Dalai Lama reaches Tawang
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Friday set foot in Tawang for the second time in seven years as part of his visit to Arunachal Pradesh that has triggered strident protests by China.
The exiled Tibetan leader was to reach Tawang by chopper on April 4 but due to bad weather, he had to travel over 550 km by road from Guwahati to reach here. He was accompanied by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
The Dalai Lama, 81 , is visiting Tawang for the fifth time during his seventh trip to the frontier state that began in 1983. The Dalai's previous trip to Arunachal Pradesh came in 2009, when he stayed at Tawang for four days. This visit came exactly 50 years after his exile from Tibet. He was compelled to flee Lhasa in 1959 and cross over to India by foot via the Tawang sector.
The Nobel Laureate covered 140 km by road from Dirang in West Kameng district accompanied by Khandu with a 30-km stretch of the route at Sela being partly snow-covered and having turned muddy and slippery due to the melting snow.
The state police and paramilitary personnel are keeping vigil along the 140-km stretch between Dirang and Tawang, particularly at Sela (13,700 feet).
Tawang has been decorated with colourful prayer flags and flowers with the roads repainted and the drains cleaned.
"A series of religious discourses by the Dalai Lama will begin on Saturday. He will stay at the Tawang monastery for four nights before leaving on April 11, Tawang deputy commissioner Sang Phuntso said.
Security has been strengthened around the Tawang monastery, the Yid-Ga-Choezin ground where the spiritual leader will deliver his sermons.
The 336-year-old monastery is the largest in India and second largest in the world after Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.