Phuntsokling Tibetan Settlement, Chandragiri, Orissa (Odisha), India
The Tibetan settlement Phuntsokling is located in a remote region of the province of Orissa , in eastern India , at about 1000 meters above sea level. (2011 the name of Orissa was officially changed to Odisha)
The settlement was established in 1963 , in a forest area, which was provided by the Indian government for Tibetan refugees. It now consists of 5 villages with a total population of about 2000.
The people live mainly from agriculture. In hard work the dense jungle was reclaimed . However, due to the small allotted land shares and lack of irrigation the harvest yields are barely enough for survival . In winter, the people therefore try to find extra income especially with trading of knitted garments in India. Some have achieved a modest prosperity, most have remained very poor.
In the settlement there are three large schools , two for kindergarten through to class 5 and one for children from class 6 to 10.
The Kailash Hostel is located adjacent to this third school.
In the settlement there are two hospitals, one for Tibetan and one for allopathic medicine. Malaria and tuberculosis are major causes of health problems. .
Rigon Thupten Mindrolling Monastery
The monastery Mindrolling is located in settlement No.4, about two kilometers from Kailash Hostel. It was founded by His Eminence Namkha Drimed Rinpoche, the supreme leader of the Ripa-line, and recently expanded to one of the larger monasteries in South Asia. At the moment about 200 monks live in the monastery.
For the students of the Kailash hostel, which were almost all born in India, the monastery as a tibetan center forms a vital link to their culture .
Buddhist Heritage of Orissa
Orissa has a rich Buddhist heritage, not generally known. While Nalanda and Vikramashila, the great Buddhist universities in Bihar, were destroyed at the end of the 12th Century by the Muslim hordes, the monasteries in Orissa, far away in the hills, could exist to the 15-16th Century. Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, fundamentals for the Tibetan Buddhism, have been developed to a considerable extent in Orissa, especially at Ratnagiri.
Orissa was the ancient kingdom of Kalinga, known from the time of Ashoka. Inscriptions from the 2nd Century BC. were found in Jaugada, not far from Phuntsokling.