The austere countryside of Eskdalemuir in Dumfries is the unlikely setting for Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre.
Established in 1967, the monastery was the first of its kind in Europe. Although its beginnings were modest, it has since expanded to house a permanent community of around 60 people. While beguiling enough on the outside, its ornately decorated interior is the site’s real attraction, drawing Buddhists and curious tourists into a room that seems about as far removed from Scotland as you could imagine.
Buddhist statues, embroidered silk paintings, intricate figures, flowers and florid pillars greet visitors as they step inside (with shoes off, as is customary).
Though the centre is not geared for tourists, the centre is a friendly and welcoming place that does make room for a tea room, serving vegetarian snacks and teas.