Each year, July 6 marks the birthday or the ‘Incarnation Day’ of the 14th Dalai Lama, also known as Gyalwa Rinpoche to the Tibetan people. The spiritual leader was born in Tibet on July 6, 1935, and had to seek refuge in India, along with his followers, owing to the political crisis in their country.
This year, the Dalai Lama celebrated his 87th birthday amidst his followers, with a series of cultural events held at McLeod Ganj temple near Dharamshala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
The celebrations could not take place in the year 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as cases have dropped and travel restrictions have been eased, this year the celebrations took place with great fanfare.
The celebration, which was held at Tsuglagkhang, another name for his temple, took place in a grand manner. Organised by the Tibetan government-in-exile, the event was attended by hundreds of the Dalai Lama’s followers. Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister Jairam Thakur attended the event virtually.
Cultural programmes that highlighted not only the Tibetan culture, but also the Nepali, Ladakhi and the Gaddi folk culture of Dharamshala, were displayed as part of the celebration.
Numerous birthday wishes have poured in on social media from significant personalities, including from Prime Minster Narendra Modi. “Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness @DalaiLama over phone earlier today. We pray for his long life good health,” he tweeted. The celebration also saw the presence of Hollywood star Richard Gere, who is an active supporter and follower of the Dalai Lama.