April 15, 2024

Inclement weather forces last-minute change of itinerary 

TAP | Updated: April 4, 2017

China’s protest ignored: Dalai Lama begins Arunachal tour 

BOMDILA, Apr 04: Despite strong protest from China, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama began his Arunachal visit on Tuesday albeit with a last-minute change of plan.
Weather played spoilsport as the Dalai Lama had to travel by road to Bomdila as the chopper could not take off from Guwahati airport due to torrential rain.
A convoy of SUVs then brought the Dalai Lama and his entourage to Bomdila about 320 km from Guwahati. The Buddhist-dominated Bomdila, the headquarters of West Kameng district, is from where the Chinese army began retreating during the 1962 war.
“The weather forced us to take the road. Our tour of Arunachal Pradesh is on course but with a change in schedule,” Tenzin Takhla, the private secretary to the Dalai Lama, informed.
The Dalai Lama’s itinerary, a government spokesperson said, has been reversed. He will now be reaching Tawang, about 180 km from Bomdila, on April 8 for a three-day stay.
The spiritual leader was earlier scheduled to depart from Tawang on April 9 and visit other places, some of which, including state capital Itanagar are likely to be struck off the itinerary.
The rain, however, followed the Dalai Lama when he arrived at Bomdila’s Lower Gompa after an almost nine-hour drive. Almost everyone who matters in Arunachal Pradesh – from ministers and local MLAs to the chief secretary and director general of police – had queued up in the rain to greet him.
“This is a great day for us, and we are fortunate His Holiness accepted our invitation,” Chief Minister Pema Khandu said. He had gone to Dharamshala last year to invite the Dalai Lama.
One of his aides said the Dalai Lama’s visit was purely spiritual without any geo-political message for anyone.
The Buddhist town got a new lease of life after the Tibetan spiritual leader arrived in the evening accompanied by state Chief Minister Pema Khandu and other high ranking police and civil officials.
The Dalai Lama will deliver a discourse at the Buddha Park in Bomdila tomorrow.
On April 6, he will give teachings at Dirang and confer the ‘Avalokiteshvara Permission’ at Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery in the morning. From April 8 to 10, the Dalai Lama will deliver discourses in Tawang.
The Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh comes eight years after his previous visit in 2009.
The previous visit came exactly 50 years after he had passed through the town on his way from Lhasa in Tibet to India.
Amid persistent Chinese objections to the Dalai Lama’s trip to Arunachal Pradesh, India said on Tuesday that no “artificial controversy” should be created around the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit. 
On April 6, he would give teachings at Dirang on Geshe Langri Thangpa’s Eight Verses of Training the Mind & Guru Yoga and confer the Avalokiteshvara Permission in the morning at Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery.
From April 8 to 10, the Dalai Lama would confer teachings in Tawang on Kamalashila ‘The Middling States of Meditation’ and Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo’s Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva at Yiga Choezin.
On April 10 he would confer the Rinzin Dhondup Initiation at Yiga Choezin.
But with the Red Dragon breathing fire from across the India-Tibet border not far away, the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit did try to drive home New Delhi’s message.
“This is our internal affair. China should not interfere just as we do not interfere in their internal matters,” Kiren Rijiju, Union minister of state for home affairs who hails from West Kameng district, had said in Itanagar on Sunday.
The Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh comes eight years after his previous visit, which was given the green signal by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The spiritual leader’s visit to Tawang in 2009 came exactly 50 years after he had passed through the town on his way from Lhasa in Tibet to India.
The Tibetan spiritual leader fled from Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.