In a gesture to honour Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the Himachal Pradesh government has renamed the road connecting McLeodganj, the exiled home of the elderly Buddhist monk, with Dharamsala via Gangchen Kyishong, the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), as Potala Road.
The road was renamed by chief minister Virbhadra Singh while participating in the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday celebrations on Monday.
The idea for renaming the road Potala Road was mooted by Sikyong (Tibetan political leader) Lobsang Sangay during his numerous interactions with local authorities.
The idea was finally processed through the divisional commissioner's office with the unanimous approval of all local politicians, MLA and finally by the chief minister.
Appreciating the move, Sangay said, "I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for this beautiful gesture on the part of the chief minister and the people of Himachal Pradesh."
Sikyong also wished the octogenarian chief minister a happy birthday and recalled his many other assistance to the Tibetan community.
"This road has a powerful symbolism of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's return to the Potala Palace in Tibet from this Potala Road in Dharamsala," Sangay said.
Earlier known as Jogiwara Road, the stretch was in dire need of repair for the past several years. Having been repaired, the road is now widened and carpeted with seven-inch concrete to withstand monsoon.
The road stretches all the way from McLeodganj in upper Dharamsala via Gangchen Kyishong to Tibetan Children Village (TCV) School in lower Dharamsala. The span of the road encompasses the entire political and cultural hub of the Tibetan community.