Founded in 1970 by Tibetan refugee monks at Bylakuppe village to the west of Mysore
, the Sera Monastery is one of the three largest centers of Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Gelug Order (a sect of Tibetan Buddhism which invigorated the Buddhist religion in a purer form) in the world. It can be compared to a university town, offering opportunity to study and practice Buddhism
. About three and a half thousand Tibetan Buddhist monks and monks from other countries live there. The monastery has two colleges - Sera Je and Sera Meh - which follow slightly different syllabuses for the study programs. Westerners can also study the traditional monastic study program here.
The program (Geshe Degree) includes a 19 year course of study of the Buddhist sutras along with daily practices. The monks receive complete knowledge in the teachings and practices of Buddhism as it is described within the Tibetan Geluk tradition. The newly graduated monk continues with the study of tantra to carry out retreat or to teach and translate. Debating classes are also conducted.
Sera Monastery has three main temples and three gigantic gold plated copper statues. The central statue is that of the Buddha which has a height of 60 ft from the base and the others are 58 ft in height and are those of Guru Padmasambhava and Budha Amitayus. There are scriptures, relics of great beings, small clay-mould stupas and small statues inside the statues which symbolize the body, speech and mind of the Buddhas.
The monastery is near Kushalnagar town. Bylakuppe is 85 km from Mysore city and 230 km from Bangalore. Bangalore Airport is 240 km from the village.