By Kelsang Rinchen,
Dharamsala, March 27 – Thronged by devotees who have come to attend the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mcloed Ganj has once again become the hub of Tibetans and Buddhists from all over the world. Thousands of devotees have gathered in the north Indian hilltown of Dharamsala, the exile Tibetan government’s head quarters, for Shanti Deva’s teaching. The teaching will go on till the end of this month.
But there is another reason for the Dharamsalites to be busy in April since the Shoton festival starts on April 2, 2003. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be the Chief Guest for the inaugural day of this annual festival of Tibetan Opera.
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts has revived this unique Tibetan tradition in India as was felt important by His Holiness the Dalai Lama who believed that opera is a vital part of the Tibetan culture. Opera troupes from Tibetan communities in India and Nepal will take part in it.
Mussoorie is the new entry to this year’s yoghurt festival. Shoton is an ancient Tibetan festival of opera, which involves competition between various opera troupes who were invited to Drepung in summer to entertain the monks and their guests.
The performers except those of the host institution, unlike the troupes of Tibet, are not professionals but they have lived up to the expectations of the general public who would gather at the Tipa ground with packed foods and butter tea to spend the whole festival enjoying every bit and beat of Lhamo.
Kelsang Rinchen can be contacted at email@example.com.