Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama arrived here on Friday along with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu amid protests by China.
The exiled Tibetan leader, who was to reach Tawang by chopper on April 4, travelled over 550 km on the road from Guwahati due to bad weather.
He covered 140 km from Dirang in West Kameng district accompanied by Mr. Khandu, with a 30 km stretch of the route at Sela being partly snow covered and having turned muddy and slippery due to the melting snow.
State police and paramilitary personnel are keeping vigil between Dirang and Tawang, particularly at Sela (13,700 feet).
Tawang has been decorated with colourful prayer flags and flowers with the roads repainted and the drains cleaned. “A series of religious discourses by the Dalai Lama will begin tomorrow. He will stay at the Tawang monastery for four nights before leaving on April 11,” Tawang Deputy Commissioner Sang Phuntso said.
His first stop was Bomdila, headquarters of West Kameng district, from where Chinese soldiers retreated after the 1962 war. A day after after delivering sermons in Bomdila, he spent two days at Dirang, about 40 km north of Bomdila, where he consecrated the Thupsing Dhargye monastery.
Security has been strengthened around the Tawang monastery and the Yid-Ga-Choezin ground where the spiritual leader will deliver his sermons.
The 336-year-old monastery is the largest in India and second largest in the world after Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
Perched on a cliff at 10,000 feet, the monastery is known in Tibetan as ‘Tawang Gaden Namgyal Lhatse,’ meaning celestial paradise chosen by the horse. It belongs to the Gelugpa school of Mahayana Buddhism and had a religious connection with Lhasa’s Drepung Monastery that continued during the British rule.
Chinese state media said on Wednesday that India was using the Dalai Lama as a diplomatic leverage to challenge China’s “bottom line.”