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Would you believe that Scotland is home to the largest Buddhist temple in Western Europe?
You can find it nestled in a peaceful valley on the banks of the River Esk, in Eskdalemuir, about 15 miles from Lockerbie.
In the countryside of Dumfries and Galloway is the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, the largest Tibetan Buddhist abbey in Europe, which is free for everyone to visit.
“The Place Beyond Design”
The site was founded in 1967 by two Tibetan refugees, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Akong Tulku Rinpoche.
Kagyu Samye Ling, which means “the place beyond conception”, was the first Tibetan monastery to be founded in the West.
Upon entering the temple, visitors find themselves in halls covered in red and gold decorations with dozens of golden Buddha statues.
Visited by David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Billy Connolly
The estate includes religious monuments, including the Great Victory Stupa, which symbolizes the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha.
Away from the temple, there is a secluded garden of peace surrounded by a lake and accessed by a walkway, a place the monks use for quiet contemplation.
The monastery offers weekend classes and meditation sessions and has been visited by famous faces such as David Bowie and Leonard Cohen, while Billy Connolly is known to be a frequent visitor.
How can I get there?
If you are driving you leave the A74 at Lockerbie and follow the B723 to Eskdalemuir. From here turn left onto the B709, follow the signs for Samye Ling and pass through the village of Eskdalemuir.
If you are traveling by public transport you can take a train to Lockerbie, from here you can take the 112 bus which goes to Samye Ling, or the 124 which leaves from Langholm.
You can also take a coach to the monastery, while a taxi from Lockerbie costs around £20 one way.