Revitalizing Nalanda Buddhism by Reimagining Doeguling

Stories of Tibetan monasteries and the adjacent refugee camps


Volunteer project report on Doeguling

We would like to take this moment and thank Mr. Manny Fassihi for his tireless effort and countless hours he has put into publishing such a detailed assessment on Doeguling. Mr. Fassihi has done a superb job in outlining the importance of the Nalanda traditions and the key potentials thatDoeguling holds. 

We hope that everyone including the Tibetan community across the globe read this wonderful report because at the end – as Tibetans – we need to be in the forefront of the change we wish to see in the future.


Mission Statement Doeguling


Doeguling Tibetan Settlement (“The Institution”) in Mundgod, Karnataka State (India) will become a leading international Buddhist institution. The Institution is rooted in the Nalanda tradition of ancient India, which flourished under the rule of the Gupta, Kannauj and Pala kings from the fifth to the twelfth century AD, and is the major influence on Tibetan Buddhism as practiced today. The Institution will incorporate retirement homes based on the principles of loving kindness (Tibetan: Jampa) and compassion (Tibetan: Nying je), Tibetan traditional medical centres, Tibetan theme hotels, and centres for Tibetan culture (music, art, dance and handicraft). 

~Tsewang Namgyal


Reimagining Doeguling

Doeguling (or Mundgod) is a community on the precipice of a tremendous opportunity. Located in the North Kanara district of Karnataka State, South India, Doeguling is home to approximately 17,000 Tibetans, making it the largest Tibetan refugee settlement in the world.

The settlement consists of eleven camps and includes seven monasteries, twenty schools (from nursery to secondary), two homes for the elderly, several modern hospitals, a Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute, and a co-operative society engaged in various activities such as farming and handicrafts.

Today, Doeguling struggles to meet the challenges of economic development. The eager, young minds of tomorrow are leaving Doeguling for better jobs in urban India or abroad.  Bad roads make travel into and out of the settlement difficult. Erratic power and water supply disrupt daily commerce and make day-to-day life challenging for the majority farming community. Unless you want to become a monk or nun, there are few livelihood opportunities for young people who are now leaving the settlement to work in larger neighboring cities, such as Bangalore or abroad.  

This is where the Reimagining Doeguling project seeks to reverse this trend. The concept was first shared by a former Doeguling resident – Tsewang Namgyal – in January 2014.  The community leaders further developed on the project idea with the advice of experienced professionals.  

We believe that Doeguling is uniquely positioned to become a modern-day Nalanda. By leveraging the tremendous strength of the cultural traditions embodied in these monasteries and balancing them with sustainable development opportunities, we seek to share this priceless wisdom within India and the world.  In the process we anticipate to alleviate poverty within the community.”

With Re-imagining Doeguling, we seek to take a multi-pronged approach to re-invigorating the community to make it a vibrant, self-sustaining community and to transform it into “wish-fulfilling” place (the translation of “Doeguling” from Tibetan).

Through an integrated collaborative effort, Doeguling has the potential to become an international tourist site.

Doeguling hosts both Drepung and Ganden monastery. In addition, the settlement is home to Jangchub Choeling Nunnery, Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma and other monasteries. Over half the population (17,000) in Doeguling are monastics’ making Doeguling one of the greatest repository of Buddhist knowledge in the world. The settlement is also home to a living vibrant Tibetan community where Tibetan language is the primary medium of communication. In addition, His Holiness regularly visits Doeguling and this place could potentially become one of His residence.

Doeguling is ideally located approximately 50 km (one hour by road) from the City of Hubli (which is well connected by modern air, road and rail facilities).

Doeguling is halfway between international tourist resort city of Goa and the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hampi. Nearby tourist sites also include Atiiveri Bird Sanctuary and India’s largest water fall – Jog Falls. The region is accessible all year round and has an average temperature of 78 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

With the goal of re-imagining a thriving, sustainable community, we will be able to excite interest from various government, NGO and private investors to reach our objective and in the process address many of Doeguling’s challenges.


Dalai Lama blesses the project

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his visit to Doeguling