Thousands of Tibetan exiles and foreigners Friday morning attended the 77th birthday celebrations of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama here in Himachal Pradesh.
Large crowds began to assemble since morning at the Tsuglagkhang temple to join the birthday celebrations.
"Special prayer sessions were held for the long life of His Holiness," Tashi, a Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) spokesperson, told IANS.
The Dalai Lama, revered by the Tibetans as a 'living god', attended the prayers held at the hilltop Tsuglagkhang temple, close to his official palace at McLeodganj.
The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who has been residing here for the last few years with his followers, also attended the function.
A group of Chinese settled in various countries greeted the Nobel laureate on the occasion.
In a brief address in his Tibetan dialect, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, known for his trademark maroon robes, thanked the government of India and the people for their hospitality to the exiled Tibetans.
He thanked the Tibetan for their heartfelt greetings.
The entire cabinet of the CTA and Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay were present at the function.
Born July 6, 1935, at Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
He fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959, basing his government-in-exile here that never won recognition from any country.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent campaign for democracy and freedom in his homeland. Since fleeing to India, he has spent his time in exile pushing for autonomy for Tibet.
India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.
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