T for Tsuglagkhang Temple

Located in McLeod Ganj, just above the town of Dharamsala, India, the Tsuglagkhang Complex is the official home of the 14th Dalai Lama. The complex houses the Photang (Dalai Lama’s residence), Tibet Museum, Tsuglagkhang Temple, and Namgyal Gompa.
The Tsuglagkhang temple has statues of Shakyamuni, Avalokiteśvara, and a statue of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). The original image at the Tsuglagkhang (Jokhang) in Lhasa, had been an object of devotion since the 7th century when it was commissioned by King Songtsen Gampo. During the cultural revolution when statues and religious objects were tossed out and destroyed, Avalokitesvara, ended up in a heap of rubble with all the others.Somehow, both a wrathful and peaceful aspect of the face were discovered and salvaged from the rubble.The images were then carefully passed from hand to hand, and eventually found their way to India, then to Dharamsala, where they were encased as precious relics into the newly sculpted image of Avalokitesvara. In the present times, the temple is popularly known as the Dalai Lama Temple.
McLoeodganj was a part of the trip my husband and I took to Himachal Pradesh in November 2013 (more about this trip in “To The Hills and Back“). We visited the Tsuglagkhang Temple on a Monday morning. Monday is the day when His Holiness himself delivers the sermon. So we had to go though the strict security checks and deposit our mobile phones and camera. So we could not take any pictures inside. The inside of the temple was full of devotees of various devotees. The sermon was transmitted in two languages. One section of the devotees were listening to His Holiness directly and the other section was listening to the english translation. And there were monks who were serving the hot tea to the visitors.

From a information board in the premises the temple, we learnt about the Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima (born 25 April 1989) is the eleventh Panchen Lama of Tibetan Buddhism as recognised by the Dalai Lama and various other Tibetan Buddhist leaders. He was born in Lhari County, Tibet. On 14 May 1995, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was named the 11th Panchen Lama by the 14th Dalai Lama. After his selection, he was detained by authorities of the People’s Republic of China and has not been seen in public since 17 May 1995.He is said to be the world’s youngest political prisoner.


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