Thousands gather to celebrate His Holiness’ 81st birthday in Dharamsala

By Lobsang Tenchoe 

DHARAMSALA, July 6: The courtyard of Tsug-lag-khang, the main temple in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala where the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides, was filled with an air of exultation as thousands of Tibetans as well as foreigners and Indian followers of the Tibetan leader congregated for the official celebration of His Holiness’ 81st birthday.

Officiating Sikyong, Home Kalon (cabinet minister) Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang and Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok of the Central Tibetan Administration delivered the official statements of the Kashag (the Tibetan cabinet) and the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile respectively.

13575649_1202459133111287_1251676720_oBoth of them highlighted the innumerous contributions and magnanimous endeavors of His Holiness for the Tibetan people and the world at large.

They expressed the Tibetan people’s profound gratitude towards His Holiness and urged Tibetans to adhere to His Holiness’ concern over degeneration of Tibetan cultural values, preserve unity among Tibetans and move forward with confidence and in accordance with the great wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Both the leaders also expressed gratitude to the government and the people of India for their unwavering support and hospitality for more than fifty-seven years in exile.

Expressing their deep loyalty and devotion to His Holiness,they prayed for all his wishes to be fulfilled and the non-violent cause of Tibet to prevail.

Wishing His Holiness a very happy birthday and a long and healthy life, Ajay Singh Mankotia, President of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association in his address said:

“We usually distribute laddus (sweets) in celebration of His Holiness’ birthday but this year we are going to offer free medical camps to the poor people in the villages as helping others is what His Holiness preaches.”

13595951_1202459153111285_1193479294_nCultural performances by the students of Tibetan schools located in and around Dharamsala, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and dance troupes representing the three provinces of the Tibet lighted up the spirit of the crowd of thousands gathered at the Tsug-lag-khang courtyard.

Other programs included felicitation of three civil servants for their more than 25 years of service for the Central Tibetan Administration by the officiating Sikyong Home, Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang.

The birthday celebration of the Tibetan Nobel Peace laureate also included book launches and release of DVDs.

The Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioner, Mr Kargyu Dhondup, launched a book on the life of former Tibetan political prisoner Lobsang Tenzin in Chinese language and a Hindi version of long-time Tibetan supporter Vijay Kranti’s comic book ‘Dalai Lama: Soldier of Peace’.

The Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament released two DVDs, one on teaching of Math produced by the Department of Education and a DVD titled Yarkyi by TIPA.

His Holiness will be participating in the concluding ceremony of the year-long 80th birthday celebrations in the morning at Drepung Monastery in South India which is being organized by the Geluk Organizing Committee.