offering has to be made (any number of betel leaves, but not less than 3.  Please ask for some betel leaves from the shop and do not specify any quantity of betel leaves) along with one whole betel nut and a 1 Re. coin. Please note that these are not available anywhere near the Padipura so one should procure these before reaching there.  Horoscope is optional in the case of Non-Hindus. Time of birth is not essential, but date and place of birth is mandatory.


Do I have to be involved in any prayer/ chanting/ religious rituals?

No. However, religion/ community/ caste will be considered while suggesting solutions.


Is Pazhoor Padippura open to all religions?



What are their general timings and holidays?

They are open from 10.30 hrs - 18.00 hrs on all days except Saturdays & national and festival holidays like Onam, Vishu etc.


How long will a session take?

It will vary from person to person. The duration of a case depends on what steps Mr. Surendran has to take and how elaborately he needs to analyse while observing one's given details & requests.


Can I request Mr. Surendran to read the horoscopes of my family members?

Yes. But this has to be informed in advance while fixing the appointment. The family member need not be present.


What is the consulting fee involved?

There is no fixed fee charged and any amount that you wish can be given.


Hammock Holidays suggests Rs. 500/- to Rs. 1000/- per horoscope depending on the time consumed. The normal time spent on reading a single horoscope is approx. 30 minutes. Payment has to be made in cash. Cheques/ credit & debit cards will not be accepted.


For outstation clients can an appointment be fixed?

It depends on the number of cases that Mr. Surendran has on that particular date.  We recommend that it is advisable to check the availability in advance and fix an appointment.

We at Hammock Holidays will try to facilitate this in the shortest possible time span.


Is an English/ Hindi translator available? If so, what is the charges?

No translators will be provided; one should bring one's own translator, if required.  Communication from Mr. Surendran will be in Malayalam only.


Can the predictions be recorded?

Yes, it can be recorded with prior permission.


If the prediction is not favourable, will a “Pariharam“ (remedy) be suggested?

Yes. But it should be done in your house/ location. Mr. Surendran will suggest the necessary remedies, if any, but will not facilitate the same.

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Feng Shui
7198 people have seen this

S.BS.SURENDRAN is an Electrical Engineer and was initially in the Business of Power Conditioning and Telecommunications. His passion for photography and films made him explore structures and ancient Architecture which made him get involved passionately and take keen interest to pursue a career in the Science of Vaastu & Fengshui after formal training.

Trained under authentic Vaastu masters and having the lineage of Vedic scholars as ancestors, he has also received graduation and certification from the Grand Masters of Mainland for Feng Shui practices. His Feng Shui training has been exhaustive covering all the Major traditional Schools and methods including the most advanced school of Chinese fortune telling, Global Economy Analysis and Destiny Analysis.

He is the First and only Indian to receive Accreditation from the International Feng Shui Association, Singapore for his knowledge, skill and techniques.

A practicing Consultant for Vaastu and Feng Shui science for over 16 years he has been offering consultations to various Industries, Organizations, Residential projects, Film Making and villas in India, South East Asia, USA, China, Japan and Europe

Apart from integrating the science of Vaastu and Feng Shui his other specialization is “Bio-energetic” adapting the German Physicist Dr Ernst Lecher’s method to locate Danger zones (Dangerous Magnetic Spots) in a property.

Featured across many Television Channels on their Prestigious Talks Shows he has to his credit over 53 Television shows in India, Europe, Malasyia, Singapore, Dubai and Sri Lanka. The first Indian to be featured for Vaastu and Feng Shui in the Newspapers overseas viz., New Strait Times, Sun, Star , he has also offered his advice for adapting Feng Shui in Film Making, Costume designing, and for the first time Feng Shui and Vaastu was even adapted for Stage events and Film Awards function.

His skills have been extended even to specialized Logo designing and corporate identity using auspicious Feng Shui motifs, Web design for Many Office and Business establishments in india and abroad.

Much sought after speaker on the Topic of structures, Building designs and Vaastu/feng shui adaptations, he has delivered talks in Many International forums, conventions and Seminars in UAE, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong.

A regular columnist and writer, his passion for writing and sharing his knowledge in the fields of his specialization has earned accolades from readers for its simplicity and clarity. His writings are published in leading Magazines and Publications globally on a regular basis.

More information and details can be obtained from a very unique and interactive web site on Feng Shui.

Contact information: - or email

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Nadi Astrology
Life on a palm leaf
7374 people have seen this

I had heard about Nadi Astrology from one of my family members. Naadi Astrology or Palm leaf Astrology is an ancient Indian method of recording data. It is believed that by reading through the writings on these leaves one can learn about one's past, identify the present and predict the future. Thousands of years ago, the great sages of India had the power to look into the past and future of the entire universe.

Vytheeswaran Temple, Mayiladuthurai (near Tanjavur) is considered as the prime center for Nadi Astrology. I left from Bangalore by an overnight train to reach Mayiladuthurai by morning 7AM. As Mayiladuthurai does not have good accommodation, I decided to stay at a resort in Kumbakonam.

After freshening up and a hearty breakfast, I head to Vytheeswaran Temple. It takes approximately an hour by road to reach Vytheeswaran temple. After darshan, I head to one of the renowned Nadi astrologers. There are several astrology centres, but choose wisely as very few are trustworthy. I visited a center recommended by my resort manager. I was asked to take a seat and was given a pamphlet which contained different chapters of life and the fees to predict them. One can take the entire package or choose only the ones they want to know about.

After making my selections, they took my thumbprint along with my date and time of birth. They went inside to identify my palm leaf bundle. It took approximately 20 mins for them to find it. At times, it may take an entire day or even months to find the right set of palm leaf.

I was called into a cabin and the astrologer chants a prayer and asks you to touch the palm leaf. He then starts reading from the leaf in olden Tamil and asks series of questions, to scrutinize the leaf pertaining to you. The answers need to be either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If you don’t know the answer, just say you don’t know or seek clarification regarding the question to ensure you have understood it.

After 30 mins of questioning, the astrologer held up a palm leaf and confirmed that it is the leaf pertaining to my life. After this process, he then draws a horoscope based on one’s date of birth.

I sought to know the future of my career, health and father’s life. After predicting my past, the astrologer moves on to present and then predicts the future for the options one has. For a small fee, the predictions can be recorded the predictions and then transfer it to a CD. As the predictions are made in Tamil, one can opt for a translator who translates the predictions in English for a small fee. At the end of the session, I was handed over the book and the CD.

Different people embrace spirituality in different ways. Spirituality is to seek the knowledge, of the reason one’s existence. I got to know my past, present and future.

I returned to the resort in the evening to my resort. I boarded an overnight train to return to Bangalore.

One can extend the stay for two more nights which helps to cover the Navagraha (nine planets) temples & Tanjavur big temple.

Contact Hammock Holidays for your spiritual journey.

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Isha Yoga Center
Finding Inner Peace
7669 people have seen this

Velliangiri Mountains: “Velliangiri” literally means, “White Mountain” – called so because of the white clouds which hang over its otherwise lush, green peaks. We understand that these Mountains have seen countless seers and sages for thousands of years, and it is at the foothills of these magnificent mountains that Isha Foundation is headquartered. 

From Bangalore, we reached Coimbatore in the wee hours of the morning, landing by 5:30 am. At the railway station, we hired a taxi to go to the Center – about an hour’s drive to the Isha Yoga Center. 

We reached the ashram and one of Isha’s volunteers, Pushpa, welcomed us. She explained that she took the Yoga program when she was in college and hence decided to dedicate her life to spreading this possibility to the world. Pushpa was our “guide” showing us around the place and answering our many questions. She gave us a special guest tag to wear during our stay in the Center.

At around 7:30AM, we were taken to Theerthakund to take a dip in its cool waters. This subterranean tank features a Rasalinga, or a solidified mercury linga, that energizes the water to become ‘theerth’. The Theerthakund prepares a person to enter the Dhyanalinga (the main feature of the Center) by enhancing one’s spiritual receptivity. Pushpa explained that the principles of modern chemistry cannot explain solidification of mercury at room temperature, but through the ancient science of Indian alchemy, this linga was created and that thousands have been benefitted from its power to rejuvenate the system. 

There are two Theerthakunds: Suryakund for men and Chandrakund for women. The men in the group went to the Suryakund while the women went into Chandrakund. Before entering, we deposited our footwear and valuables at the counter. Then we bought a pass, took a towel, and went into the changing area. After changing into our robes, we had a quick shower and entered the Theerthakund. The water came up to our shoulder level. We touched the lingam. After about fifteen minutes in the cool water, we changed into our clothes and met Pushpa again to continue our tour of the Center.

Next we were taken to the shrine of Linga Bhairavi. This is a fierce yet compassionate form of the Divine Feminine. One can make offerings in various ways. A Pooja is done by Bhairagini Maas, or priestesses. The space is designed in such a way that one naturally enters the shrine in an anti-clockwise direction.

Our next visit was to the Dhyanalinga, the essence of the yogic sciences which does not ascribe to any particular faith or belief. Right from the entrance to the Dhyanalinga, one must maintain silence. As we waited just outside the meditation shrine, we saw a variety of stone panels depicting the story of different devotees and great beings in the Yogic Lore. This included Akka Mahadevi, Kannapa Nayanar, Meiporul Nayanar, Sadashiva Brahmendra, and Poosalar. There was also a tall statue of Patanjali Maharishi and a small Vanashree shrine near the entrance. 

After about 12 minutes, when the bell was rung, we entered the main shrine, where we could sit anywhere. Those with back problems or difficulty sitting on the ground could use stools to sit. We sat with our eyes closed, elbows on our thighs and palms faced upwards. After another 12 minutes, a small bell rang to mark the end of one session. One could either stay in the shrine for another session, or move out of the meditation hall silently.

Room and Board includes stay in rooms and two meals of wholesome vegetarian food at the Bhiksha Hall. The dining at the Isha Yoga Center is called Annadanam, or a sacred offering of food. Taken in complete silence, the meal is preceded by an invocation, which are designed to make a person more receptive to the life process. The food served at the Bhiksha Hall is vegetarian Sattvic food (Foods that promotes health, vitality, strength, and tranquillity). First raw food (like salad) is served, followed by cooked vegetables, and then a whole grain item like pongal/uppuma. We also had a healthy porridge. After having brunch, everyone washes their own used dishes and glasses as a part of the dining hall discipline.


The brunch timings are at 10:00 am & 10:45 am. The door to the dining hall closes sharp on time, so it is best to reach the hall 10 minutes earlier. The meals are taken sitting cross-legged on the ground, in complete silence. Here also there is a separate arrangement for those with back problems or who have difficulty sitting on the ground.

After brunch, we relaxed for some time and were then guided by Pushpa to the Dhyanalinga for Nada Aradhana (offering of sounds). The offering takes place twice during the day from 11:50 am to 12:10 pm and from 5:50 pm to 6:10 pm. The Nada Aradhana started with Chinese Singing Bowls and was followed by a Sitar and some percussion. The sounds and the empty spaces of the dome had a positive vibration which energized our mind and body.

After a brief session of Nada Aradhana, we were guided to the Aumkar meditation hall. This meditation is known to have enriching qualities. It can bring peace and balance to one’s system, and is known to relieve people from numerous physical and mental ailments when practiced regularly. The event takes place from 12:30 pm to 1:15 pm, and is open to all.

After Aumkar meditation, we proceeded to the Isha Shoppe. Here there are handicrafts, apparels, food items, Yoga accessories, body care products, books and DVDs. We bought a couple of DVDs and some comfort wear.

At Isha Shoppe, there is a variety of unique apparel, some made from Hemp. Hemp is a cotton variety which is lighter than regular cotton and is quite comfortable. Kurtas and comfort trousers made from Hemp are also available.

We then headed back to our cottage and rested for some time.

Pushpa met us at around 4:00 pm and took us to the Isha Kriya session. Isha Kriya, she explained, is a simple and easy guided meditative practice – a powerful tool to cope with the hectic pace of modern life. The DVD which guides one through Isha Kriya is available in the Isha Shoppe at a nominal charge, and the guided Isha Kriya session takes place from 4:15 pm to 5:15 pm. 

After Isha Kriya, we had a couple of hours at leisure. Pushpa suggested we visited the Rejuvenation Center, which offers a variety of Ayurveda massages and other herbal medicines and supplements. There are also a variety of programs scientifically structured to bring vibrancy and proper balance to the life energies. Here, we had a body massage and a few in the group bought some general oils and tonics.

After a quick farewell and send off by Pushpa, we headed to the restaurant just outside the Yoga Center called ‘Moondram Pirai’ for a masala dosa and a cup of tea. We then proceeded to the Coimbatore railway station by 8:30 pm for our overnight journey back to Bangalore. 

Our visit to the Isha Yoga Center was just an introductory session. There are several programs that one can register for and gain benefit for the body, mind and soul. One such program is called ‘Inner Engineering’. It is a residential program for self-empowerment and personal growth. We had only a day to explore the Center, but it would be ideal to stay for a night or two to experience the Isha Yoga Center in a relaxed way! 

Contact us to arrange your visit to Isha Yoga Center.

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