GANGTOK, November 5: The Tibetan community in the Himalayan State of Sikkim is set to host their maiden five day ‘Tibet Festival’ in Gangtok commencing from November 6 on the occasion of the 50th year of ‘Tibetans in exile’.
The festival will be held at Kanchenjunga Shopping Complex, Lal Bazaar here, informed the organizers, in a press statement. The festival will display the Tibetan culture, religion, Buddhist rituals, medicine and astrology, music and dance, costumes, arts and crafts and cuisine.
“This festival has been organized to acknowledge, honour and sincerely thank the government and people of India and especially the State of Sikkim and its people for providing a refuge in which the Tibetan community has thrived. Tibetans both inside and outside of Tibet are deeply conscious of the safe sanctuary that India has provided for us. We will remain ever grateful for all that India has done for us”, said the organizing committee.
“The festival expresses the preservation of Tibetan cultural identity that has been kept intact for the past 50 years. It will exhibit the spirit of Tibet in its original form”, the committee added.
The Tibetan community here also expressed its sincere indebtedness to the XIV Dalai Lama ‘who for 50 years has provided an unwavering and visionary leadership for all Tibetan people everywhere in the world’.
“Every Tibetan has a deep and inexpressible connection with His Holiness. He symbolizes Tibet in its entirety: the beauty of the land, the purity of its rivers and lakes, the sanctity of its skies, the solidity of its mountains, and the history and strength of its people”, said the Tibetan community here.
The community added that Sikkim has a special place in the hearts of Tibetan people. Its warmth of hospitality extended to us since the Chogyal’s era to the present popular government lead by Pawan Chamling, has generated a social bond that is so deeply intertwined, it is almost inseparable, said the Tibetan community.
The first day of the festival, November 6, will be graced by State PHE minister TT Bhutia as the chief guest who will declare the festival open. The message of the Dalai Lama will be read out by Dhondup Dorjee, Tibetan Settlement Officer, Gangtok followed by a ‘Thank You India’ song by Thumi Sambhota Tibetan School and traditional dances by Ghangjong Doekar.
Two films ‘Undercover in Tibet-Channel 4’ and ‘What remains of us’ will also be screened on the inaugural day.
On Saturday, a panel discussion on ‘Tibet’s Environment’ will be chaired by Dalip Mehta while Khenpo Tsewant-la will be presenting a discourse on Buddhism in English.
On Sunday, a panel discussion on ‘Tibet in Exile’ will be chaired by Claude Arpi, discourse on Buddhism by Chamba Choepal followed by cultural presentations and a special appearance by Miss Tibet, Tshering Chungtak during a traditional Tibetan costumes pageantry show.
On Monday, Vinod Saighal will be chairing a discussion on ‘Significance on Tibetan culture’ followed by special screening of three films ‘Jigdrel (Leaving fear behind)’, ‘Nangpa La killing’ and ‘Strange Spirit: One country’s occupation’ after which the festival will be declared closed.
There are around 3,500 Tibetans in Sikkim who have settled in most parts of the State. A settlement of the Tibetan community is at Rabongla in South Sikkim while a group of the Tibetans have settled in Tshoka on the way to the Dzongri trek in West Sikkim. Most of them are entrepreneurs while some of them have taken up jobs in the State Government and organizations of the Union government, it is informed