Travelling more than 250 kms by road, daring the unpredictable weather, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama reached Bomdila to a rousing welcome by thousands of devotees. Bomdila at 7,274 ft is a quaint little town, the district headquarters of West Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh.
Notwithstanding objections from various sources, the Dalai Lama is on his way to Tawang – a visit eagerly awaited by the people of Arunachal Pradesh besides devotees of neighbouring country Bhutan.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who received the Dalai Lama at Guwahati, accompanied the Dalai Lama on his journey to Tawang along with senior BJP leader Sudanshu Mittal.
Tenzing Tsewang Gyatso, known world over as the Dalai Lama, entered Arunachal Pradesh from Assam through Orang after 8 years was received by hundreds of devotees at Balemu, the border town in West Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh. From there he travelled through Kalaktang, Tenzingaon, Shergaon, Jigaon and Rupa before arriving at Bomdila in the afternoon. Hundreds of old and young followers greeted and received him all along the way. Colourful flags depicting Buddhism and imprinted with prayers donned the route from Balemu to Bomdila.
The Dalai Lama had a quite lunch at the Tenzingaon Monastery, a rural town inhabited by resettled Tibetans in West Kameng district.
Khandu expressed gratitude to the benevolence of His Holiness for taking the trouble to travel by road just to meet the people who first received him on his epic journey from Tibet to India way back in 1959.
“His Holiness had solemnly resolved to visit Arunachal Pradesh no matter what. Despite the inclement weather that forced cancellation of his chopper, he decided to travel by road. We are humbled and will remain ever grateful to His Holiness. He has fulfilled the prayers of thousands of devotees who have waited eight long years to hear and see him in person,” Khandu said.
As the news of the Dalai Lama arriving at Bomdila by late afternoon spread, shops downed their shutters and public places went vacant. Every single individual of this town gathered in and around the Thupchog Gatzeling Gonpa, otherwise known as Lower Gonpa.
Revered Guru Rimpoche and Thekse Rimpoche, State Legislative Assembly Speaker T N Thongdok, local legislator Japu Deru, Parliamentary Secretaries Phurpa Tsering and Kumsi Sidisow, the Chief Secretary, the DGP and heads of the district administration were amongst those who received the Dalai Lama.
As he arrived prayer chants rendered the air and heads bowed with respect. The heavens poured but it didn’t dampen the spirit of the devotees. A few seconds glimpse of His Holiness was enough to keep the people glued to their places. Hundreds remained rooted for hours even after the Dalai Lama had retired for the day in the serene sanctity of the monastery.
The Dalai Lama will deliver his preaching to the people here tomorrow from 8 am at the Buddha Park. Later in the afternoon he will depart for Dirang and address devotees a day after. He will be reaching Tawang on 7th April and will be there tentatively till 12th.
Owing to the rescheduled visit, His Holiness will not be able to come and bless the people of Itanagar, the state capital.