Spiritual leader Dalai Lama inaugurates Tibetan Shoton festival | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Spiritual leader Dalai Lama inaugurates Tibetan Shoton festival

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama inaugurated the 20th Annual Shoton festival on Friday at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), near McLeodganj.

punjab Updated: Mar 27, 2015 22:09 IST
HT Correspondent
Dalai-Lama
Dalai-Lama

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama inaugurated the 20th Annual Shoton festival on Friday at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), near McLeodganj.

The Shoton (yoghurt) festival celebrates the unique Tibetan artistic heritage of opera or Ache Lhamo. This year's festival, which is the 20th since its inception in 1993, is dedicated to the Dalai Lama, who will turn 80 in July.

The festival is also a part of the "year of his holiness the Dalai Lama" announced by Kashag (cabinet) of the Tibetan government in exile to pay gratitude to the Nobel Peace Laureate's remarkable contribution towards the Tibetans.

Other dignitaries present at the inaugural ceremony included Sikyong (Tibetan PM of the Tibetan government in exile) Lobsang Sangay, members of the Kashag, speaker Penpa Tsering, Tibetan parliamentarians, chief justice commissioners and secretaries of various departments of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

More than 4,000 people, including Tibetans and foreign opera aficionados, gathered at the courtyard of TIPA to witness the annual festival.

The festival began with a minute's silence in memory of all those Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet, and those still suffering brutal repression under the Chinese government in Tibet.

The exiled Tibetans also paid homage to Mahasidha Yogi Thang Thong Gyalpo - the founder of the Tibetan traditional opera.

The participating opera associations then presented an extract of their respective plays before the public and the Dalai Lama.

Twelve opera associations from across India and Nepal are participating in the festival this year.