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June 2015

A joy of 6th July Birthday of Dalai lama-Trungkar in Ladakh by Stéphanie

Tibetan girl in traditional dress for the birthday of HH

30 June 2015

 Trungkar is the Tibetan word for ‘Dalai lama ‘s birthday’ and this year marks the 80th Trungkar of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – celebrated on June 21, according to the Tibetan calendar, and July 6, according to the Western calendar. On July 6, the whole of Ladakh, where the Dalai Lama is revered and respected by Ladakhis and Tibetans alike, will be in festive mood. The Trungkar will be celebrated at the Jivey Tsal (Peace Garden), at His Holiness’ residence in Choglamsar, around 7km from Leh. Preparations will begin on July 5, with families and larger groups setting up around 100 tents and reserving areas for stalls, which will be filled with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, now available after the long, dry winter. The Trungkar will begin at the Jivey Tsal’s main temple at around 8am, with a long-life prayer for His Holiness and an incense-burning offering. The official function will be launched at 9am by the Chief Representative Officer, Sonamling Tibetan Settlement of Leh, Ladakh. All government and NGO officials of local and Tibetan bodies will be invited to the occasion. The programme will include speeches from invited dignitaries and traditional dances performed by Tibetans and locals alike, marking their mutual respect and friendship. After the function, the crowd will relax and enjoy picnics with family and friends. Food and drink will be available from stalls at the site. As well as local Ladakhis and residents of Sonamling Tibetan Settlement, the Trungkar is always attended by students and children who travel home from every corner of India and also from abroad. Reunions of long-lost friends are a common sight at the event. As the day progresses and the heat subsides, people will begin to sing and dance in and around their tents. Youngsters will enjoy modern English, Ladakhi and Hindi songs, whilst elders will join together for the Gorshae (traditional folk dances) of Tibet’s various regions. There will also be performances by the bands of the Indian Army Special Frontier Forces’ Vikas regiment and Ladakh Scouts, continuing until dusk. By the time people pack away their tents, they will be already looking forward to the next Trungkar, and dreaming that it might be celebrated in Tibet.

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Happy 30th Birthday of Karmapa! by Stéphanie

Happy Birthday To The Karmapa

26 June 2015

Message Regarding 30th Birthday by His Holiness The Karmapa. “This year marks my 30th birthday. Time has passed very quickly. This year is also the 15th year since I left Tibet and came to India. This 30th birthday is considered to mark a special milestone, and many people have been requesting me to celebrate this birthday extensively. However, I have decided not to celebrate my birthday for several reasons that I would like to share with you here. In all these years since leaving Tibet, I have never seen my parents again, and now they have grown old. This body was created and nurtured by my parents, and therefore my birthday is a day in which I feel their absence keenly. In these 15 years since I arrived in India, I have been living in a temporary residence at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala. Even though Gyuto Monastery has been an exceptionally kind and hospitable host, it is unseemly for a guest to cause such unnecessary inconvenience over their birthday year after year. Furthermore, each year on my birthday, I recall not only my parents, but also the sparkling beauty of the pristine natural environment in which I was born and raised. This intensifies my sense of urgency for the protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Tibetan plateau as well as the Himalayas. As I have said, the area’s glaciers make it the source of most of Asia’s major rivers, and the Third Pole of the globe itself. For this reason, the Tibetan plateau plays an important role in the well-being and sustenance not only of the people who live within it, but of all of Asia and indeed the entire planet. Because the Tibetan culture and way of life has existed in harmony with that environment for thousands of years, I feel its preservation is urgently needed in order to preserve that crucial environment. This is true not only of the Tibetan plateau, but also of the entire Himalayan region, including the countries of Bhutan and Nepal, and the states of India located within the Himalayas, such as the State of Sikkim. The country of Bhutan presents an excellent example of the value of retaining the way of life that is uniquely suited to the local Himalayan environment, and its commitment to doing so is truly praiseworthy. I have yet to visit but have heard from my many friends […]

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Dharamshala – A Tibet in exile by Stéphanie

Moine kora Dharamshala

23 June 2015

Dharamsala is situated in the foothills of the Himalayan Dhauladhar Range, in Himachal Pradesh, northern India. The area is a global, cultural and religious meeting point, where first- and second-generation Tibetan monks and refugees rub shoulders with local Gaddi villagers, Kashmiri businesspeople and travellers from all over the world. It offers a huge diversity of sights, activities and attractions. Dharamsala is divided into four main areas – McLeodganj, Bhagsunag, Lower Dharamsala and Naddi. McLeodganj was named after David McLeod, the British Empire’s Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. It is now the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. During high season, the town throngs with tourists and spiritual pilgrims. McLeodganj’s major landmark is the Thekchen Choling, which houses the Dalai Lama’s residence and the Tsuglagkang (main temple). Of simple design, and built from concrete, the complex provides Tibetan refugees with a gathering place for prayer. Its plainness reflects the Dalai Lama’s decision not to build in lavish Tibetan style, but rather to respect the refugee community’s limited means. Radiating from the main square, McLeodganj’s narrow streets are lined with hotels, internet cafes, shops and stalls, selling everything from Kashmiri shawls to goat-blood sausages, turquoise and coral jewellery, musical instruments and Tibetan hand-made paper. The town’s restaurants range from Tibetan to Punjabi, Italian, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Israeli. Adjacent to the main temple are the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and Namgyal Monastery, from amongst whose monks the Dalai Lama’s personal attendants are chosen. The Mani Path, behind the palace, leads to a home for retired members of the Tibetan administration. A five-minute taxi ride down the steep jeep road towards Dharamsala lies the Gangchen Kyishong, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Here, the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies oversees the running of all government departments, including religion, culture, education, health and finance, as well as contributing to the struggle for a free Tibet. The government complex also houses the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives which, built in 1971, contains statues, paintings and books, many of which were salvaged from Tibetan monasteries and temples by escaping refugees. Two minutes’ further walk takes you to the Men Tse Kang Tibetan Medical and Astrological Centre. The medical centre contains the largest Tibetan pharmacy outside of Tibet, to which staff bring medicinal plants gathered from around Himachal Pradesh for processing. Lower Dharamsala was founded as a military cantonment by the British in […]

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His Holiness Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday by Stéphanie

Happy birthday Dalaï-Lama

20 June 2015

His Holiness  Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday.  This year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s  80th birthday falls on June 21st – the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, according to the Tibetan calendar. To mark the occasion, a special long-life prayer (Gyaton Tenshug) will be offered to His Holiness here in Dharamshala, India, by Tibetans living in exile, representing their brothers and sisters back home in Tibet. According to Tibetan tradition, birthdays are only observed for children reaching one year in age and adults reaching 80. Both are marked by a simple family and village celebration, whilst the 80-year-adult is presented with a white chupa (traditional Tibetan dress). His Holiness himself is 80 years old this year and his birthday will be celebrated in Tibet despite the Chinese government’s ban on expressions of joy at his leadership. In Dharamsala, the Gyaton Tenshug will be offered at the Tsuklag Khang (Dalai Lama temple), attended by local Tibetans and Indians from all walks of life, as well as visiting foreigners and special guests from around the world. The event marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of a simple monk who has striven to make the world a better place. His Holiness has dedicated his life to the promotion of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline and religious harmony, and has also worked tirelessly to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist culture of peace and non-violence. Omalaya wishes the Dalai Lama a long life and thanks him for his contribution of peace, love and compassion to the world. A live, four-hour satellite TV broadcast of the Gyaton Tenshug offering and proceeding ceremonies will begin on June 21st at 7.30am Indian Standard Time.

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Tibetan Medicine-The art of healing by Stéphanie

Lotus flower

07 June 2015

“From the balance of the elements, good health comes” – Tai Situpa Rinpoche Meeting of Science, Nature and Philosophy Sowa Rigpa – the art of Tibetan medicine is a highly developed, scientific, philosophical and natural system. It takes a holistic approach to health care and follows a systematic framework based on an understanding of the body and its relationship to the environment. Sowa Rigpa practitioners make their diagnoses using creativity, insight, subtlety and compassion, and embrace the key Buddhist principles of altruism, karma and ethics. Traditional Tibetan Medicine Tibetan medicine is human civilisation’s longest surviving medical system, and is used to treat all manner of aliments. Central to its practice is the interconnectedness of the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space – which manifest in the body as the three principle energies of rLung, mKhripa and Badkan. These energies exist in a state of constant harmony and disharmony, due to internal and external factors including diet and lifestyle. Tibetan medicine uses simple but unique techniques, such as pulse, tongue and eye readings, urine analysis, and special consultation methods, to restore harmony to the body. Most medical disorders are primarily caused by poor diet or lifestyle, but if correcting these fails to restore harmony, the use of medicine is considered. Tibetan medicine places an emphasis on gentle treatment, with the prescription of small doses of decoctions, powders, pills and syrups. Sowa Rigpa is an integral part of Buddhist philosophy and emphasizes the cultivation of love, compassion, joy and equanimity to achieve optimum health and happiness. Physicians are expected to observe high moral and ethical standards, and take an altruistic attitude to patient care, with no discrimination over caste, creed or colour. Personal Health Consultations with Amchi Tibetan amchi are highly trained practitioners of Tibetan medicine. They give private consultations, employing healing practices and sometimes herbal treatments. Tibetan Medicine has a high success rate in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, hepatitis, eczema, liver and sinus problems, anxiety, and disorders of the nervous system. contact Omalaya Travel for workshop on Tibetan Medicine: info@omalayatravel.com

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Ladakh Festivals date 2015 to 2020 by Stéphanie

Festival in Zanskar

06 June 2015

Throughout the world, festivals are great expressions of the joy of life. We offer the chance to experience the monastic festivals of Ladakh, with their ancient rituals, which connect the energy of the self with that of nature and the universe. Many Ladakhi festivals are held in winter – a relatively idle time for most of the population – and involve dance-dramas performed by lamas attired in colourful robes and masks. Monks mime aspects of Buddhist religion, such as the progress of the individual soul and its purification, and the triumph of good over evil, to the accompaniment of complex chants in Tibetan and Sanskrit. The festivals are generally held to commemorate the establishment of a particular monastery, the birth anniversary of its patron saint, or a major event in the history of Buddhism. Discover Ladakh Festivals Calendar:

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