By Prabin Kalita, TNN
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama waves as he leaves after a series of public teachings at Tawang, in northeastern Indian state Arunachal Pradesh, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
GUWAHATI - The Dalai Lama concluded his four-day trip to Tawang on Thursday, but not before revisiting the district deputy commissioner's residence, called the Tawang House, his first stopover on Indian soil after pulling off a sensational escape from Tibet 50 years ago. He planted saplings near a tree that he had planted while staying there as a refugee in 1959.
The Tibetan spiritual leader bade goodbye to Tawang by praying at the Dukhang (main prayer hall) in the Tawang monastery before he retraced his half century-old footsteps on Indian soil to Bomdi-la. This time, however, he took the aerial route to reach the second destination of his escape from Tibet. He flew there in a chopper owned by the Arunachal government.
On the way, the Tibetan spiritual leader made a brief stopover at Dirang, where he held a religious discourse for Buddhist followers on the banks of River Dirang before taking to air again for Bomdi-la. It was here at Bomdi-la that an Indian government envoy had formally received him with a welcome message from then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. On March 31, 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama had crossed the Indian border before he reached Tawang. Bomdi-la is 185 km south of Tawang, which is about 40 km away from the international border.
Tibetan Spritual leader the Dalai Lama (C) gestures to followers at Chimmey Monestry in Tawang, in the northwestern corner of Arunachal Pradesh state on November 12, 2009, on the last day of his visit to the disputed region.(DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
West Kameng district officials informed that the Dalai Lama will be spending the night at Thuibchok Gatselling Lower Gompha and give a religious discourse at the Buddha Stadium at Bomdi-la on Friday. "Tomorrow is our day of salvation. We are expecting more than 10,000 people," an official said.
Local MLAs have also initiated cleanliness drives in and around Bomdi-la and have asked people to maintain a conducive atmosphere for the Tibetan leader's visit. The district headquarters wore a festive look with colourful Buddhist prayer flags draping the roads while colourful welcome arches have been put up at entry points.
Manjushree Vidhyapith orphanage children eat a meal following a visit by Tibetan Spritual leader the Dalai Lama in Tawang, in the northwestern corner of Arunachal Pradesh state on November 12, 2009, on the last day of his visit to the disputed region. The Dalai Lama said religious "duty" compelled him to make his visit to a Buddhist region near India's disputed Himalayan border with Tibet that has infuriated China.(DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
From Bomdi-la, the Dalai Lama will leave Itanagar by helicopter on Friday. Earlier in the day at Tawang, he laid the foundation of a hostel building of a home for destitutes called Manjushree Vidyapeeth. He also visited the Old Market Gompha and the Serjey Jamyang Chockhorling monastery at Tawang before his departure.