His Holiness the Dalai Lama Gets Ceremonial Welcome at Tawang

Buddhist devotees line up along the road  as they wait for Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, in Tawang, in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. Joyous Buddhist pilgrims thronged the streets Sunday of the remote Himalayan town of Tawang to catch sight of the Dalai Lama, whose rare trip so close to the Tibetan border has raised Chinese ire. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Dalai Lama-India-Tawang

Dharamshala: Thousands of people in the Buddhist town of Tawang accorded ceremonial welcome to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he arrived Sunday morning for a week-long visit to the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived by helicopter at Tawang, perched at an elevation of approximately 3,048 meters (10,000 feet) in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh.

His Holiness was received at the helipad by State Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and other ministers.

Sound of gongs and cymbals resonate as His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at Tawang, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeted the devotees, who were dressed in traditional costumes and had lined on both sides of the eight-kilometre road leading from the helipad to the Tawang monastery.

At the 400-year-old monastery, about 800 monks gave His Holiness the Dalai Lama a religious welcome amid chants of Buddhist hymns as a strong aroma of burning incense wafted through the air.

Giant gongs were played by monks dressed in new robes, while priests of the monastery prostrated as His Holiness the Dalai Lama alighted from the vehicle.

Indian and Tibetan prayer flags fluttered alongside, while banners and life-size posters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama adorned the streets and rooftops with the entire Tawang town of about 35,000 people wearing a festive look.

“It made us very happy to catch a glimpse of him. Nobody is more important to us than him. The Dalai Lama is our god,” Ms. Karmayacha, who uses one name and travelled with her family from a village 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, was quoted by the Associated Press.

Hundreds of devotees from Nepal and Bhutan have also converged for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit.

Buddhist devotees line up along the road  as they wait for Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, in Tawang, in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. Joyous Buddhist pilgrims thronged the streets Sunday of the remote Himalayan town of Tawang to catch sight of the Dalai Lama, whose rare trip so close to the Tibetan border has raised Chinese ire. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
India Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give religious discourse at Tawang, Dirang and Bomdila during the week-long visit, which ends 15 November.

His Holiness will inaugurate a museum, containing historic scriptures of the Buddhist religion, and unveil a library of the monastery school at the Centre for Buddhist Culture Studies.

His Holiness will also inaugurate a super-speciality hospital at Tawang.