Tawang set to welcome Dalai

Tawang set to welcome Dalai

Tight security cover, curbs on foreign journalists in place

A young woman at the Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday. AFP

Colourful posters with pictures of the Tibetan spiritual leader and flags welcome visitors to the place, where the Dalai Lama had landed in 1959 after his escape from Tibet.

A security blanket has been thrown around the area, with the Tawang district administration making all efforts to ensure a peaceful visit of the leader.

According to Lama Tashi, director of the Himalayan Studies and Research Centre, who was nominated for the Grammy Award for his songs based on Tibetan master chants, the visit will give a strong signal to China that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country.

“People regard him as God and, therefore, no objection should be raised from any quarter to his visit to the state,” Tashi says.

The spiritual leader is scheduled to give discourses at the 300-year-old Tawang monastery and the nearby Dirang and Bomdila before leaving for Itanagar.

Monk-turned political personality T G Rinpoche said the people here viewed the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of ‘Avalokiteswara’, the god of compassion.

Special cuisine  

Cooks have been trained for a month to serve the Dalai Lama’s favourite fare, while gifts have been stocked for him for a year here. “The Dalai Lama’s favourite dishes cannot be disclosed, but cooks have been training for a month to prepare them,” head of the Tawang Monastery Tulku Rimpoche said.

The monastery authorities also have in store a large number of gifts including scriptures, miniature replicas of stupas, sculptures and flowers.

The spiritual leader will be staying in a special suite in the 300-year-old monastery.
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to inaugurate a museum, containing historic scriptures of the Buddhist religion, before proceeding to the main prayer hall, ‘Dukhang’, for a prayer session.

The Centre is yet to grant permission to foreign journalists to cover the Dalai Lama’s week-long visit to Tawang, saying the applications are still “under consideration.”

Applications by 36 foreign journalists for the restricted area permits (RAPs), mandatory for foreigners wishing to travel to the state, are yet to be cleared. Foreigners have to approach the External Affairs Ministry for RAPs to travel to the state.