Hill town pads up for one-dayer

 The atmosphere in Dharamsala is nothing short of festive as the hill town gears up to host its first ever international cricket match with India taking on England in the inconsequential fifth and final ODI of a series that has been pocketed by the home nation.

The English fans have started arriving through charted flights and luxury vehicles. BCCI officials are also gathering here for the closing ceremony of the series.
All 67 MLAs of the state are coming, where chief minister Vir Bhadra Singh shall be the chief guest.

With the match falling on a Sunday, lot of tourists are coming in from the adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

The host of the show, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket association admitted that the spectators might face problems in getting accommodation.

The town has 56 registered hotels and guest houses with a bed capacity of 1,100. Mc
Leodganj, eight km from Dharamsala, has around 91 registered hotels which can accommodate 2,000 people. A dozen government guest houses are also there.

Sanjeev Gandhi, owner of a hotel in McLeodganj said, “The total rooms of our hotel were booked a year back for this event.”

The administration is worried about the parking for the vehicles. The Pavilion, overlooking the stadium, is some three km from the stadium. The stadium, 250 km from Shimla and Chandigarh, has a seating capacity of 21,500 people.

Dalai Lama to skip match

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will give the match  a miss, an aide said on Friday. “His Holiness returned to Dharamsala this morning after two months. He will not be present for the match,” said Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary of the Dalai Lama’s office.

“There will be no public audience by the Dalai Lama till mid-February, except his short visit to Allahabad on February 3 for the Kumbh Mela.”

Also, England batsman Kevin Pietersen went to meet the Dalai Lama at his residence on Friday, but did not get to see the spiritual leader.

“His Holiness himself. Such an interesting morning visiting his residence!” tweeted Pietersen, attaching a photograph of him besides a framed photo of the Dalai Lama.
He also posted a photograph of Dharamsala airport.

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