Dalai Lama Joins Indian-Tibetan Friendship Celebration

June 16th 2010

Dharamsala, HP, India, 15 June 2010 (By Phurbu Thinley, phayul.com) - Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama Tuesday attended a celebratory function marking “fifty years of friendship and understanding” among Indians and Tibetans here in this north Indian hill town.

As part of the celebration Hindu priests conducted a fire ritual (havan) and prayer chanting ceremony in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his continued well-being and long life.

Senior officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, members of the organising committee of the event and hundreds of Tibetans, Indians and visiting tourists participated in the event held at the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag khang) here.

“We chanted and offered prayers for the well-being and long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And also in our puja we offered prayers for the happiness, success and well-being of Tibetans here and all over the world,” said Swami Ananda Ji, the leader of the priests.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gestures as he attends fire ritual (havan) being conducted by Hindu priests for his continued well-being and long life at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, India, Tuesday, June 15, 2010. The prayer ceremony is part a day-long event organised by the local Indian community of McLeod Ganj to celebrate “50 years of friendship” with Tibetan exiles. (Photo by David Huang)
The day-long event, which also included offering free community meal in traditional Indian style to the public, was organised by six organisations representing the Indian community of McLeod Ganj, also called Upper Dharamsala.

Meal was also offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and, officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Indian dignitaries at the Tsuglagkhang (Main Tibetan Temple) courtyard here.

The event was jointly organised by Indo-Tibet Friendship Society (ITFS), Hotel Association, Beopar Mandal, Bagsu Taxi Union, Auto Union, and Trekkers Association of McLeod Ganj.

In his opening speech, Mr Ajay Sing Mankotia, President of ITFS, described the event as “a celebration of 50 years of togetherness” for Indians and Tibetans in Dharamsala and elsewhere in Himachal Pradesh and India.

“This celebration is an expression of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai lama and to show that that we are blessed by his presence here,” Mr Mankotia said.
Mr Mankotia said Dalai Lama’s guidance and blessing enabled people from both the communities to live and prosper together in harmony and peacefully for the last 50 years.

“Your Holiness’ presence here for the last 50 years has not only helped us to grow together, but also helped Dharamsala to prosper spiritually. This has given Dharamsala the sanctity it enjoys now,” he said.

The exiled Tibetan leader thanked the organisers and the people of the town for the puja and the event.

In his speech, the Dalai Lama reminded the Tibetans to continue to preserve and uphold the values that define the Tibetan people and their culture.

“In embracing modernity and progress, we must not abandon the human values that has been so preciously passed down on to us by our elder generations. These values make up our unique culture," the Dalai Lama said.

“It is these spiritual values that are so ingrained in our culture and in our way of life that make us special and loved by the outside world, and if we are to abandon these values, then it will be a very disheartening situation," the Tibetan leader said.

The Dalai Lama has been living in McLeod Ganj, a hill-top town in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, since 1960, following Chinese occupation of Tibet and a failed 1959 uprising against the Chinese rule over it.

In April, Tibetan exiles organised a two-day event here called “Thank You Himachal” to thank the people and the government of the state on the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in Mcleod Ganj.

The Dalai Lama arrived here in April 1960, a year after entering India, to shift from his temporary base in Mussoorie in the present-day Uttarakhand state. Since then Dharmsala has served as the base for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Little over 35,000 Tibetans live in Dharamsala and 14 different Tibetan settlements across the hill state.

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