TAWANG, April 11 (IANS): Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on Tuesday wrapped up his week-long tour of Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing had strongly objected to.
The Dalai Lama left by helicopter for Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, Assam, on Tuesday morning from Tawang helipad. Thousands of people lined up along the road to see him off.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu and other dignitaries also saw him off at the helipad, a government official said.
“The Chief Minister thanked the Dalai Lama for his visit and requested him to visit Arunachal Pradesh again in the near future,” the official said.
On Monday, the Nobel Peace laureate, who Beijing has called an “anti-China separatist”, described his visit to Arunachal Pradesh as a “memorable one” that he would cherish forever.
He also thanked the people, particularly from far off villages, who gathered in large numbers to welcome and listen to him at all the places that he visited.
In fact, this is not for the first time that the 81-year-old Tibetan leader is visiting Arunachal or Tawang. In 1959, he escaped from China via Tawang and visited the state in 1983, 1997, 2003 and 2009.
The Dalai Lama was to start his week-long religious visit to Arunachal Pradesh from Tawang on April 4. But bad weather forced him to travel by road as his helicopter couldn’t take off from Dibrugarh airport in Assam.
The Tibetan spiritual leader reached Tawang - the high point of his visit to this mountainous state — on April 7 after traversing over 550 km from Assam’s Dibrugarh and crossed the 13,700 feet Sela Pass.
The Dalai Lama stayed at the Tawang monastery belonging to the Gelugpa school of Mahayana Buddhism, which had a religious connection with Lhasa’s Drepung monastery that continued during the British rule.
Beijing refers to this connection to claim Tawang as part of China after invading and taking over Tibet in 1950.
The Dalai Lama had stayed in the Tawang monastery for some days before he reached Assam after fleeing his homeland in 1959.
During his religious tour to Arunachal Pradesh, the spiritual leader consecrated the Thupsung Dhargyeling monastery at Dirang on April 6. On Sunday, he also consecrated the Tara Temple ‘Dolma Lhagang’, Guru Padhmasambhava Statue cum Temple (Lumpo), and laid the foundation stone of Gyalwa Jamba (Kuber) statue to be built at Buri near the India-Bhutan border.
He gave the name Jamtseling for the Jamba (Kuber) statue besides donating Rs 50,000 from his side for its construction.