DHARAMSHALA: Tibetans showcased their beautiful culture and tradition at a day-long Himalayan festival at Shimla, the capital of northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, on Saturday. The festival – jointly organised by Department of Tourism, Himachal State Government and Department of Home of the Central Tibetan Administration – was aimed at promoting friendship and cultural understanding among peoples especially those living in the Himalayan regions.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh inaugurated the festival. Dignitaries present on the occasion include Deputy Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Health Kalon Dr. Tsering Wangchuk and Director of Tourism Mohan Chauhan.
In his introductory address, Health Kalon Dr Tsering Wangchul said the festival was aims to bring different cultures and people across Himalayas on a common forum and foster understanding, appreciation, exchanges and dialogue among the people of the region.
In his address, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said: “Tibet is a land of religion, and is a repository of unique and beautiful culture, language and religion.
“It is our responsibility to take care of Tibetans living in exile and especially ensure that Tibetan children get good education,” said the chief minister, whose family shares a special historical relationship with Tibet and Tibetan people.
“We hope and pray to god that Tibetans in exile will return to their homeland with dignity within my lifetime,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay said: “We express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the government and people of Himachal Pradesh for their long-standing support to the Tibetan people.”
“We are very grateful that the chief minister, whose family shares historical relationship with Tibetans, has always extended his support whenever Tibetans need it,” he said.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be very happy for the joint effort of government of Himachal Pradesh and CTA in organising the Himalayan Festival. It will send a message to the international community to visit the beautiful, green and peaceful state of Himachal Pradesh,” Sikyong said.
Chief Minister and Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay visited different stalls showcasing cultures, handicrafts, traditional medicines, and cuisines of the Himalayan regions. The Tibetan stalls include exhibition on history of Tibet and journey in exile by the Tibet Museum and screening of films on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet by Audio Visual Section of the Department of Information & International Relations, CTA; medical camp and expo by Men-Tsee Khang: sand mandala presentation by Dorjee Drak Monastery based in Shimla and Tibetan cuisines by Hotel Tibet.
Another highlight of the festival was folk songs and dances by artists from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Bhutan, Ladakh, Sikkim, Kinnaur and Nepal.