Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama visited a Buddhist hamlet in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday and gave a clarion call for peace and unity among people of all faiths.
This is first visit of the Dalai Lama to the Jammu region of the state, though he is a regular visitor to the Buddhist-dominated Ladakh region of the state.
The spiritual leader visited Kishtwar district's Padder area which has a population of about 20,000 Buddhists. They were delighted to see their spiritual leader among them as they had been looking forward to his visit to their area.
The Dalai Lama was received by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at Udhampur, 66 km north of Jammu, and both travelled to Padder in a chopper.
The sun shone bright in the area , when the Dalai Lama landed at the helipad, and thousands of people cheered to greet the Nobel laureate.
In his address to the people at Padder, about 230 km northeast of Jammu, the Dalai Lama expressed his happiness to be among the people of the area.
"I had wished to visit this place before too, but it came through only now," he said.
The spiritual leader asked the people to maintain peace.
"It is one of the highest virtues and this should lead to the unity of hearts among peoples of all faiths."
The Dalai Lama lauded the chief minister's endeavours for equitable development of all areas and all sections of the society.
Abdullah described the Dalai Lama as shanti doot (ambassador of peace) and underlined the importance of "peace and détente as subjects of global significance."