Tibetan spiritual leader to reach Delhi Wednesday

September 23rd, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Sep 23 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorjee, who was rescued along with 30 of his followers from snowbound Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district, will reach Delhi Wednesday, his aide said Tuesday.The 17th Karmapa was rescued from Bharatpur Sunday and airlifted to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir in an Indian Air Force helicopter following heavy snowfall on the 475-km-long Manali-Leh highway.

“The spiritual leader is fine… staying at Leh’s Tagnag Monastery… will leave for Delhi in the morning (Wednesday) and stay there for two days,” Gompa Tsering, Karmapa’s secretary, told IANS on phone from Leh.

“People and officials of the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council helped us a lot at the time of crisis. We are grateful to them,” Tsering said.

He said the Himachal Pradesh government paid no heed to the safety of the Karmapa and provided no timely help.

“Had the Jammu and Kashmir government not provided timely help, anything could have happened,” he said.

Tsering said the Karmapa had sent relief material from Leh for rescuing stranded people on the highway.

Regarding his planned religious tour in Lahaul and Spiti, including the world-famous Tabo monastery, Tsering said: “For the time being it has been cancelled. The visit will be replanned.”

After concluding his visit from Ladakh region, the Karmapa was heading towards Keylong town, the district headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti.

The spiritual guru left his residence in this hill town Sep 8 for delivering religious sermons in monasteries close to China border.

This tour was earlier planned in July but the government disallowed fearing protests in Buddhist-dominated areas against the Olympics in China.

The Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School, which is one of the four sects of Buddhism. He is considered the third most important Tibetan religious head after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

The Karmapa fled Tibet and sought refuge in India some eight years ago. Ever since, he has mostly lived in the Gyuto Tantric monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala - the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile that is not recognised by any country.

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