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Dalai Lama

Lhamo Thondup was born in a peasant family on July 6, 1935 in the small village of Taktser in the north-eastern Tibetan province of Amdo. At the age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. As such, Tibetans consider Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, to be a living Buddha, a manifestation of the Buddha. He was throne on February 22, 1940 at Lhasa. At the age of six, he began his monastic education in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. In early March 1959, in front of 20,000 scholars, the Dalai Lama passed his final examination to qualify as a Geshe. At the age of 15 he was asked by the Tibetan Government to take the full responsibility as Head of the state and raise voice against the Chinese invasion of Tibet. An appeal to united Nations was made.

On March 10, 1959, Chinese military invited

Dalai Lama

the Dalai Lama to attend, without bodyguards, a theatrical performance to be held inside their compound. Rumours spread throughout Lhasa that the Dalai Lama would be kidnapped by the Chinese military. By the morning of 10 March, huge crowds of Tibetans had gathered outside the Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama's Summer Palace, with the intention of protecting him. This was the beginning of the Tibetan Uprising against the Chinese in Tibet. During the Uprising, which lasted for nearly two weeks, it has been estimated that more than 87,000 Tibetans died. The Dalai Lama and his immediate family escaped in disguise from Lhasa on the evening of 17 March, 1959. He crossed the border into India on 30 March, where he was granted asylum. Approximately 80,000 Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama across the Himalayas into exile.

The Indian Government offered the Dalai Lama a home in Dharamshala, a small town in the foothills of the Himalayas in the state of Himachal Pradesh. From here, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile drafted a constitution for an autonomous and democratic Tibet and holds elections for the Tibetan Parliament.

The Dalai Lama did not travel outside India until 1967, when he visited Japan and Thailand. Since then, he has visited more than 45 countries, giving Buddhist teachings and talks on a wide variety of spiritual and ethical topics and urging world leaders to assist him in bringing about a resolution to the Tibetan situation. In 1988, the Dalai Lama put forward the 'Strasbourg Proposal' to the European Parliament in which he called for genuine autonomy for Tibet rather independence, thus making a major compromise. In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful struggle for the liberation of Tibet.

 

Cultural Tourism in Ladakh

Visit to the major Buddhist monasteries and other cultural or heritage sites are the principal tourist attractions of central Ladakh and Zanskar. These sites, most within reach of Leh, may be visited by bus or taxi. Most of the villages and monasteries are connected by road from Leh. Most of the region's principal Gompas are open throughout day and a caretaker lama is available to show visitors around. Some of the less visited establishments have special opening hours, as in the case

Hemis Monastery Ladakh

of Namgyal Tsemo, Shey Palace and the Stok Palace Museum. Most of the monasteries charge a small entrance fee. The monasteries constitute the fountain-head of Ladakh's Buddhist religion and culture.

 

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